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Haiku Classic: Dec. 15, 2019

sora-wa taisho-no aosa tsuma-yori ringo uku


    the heavens as blue

    as the day of their Creation --

    an apple from my wife


    Kusatao Nakamura (1901-1983). From "Koshikatayukue" (Where I have come from) (1947), Jibundo, Tokyo.


    Apple trees are perhaps one of the most celebrated plants in all of history and legend. The apple is symbolic of immortality, reincarnation and the cycle of life, death and rebirth. In many tales, the apple is the "world tree," the axis of the worlds, and it is often a doorway to the realms of faerie, being associated with the Isle of Avalon. Apples were often given as gifts to humans by the gods. The apple is also said to be the fruit in Christianity that led to Adam and Eve's fall from grace, symbolizing temptation and original sin. As a symbol of beauty, the Apple of Discord was to determine the most beautiful of the goddesses, and thus started the Trojan war. Apples are associated with health -- as in the saying "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" -- and they have been esteemed for their abundance of medicinal uses, from cleansing the teeth to relieving indigestion, to relieving fevers and much more. Apple trees grow abundant fruit, and thus it are also associated with the principles of generosity and abundance. The fruit is symbolic of love and fertility, and in folklore was offered as a declaration of love. The use of the word "Creation" in the above haiku immediately makes one think of the story of Adam and Eve.

    Selected, translated and commented on by Dhugal J. Lindsay

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