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.”