John Cage’s Mushroom Haiku . . . Mesosticized

      by Stefano Pocci

                    BasHō once
                 wrote A poem:
            “Matsutake Ia
               shiranu Ko no ha no
               hebaritsUku”

                   BlytHe
                     trAnslated
                       It
                     liKe this:
     “The leaf of some Unknown tree is

    sticking on the musHroom”.
                  The jApanese composer
                  TakemItsu rephrased it as
    “Mushroom does not Know that leaf is sticking on it”.
                  EventUally

                     JoHn
                      CAge
                    decIded to
                     maKe his own versions
       spiced with his Unmistakable

                       Humour:
                    “ThAt that’s unknown
                     brIngs mushroom and leaf together.”
              But he liKed this one above all:
     “What leaf? What mUshroom?”


From Stefano Pocci’s “John Cage in Italia” website, posted to the site’s blog on 20 February 2014. You can listen to a 1972 recording of John Cage describing Bashō’s haiku about mushrooms that led to the versions referred to in Stefano Pocci’s mesostic poem. Also note that the reference to “Blythe” should be “Blyth.”