Tuesday, July 30, 2002

For those of you who are not regular NPR listeners, go here for Baxter Black's cautionary tale on the dangers of Sheep Farming.
While doing a little housekeeping on the "comments" feature, I found I had overlooked a response to my post on Billy Collins. The writer takes me to task for missing the intended humor of the poem, consistent with its original French models. She may well be right. Hanging out with cops, crooks and lawyers all day can dull one's sensitivity to the subtler shades of irony. We in criminal law specialize in tragedy and farce. Disagreements about Collins aside, I can heartily recommend her own web site, Laurable dot com. She has a unique collection of links to audio files of poetry and a poetry weblog of her own.
The author of Notes From Pure Land Mountain lives near the western shore of Lake Biwa. Three hundred and twelve years ago the haiku poet (and proto-blogger?) Basho lived in a hut on the southern tip of the lake. Here is his report of life there:

In the daytime an old watchman from the local shrine or some villager from the foot of the hill comes along and chats with me about things I rarely hear of, such as a wild boar's looting the rice paddies or a hare's haunting the bean farms. When the sun sets under the edge of the hill and night falls, I quietly sit and wait for the moon. With the moonrise I begin roaming about, casting my shadow on the ground. When the night deepens I return to the hut and meditate on right and wrong, gazing at the dim margin of a shadow in the lamplight. (Translation Makoto Ueda)

Robert Brady's story of an encounter with the descendants of Basho's boars can be found here.
This is the summer of rabbits. We are overrun with Sylvilagus Floridanu, that is, the Eastern Cottontail. We have always had a few around; our mixture of woods and pasture with tangled brush at the margins is perfect habitat. This year however, I can hardly walk in the early hours or the evening without kicking up one. The morning trip down the dirt and gravel driveway is an exercise in rabbit avoidance as they break across in front of truck. Usually the local alliance of foxes keeps their numbers down. I'm not sure what has caused this break in the food chain. Perhaps the presence of five llamas on this part of the farm has caused our red coated raiders to find other hunting grounds.