Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Promise and the Traveller's Poem

New Entries

I have made some posts with Japanese stamps.. in one of them I talked about a poem in stamps... I even have classified one stamp of the series just to have that conversation with You , the viewer... in that moment , I promised that I would present in a near future the entire series ... there were only 5 stamps missing... well, despite my financial situation , I bought those stamps, and here Am i , presenting you the Poem in stamps...

"Oku no Hosomichi"
I will start this small introduction by talking about the Series, it's temporal distribution and some of the particularities that turn it itself almost into a poem ( with well defined rhythms , blocks, etc..) ;Matsuo Basho was a great Haiku poet , so his poems were 17 syllable poems...

 the series was issued between 1987 and 1989, with 10 groups of 4 stamps .... each group is constituted by two se-tenant pairs of stamps.. each of the se-tenant stamps has one complete haiku [ the same for both stamps..]  (the left stamp has the haiku in the right frame , and the right stamp has the haiku in the picture itself...)
Of course, in this case the stamps are presented as individual stamps, out of their se-tenant form..( but you can always imagine them in that form...).. I choose to present the stamps as they were issued , in groups of 4 stamps...

I must tell you that there were several different translations of this Poem,, you can find some of them in one of the links I leave here for you to explore, if that is your wish...I choose the one I think is according to a XVII century writing... ( one of the others , made with language of XX Century is much more appealing , but perhaps, not so correct.. I don't know , I'm not an expert..!
I tried after reading the Poem to make some sense between the stamps and the Poem itself, but only by the images I cannot complete this task.

I leave here only the Prologue made by Basho himself...

"The months and days are the travellers of eternity. 
The years that come and go are also voyagers.
Those who float away their lives on ships or who grow old leading horses are forever journeying, and their homes are wherever their travels take them. Many of the men of old died on the road, and I too for years past have been stirred by the sight of a solitary cloud drifting with the wind to ceaseless thoughts of roaming.
Last year I spent wandering along the seacoast. In autumn I returned to my cottage on the river and swept away the cobwebs. Gradually the year drew to its close. When spring came and there was mist in the air, I thought of crossing the Barrier of Shirakawa into Oku. I seemed to be possessed by the spirits of wanderlust, and they all but deprived me of my senses. The guardian spirits of the road beckoned, and I could not settle down to work.
I patched my torn trousers and changed the cord on my bamboo hat. To strengthen my legs for the journey I had moxa burned on my shins. By then I could think of nothing but the moon at Matsushima. When I sold my cottage and moved to Sampū’s villa, to stay until I started on my journey, I hung this poem on a post in my hut:

kusa no to mo sumikawaru yo zo hina no ie 

Even a thatched hut
May change with a new owner
Into a doll’s house."    Translation by Donald Keene


As you can see , Scott Catalog presents one code for each pair of stamps.
Sorry for these horrible Postmarks but these are the stamps I have ... Sorry again.

1987/1989 "300th anniversary of the Matsuo Basho Trip / "The Narrow road to the Deep North" (40) [Perf 13 x 13.5) [Photo]

I just want to tell you about the 21 and 37 stamps.. they are different from the others , because they react to light.. They have a silver and gold colored ink that react with light to create a beautiful effect .. it's very curious..
One more time , I cannot find data from the Designer or Designers of the stamps.. I am working to resolve these problem soon...
Now that you read the Prologue you certainly want to read more... Well , good reading  , if that is the case , or just Good Night...



  1. 1967 stamps...

    Enjoy your eclectic and unpredictable musings about the stamps in your collection. And Haiku poetry too!

    Jim Jackson

    1. Thank You for Your comment... It means a lot to me..!
      Always feel free to return.. You are Welcome!