Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Penny Plain, 1795, American

Art is something that every woman is born with; every man begins to be a kind of artist when he falls in love.  Asceticism is found, it is true, whenever a man gives up pleasure for pain, happiness for blessedness, when for example an athlete makes himself mentally and physically fit for a contest, but the asceticism spoken of here is not a means to an end.  It is an end in itself, and therefore cannot be questioned;  it cannot be explained or justified.  It may seem odd that this sobriety of asceticism should be vitally connected with the piquancy of art.  It should be noted however that art tends from life to artificiality, from the simple to the complex, the penny plain to the tuppence coloured, but the art of haiku is as near to life and nature as possible, as far from literature and fine writing as may be so that the asceticism is art and the art is asceticism.  This kind of thing we see in Chuangtse and Hanshan, Thoreau, Wordsworth and Clare; and also in Bach, Giotto, Eckhart, Spinoza, Socrates, Cervantes, Conrad and Stevenson; in Bashō and Issa.

R.H. Blyth, A History of Haiku, Volume 1, Tokyo, The Hokuseido Press, 1963


Tuppence Coloured -- Mr. G. French as Harlequin (English; early to mid-19th century)

Omaha -- Moby Grape (Link) 

Omaha (Live) -- Moby Grape (Link) 

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