first cricket
...Thoreau's Journal: 15-May-1852

The first cricket’s chirrup which I have chanced to hear now falls on my ear and makes me forget all else; all else is a thin and moveable crust down to that depth where he resides eternally. He already foretells autumn. Deep under the dry border of some rock in this hillside he sits, and makes the finest singing of birds outward and insignificant, his own song is so much deeper and more significant. His voice has set me thinking, philosophizing, moralizing at once. It is not so wildly melodious, but it is wiser and more mature than that of the wood thrush. With this elixir I see clear through the summer now to autumn, and any summer works seems frivolous. I am disposed to ask this humblebee that hurries humming past so busily if he knows what he is about. At one leap I go from the just opened buttercup to the life-everlasting. This singer has antedated autumn. His strain is superior (inferior?) to seasons. It annihilates time and space; the summer is for time-servers.


cricket said...

Interesting and informative post.

Earthling said...

Haiku was a Japanese artform most westerners were not familiar with in the mid-19th century, and even in the early 20th century it was widely misunderstood and under-appreciated. Even today "haiku" is thought by many to be a trivial exercise, reserved for children in the classroom or for silly jokes. But I think Thoreau would've *gotten* the beauty of the poetry of Basho, Buson, Issa and Shiki.

This passage of Thoreau is yet another passage that makes me see a connection between Thoreau and the art of haiku.

hung on a nail
a cricket

~ Basho (translated by Jane Reichhold)

Earthling said...

Or this haiku that I wrote this past autumn:

from night shadows
one cricket chirp,
then silence

michael jameson said...

i find it interesting how we can think of autumn in spring!,even i wait for the green leaves of the tree all winter and now that they are here i think of the wonderful fall colors?,i do not wish my summer away and i may just be reminding myself, for i like to live in the slow lane to live as much of life as given. michael jameson oldantiqueguy@hotmail.com