Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Stumbling upon some Haiku

A book put up on the exhibit section at our library caught my attention. So I picked it up and read the blurb at the back. It was as follows:

Natsume Soseki’s Kusamakura follows its nameless young artist-narrator on a meandering walking tour of the mountains. At the inn at a hot spring resort, he has a series of mysterious encounters with Nami, the lovely young daughter of the establishment. Nami, or “beauty,” is the center of this elegant novel, the still point around which the artist moves and the enigmatic subject of Soseki’s word painting. In the author’s words, Kusamakura is “a haiku-style novel, that lives through beauty.” Written at a time when Japan was opening its doors to the rest of the world, Kusamakura turns inward, to the pristine mountain idyll and the taciturn lyricism of its courtship scenes, enshrining the essence of old Japan in a work of enchanting literary nostalgia.
It seemed interesting, so I flipped through to see if I could find some interesting Haiku.

I found the following:

Shaking down the stars
out of the spring night, she wears
them bright in her hair.

New-washed hair, perhaps
dampened by moisture from the clouds
of this night of spring.

Poem upon poem
wandering here and there
in the spring moonlight.

Now at last the spring
draws swiftly to its finish.
How alone I am.
.. and this poem, which struck a different note.
As the autumn's dew
that lies a moment on the tips
of the seeding grass,
so do I know that I too must
fade and be gone from this brief world.
( - attributed to poet other than author of the book)

I found the poems appealing and decided to share them. Then I looked at the book-cover and felt that it did justice to the book - poetry is but natural when one sees beauty.

PS: If anyone is interested, here's a book review.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Mathematical Biologist

While going through a book for my research, I found the following worth sharing. (From the section on Mathematical Biology, from "Virus Dynamics" - Nowak and May, Oxford University Press)

There is a shepherd and a flock of sheep. A man comes by and asks, 'If I guess the correct number of sheep in your flock can I have one?' The shephard says, 'Please try.' The man says '83.' The shepherd is amazed; it is the correct number. The man picks up a sheep and walks away. The shepherd shouts, 'Hang on. If I guess your profession, can I have my sheep back?' The man says, 'Please try.' The shepherd says, 'Mathematical biologist.' The man is amazed, 'How did you know?' 'Because you picked up my dog.'