It reflected an essential placement in coordinates of the world, much as a Saigyo
poem does: Setting the referents and the outriggers--bird, moon, firecracker .
Instead to referencing Saigyo
as Basho had done, Takamure builds a different kind of persona but in the same way, saying her journey makes her like Edgar Allen Poe.
Collecting works by a wide variety of great authors, including Lao Tzu, Han Shan, Li Po, Dogen Kigen, Saigyo
, and many more, The Poetry of Zen offers a cross-section of historical classics that all have in common a resonating theme conducive to meditation, reflection, and self-transformation.
In fact, the volume almost divides itself equally with poems in each voice with a midsection devoted to translations of poems by the Buddhist poet Saigyo
Kim said he is attracted to the lifestyles of Saigyo
and another famous poet Matsuo Basho, who lived in the late 17th century during the Edo period.
How different are Bo Juyi from Du Fu, Fujiwara Teika from Monk Saigyo
, Shelley from Keats, Goethe from Schiller
It is for this reason that in Oku no hosomichi we have references not only to historical figures such as Saigyo and Yoshitsune, but also to a host of locals, from Buddha Gozaemon, a forthright innkeeper, to the "stalwart young guide" who helps Basho and Sora over the mountains of Dewa to Obanazawa--to such characters, earlier and more courtly travel records generally would not assign so substantial a role in their narratives.
In addition to famous historical and literary sites, Basho is also careful to mention numerous historical figures of both China and Japan, including Lady Tamamo, Nasu no Yoichi, Yuan Miao, Taira no Kanemori, Kiyosuke, Fujiwara Sanekata, Noin, Ono no Azumbito, Emperor Shomu, Bo Juyi, Izumi no Saburo, Makabe Heishiro, the northern Fujiwara, Yoshitsune, Kanefusa, Jikaku, Nojo, Gan Jiang, Moye, Saigyo, Empress Jingu, Sanemori, Kiso Yoshinaka, Higuchi no Jiro, Retired Emperor Kazan, Teitoku, Dogen, Emperor Chuai.
Saigyo (1118-1190) spent twenty-three years in and around court life in Heian-kyo, Peace-and-Tranquility Capital, becoming a captain in the elite guard of the imperial family before taking Buddhist vows and removing himself to a hermitage.
LaFleur's 1978 Mirror for the Moon (New Directions) shows the young Saigyo immersed in Buddhist philosophy, but not-yet able to transcend the need to pass judgment.
During his fifty years of Buddhist and poetic practice, he became the archetype for many generations of Zen poets, especially for Basho, who studied and quoted Saigyo at great length and whose own journey into the northern interior recorded in Oku no hosomichi (Narrow Road to the Interior) was inspired by two such journeys undertaken by Saigyo some five hundred years before.
A wandering poet-priest, Saigyo is best known through his major contribution (94 poems) in the imperial anthology Shinkokinshu, and his collected works, Sankashu or Mountain Home Collection, preserves fifteen hundred poems.