Day 13

Small old lake
in which
a frog jumps
stirring water.

Dear, dear Oppen and his tremendous "this in which". It's the small nouns, crying faith, always, but there is the need for the adjectives from time to time as well.  Here I'm aiming for Oppen's precise distractedness, his sense of p.o.v. as a perpetual variance, as multi-faced and -faceted.

I also like the isolation of that prep. phrase on one line, which makes use of the English force of the preposition (placed before its modify-ee) as a substitute for the cutting ya of the original.

The "stirring water" was unpremeditated, since I came upstairs from doing laundry and realized I had an entry to enter. It spilled out as I was typing it and I like it. 

"In which" or "into which"? The "in which" suggests the pond as a presence, as a mode of current with-ness--the frog in this construction is a force co-terminal with the water, with its habitation. "Into which" places the pond in a relation of progressive change, highlighting the frog's amphi-beingness, and brings about an awareness in the reader as well--we're living (and leaping) continually in (and into) various circumstances. Is there a word that might suggest both? See--this is exactly why I wanted to take on this project--to consider the intensity of language in its smallest particulars. I'm digging this shit.

And why is "which" such a strange looking word?  

Also, I've been thinking about why kawazu rather than kaeru--I thought that kawazu might just be a sort of archaic form of "frog," but it turns out that they're both in my Sanseido dictionary, and, what's more surprising, they share the same kanji. ???

Oh yeah, and the "small old lake" bit--there's no flippin' way I'm going to use the word "pond" 365 times in a row.


  1. Another excellent post!

    Interesting piece on kawazu/kaeru here:

    I like especially this piece of info:
    "Bashō was actually consciously playing with the kawazu tradition here by attributing the sound to the water rather than the frog. The frog's implied silence, after centuries of naku kawazu, is a crucial part of the stillness that allows the sound of water to make its impact."

  2. Hi there--glad to have a visitor, and the moderator of HDT's blog, no less. Are your daily posts full journal entries? Right now the HDT typead blog is my home page, but I'd rather have a compeer than those wonderfully anonymous folks.

    And thanks very much for the direction--the info you posted in your comment serves to reinforce my impulse that "water's sound" is the most accurate translation.



  3. Hi Derek

    No, the posts are partial entries. I read each entry for that particular date through the years, and chose the portion that rung some kind of bell in me.

    Enjoying your efforts here tremendously.