Poetry is used to convey one’s feelings in an abstract writing of profound perception. When writing poetry, one’s perception must have inspiration in order to breathe life and produce picturesque imagery upon paper. During late 19th century Japan, a linked-verse form of poetry called haiku, formerly known as hokku, was created. It was utilized to signify an autonomous poetic form originating from medieval comic linked verse. Haikus often describes the occurrences of nature or seasons. A poet by the name of Matsuo Bashō mastered the form of haiku. He wrote a travel narrative called, “Narrow Road of the Interior”, by which haikus were inserted to convey his feelings towards the natural settings. Bashō provokes inspiration for his haikus from the historical foundation of the various landmarks engulfed in its natural setting. By doing this, he enhances the antiquity of the historical sites, while at the same time, appreciating the natural tranquility and beauty.
One of the first landmarks Bashō writes about in his narrative is the shrine located on the Nikkō Mountains. He explains that the mountain’s original name was “Nikōsan” meaning “Two-Storm Mountain”, until “The Great Teacher Kūkai” renamed it “Nikkō”, meaning sunlight, when he established the temple. Bashō combines the historical significance of the shrine with the serenity and refuge the place appears to give through its natural sunlight and landscape. In response, Bashō writes, “Ah, awesome sight!/on summer leaves and spring leaves,/the radiance of the sun!” (Bashō, p.609), in which he ends his visit to the shrine. The inspiration of the this haiku stems from the re-appellation of the mountains by the esteemed monk along with the “radiance of the sun” in which gives Nikkō mountains it’s respected name. Throughout the narrative Bashō visits various shrines in which he pays his respects and continues his journey.
Bashō, progressively, comes across, what he refers to as a “mountain-cult temple” called ‘Kōmyōji’. He is invited to go see the temple in which he pays his respects at a place called, ‘the Ascetic’s Hall’. He then composes another haiku, “Toward summer mountains/we set off after prayers/before the master’s clogs.” (Bashō, p.609) This is in reference to the image of the pious man wearing clogs persevered on the ’miracle-working mountain ascetic’ in which Bashō had engaged in prayer. It also suggests that he was moving on from the landmark. The inspiration of this haiku is shown through his perception of the antiquity of the detailed picture as well as the beauty the season bestows upon the mountains.
After traveling for some time, Bashō comes across what is known as the ‘Sutra Hall’ and the ‘Golden...