Big Lift Ferry Poem F205

Poetry’s art lies
Simply in the convincing
Telling of a lie
(Bashō quote translation)




Copyright by Minh Tan on listed dated of completion.



Notes to this poem…

This is my version of Makoto Ueda’s translation of a quote by Matsuo Bashō, possibly the greatest name in haiku writing. The translation was from “The Nature of Poetry: Japanese and Western Views,” Yearbook of Comparative and General Literature #11, supplement, 1962, 142–148). The original translation was

The art of poetry lies simply in the skillful telling of a lie

I noticed the translation fell short of a haiku requirement so I took the opportunity to make it into a haiku. 🙂

I obviously changed a few things but I think it remained faithful to the original quote. Of note is the word skillful changed to convincing. I don’t know the quote in Japanese, nor Japanese, to know what the best English word chosen would have been. However, I think I can make a point that in spirit, convincing would be a good choice because if a poem weren’t convincing, its effect would not be maximized.

And pun was also intended in “lies”. 🙂

The F-series poems are part of a collection composed on my ferry rides across Halifax Harbour when the buses aren’t crossing the MacDonald bridge due to the Big Lift bridge redecking. This should keep happening until at least December 2016.

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