Matsuo Bashō is widely regarded as one of the greatest haiku poets of all time, known for his powerful evocations of beauty and nature.
In his haiku, ‘In the twilight rain,’ Bashō uses vivid imagery and symbolic language to create a poignant and memorable scene. The poem emphasizes the importance of appreciating and finding beauty in fleeting moments.
In the twilight rain Matsuo BashōIn the twilight rainthese brilliant-hued hibiscus . . .A lovely sunset
Explore In the twilight rain
‘In the twilight rain’ by Matsuo Bashō describes a scene in which the speaker observes the vibrant colors of hibiscus flowers in the rain at twilight.
The poem begins with the revelation that the speaker is outside, enjoying the rain at twilight. Next, they note the bright colors of a hibiscus flower before finding solace in the beauty of a lovely sunset.
The haiku creates a sense of transience and fleeting beauty, as the contrast between the bright flowers and the melancholy atmosphere of the rain suggests the impermanence of beauty.
The theme of the haiku ‘In the twilight rain’ by Matsuo Bashō is the transience and fleeting nature of beauty.
The contrast between the somber mood of the rain and the bright colors of the hibiscus flowers emphasizes the fleeting nature of beauty and the impermanence of life.
The image of the sunset serves as a symbol of transition and change, bringing a sense of closure to the poem and suggesting a shift in mood or perspective. Overall, the haiku emphasizes the importance of appreciating and finding beauty in fleeting moments, as they may not last.
Structure and Form
‘In the twilight rain’ by Matsuo Bashō is a three-line haiku that was originally written in Japanese. This means that any instances of rhyme or rhythm are lost through its translation into English. But, what readers can interpret from the poem is that Bashō was interested in very simply and effectively conveying the different elements of the natural world and how, even in a dark moment, there is beauty.
The poet uses enjambment and short lines to help readers move as smoothly as possible from one short line to the next. This is a technique that’s very common in haiku and is helpful in linking all the images together.
- Imagery: Examples of imagery are seen when the poet uses particularly interesting and evocative language. They’re very common in haiku. The haiku relies heavily on sensory imagery to create a vivid picture of the scene, from the somber mood of the rain to the vibrant colors of the hibiscus flowers and the beauty of the sunset.
- Juxtaposition: The contrast between the somber mood of the rain and the bright colors of the hibiscus flowers creates a sense of tension and transience, emphasizing the fleeting nature of beauty and the impermanence of life.
- Symbolism: The hibiscus flowers and the sunset serve as natural symbols of beauty, transition, and change, emphasizing the themes of transience and impermanence that run throughout the poem.
In the twilight rain
The first line sets the scene and creates an atmosphere of melancholy and beauty. The use of “twilight” implies a sense of fading light, while “rain” suggests a somber, introspective mood. It also suggests that the speaker is out in the rain at a time of day when most people are likely indoors preparing to go to bed.
The combination of the words “twilight rain” is also interesting. It evokes a sense of beauty where others might find only melancholy darkness. This is furthered through the second line, which contrasts in every way possible with the first line.
The line might also raise questions in the reader’s mind regarding why someone is out in the rain at night and what exactly it is they’re trying to accomplish. This feeling of curiosity should be satisfied by the end of the poem.
these brilliant-hued hibiscus . . .
In the second line, Bashō introduces the image of the hibiscus flowers, which are known for their vibrant colors. The use of “brilliant-hued” implies a stark contrast to the somber mood established in the first line.
This is a classic example of how imagery is used in haiku. The poet only has a few lines and a few words to convey something meaningful, so using the most evocative and multi-layered language possible is very helpful.
A lovely sunset
The final line brings a sense of resolution to the haiku, as the speaker observes a beautiful sunset despite the melancholic mood established in the first line. The use of “lovely” implies a sense of appreciation and contentment.
The sunset represents a moment of beauty and tranquility on an otherwise gloomy day, and the speaker finds solace in its loveliness. By the end of this final line, readers should be able to interpret the ways in which the haiku evokes a sense of impermanence and the fleeting nature of beauty.
The juxtaposition of the bright hibiscus flowers and the melancholy atmosphere of the rain creates a sense of contrast and transience, while the image of the sunset brings a sense of resolution and contentment. The haiku reflects Bashō’s appreciation for the natural world and his ability to find beauty in even the most melancholy moments.
Matsuo Bashō was a Japanese poet born in 1644 who is widely regarded as one of the greatest haiku poets of all time. He is known for his powerful evocations of nature and his exploration of the themes of transience, impermanence, and the fleeting nature of beauty.
The hibiscus flowers serve as a symbol of beauty and transience in the haiku. The contrast between the somber mood of the rain and the bright colors of the flowers emphasizes the fleeting nature of beauty and the impermanence of life.
A haiku is a traditional Japanese poetic form that consists of three lines. The first and third lines contain five syllables, while the second line contains seven syllables. Haiku traditionally focus on nature and the seasons and often uses vivid imagery and symbolic language to evoke a particular mood or emotion.
Bashō uses several literary devices in the haiku, including imagery, juxtaposition, symbolism, and personification. These devices help to create a vivid and powerful portrayal of nature and the human experience.
Bashō is considered one of the greatest haiku poets of all time due to his ability to use language and imagery to evoke a powerful sense of emotion and connection with nature. His poems are known for their simplicity and elegance.
Bashō uses vivid sensory imagery to create a powerful and evocative portrayal of nature and the human experience. He describes the somber mood of the rain, the vibrant colors of the hibiscus flowers, and the beauty of the sunset, using language that appeals to the senses.
Readers who enjoyed this poem should also read some other Matsuo Bashō poems. For example:
- ‘In Kyoto’ – expresses a deep sense of longing and nostalgia for the city of Kyoto in the poet’s classic style.
- ‘The Old Pond’ is one of the best-known Japanese haiku of all time. It describes a frog jumping into a pond.
Other related haiku include:
- ‘Everything I touch’ by Kobayashi Issa – this poem speaks on what one might receive in return when they reach out with tenderness.
- ‘In pale moonlight’ by Yosa Buson – is a Japanese haiku that depicts a night scene filled with the scent of wisteria.