Mogura earth dragon

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Mogura モグラ; モグラモチ (土竜; 土龍)
"earth dragon", mole - Maulwurf

enso 偃鼠 (old name of the mole, from China)

are small cylindrical mammals adapted to a subterranean lifestyle. They have velvety fur; tiny or invisible ears and eyes; and short, powerful limbs with large paws oriented for digging. The term is especially and most properly used for the true moles, those of the Talpidae family in the order Soricomorpha found in most parts of North America, Asia, and Europe.

It also refers to other completely unrelated mammals of Australia and southern Africa which have also evolved the mole body plan; while it is not commonly used for some talpids, such as desmans and shrew-moles, which do not fit the common definition of “mole” as well.

Although the mole can be eaten, the taste is said to be deeply unpleasant.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


Matsuo Basho wrote, after moving to Fukagawa:

koori nigaku enso ga nodo o uruhoseri

the ice tastes bitter -
just enough for a mole
to moisten his throat

Written in 延宝9年(天和元年 Basho age 38.
The water he had saved in a pot had frozen and when he tasted a bit, it was too bitter.
This poem shows the great poverty of Basho at that time. The drinking water for the population around Fukagawa in Edo was a great problem. There were vendors of clean water walking the streets, but a poor poet could not buy that. Basho must have felt like a dobunezumi ドブネズミ a sewer rat.

ice is bitter
in the mouth of the rat
quenching its thirst

Tr. David Barnhill

Basho is traveling by foot on an arduous journey, without creature comforts. He is dirty, exhausted, hungry, thirsty, and lonely. He stops at a hut in Japan's Fukagawa region to drink some water. The water there is not potable, and is disease ridden. Residents purchase imported drinking water from vendors. Basho may have been without the funds to purchase a container of drinking water and is forced to sip the bitter, dirty water no one in the region, except for the very poor, drink. Does the wandering poet feel like an animal, drinking out of desperation? This poem is filled with sabi (lonely beauty), sensitivity, and poignant sadness.

Is this hokku a reference to the following verse in the Daoist Zhuangzi that admonishes one to live within their own means and to find happiness within that experiential sphere?

ice, tasting bitter
in the mouth of a sewer rat,
quenches his thirst

Tr. Ueda

"A sewer rat drinks from a large river, yet the amount of water he takes is just enough to quench his thirst."
Tr. by Makoto Ueda

MORE comments from Basho and his interpreters:
source : books.google.co.jp

Is Basho, by writing this hokku, ruminating on his current situation in life, reminding himself to be thankful for the breath he breathes, knowing that life can take a downward spiral, emotionally and physically, if he harbors and dwells on dissatisfaction? What was he thinking when he composed this poem?
source : simplyhaiku.theartofhaiku.com

- quote by Peipei Qiu
Ice, a bitter taste,
just enough to moisten
the throat of the mole.

This verse seems to be a humorous sketch of the rural life, but the use of an unusual Chinese word, enso (mole), calls the reader’s attention to its hon’i signification. This enso, used in the hokku as a haigon, is in fact from the first chapter of the Zhuangzi. In the account the legendary Chinese ruler Yao wants to cede his empire to a recluse named Xü You, but Xü declines, saying:

You are ruling all under heaven and everything is already in order.
If I were to take your place now, would I be doing it for the name?
A name is subordinate to the reality.
Would I be a subordinate?
A wren nests in the forest using no more than a branch.
A mole drinks from the river taking no more than a bellyful.
Please return and forget about this, my lord.
I have no use with all that under heaven.

With this intertextual reference, we can see that Bashô uses the enso metaphorically to imply his preference for simplicity and spiritual freedom; this hon’i is made possible only through its connection with the Zhuangzi. In this way, Bashô uses the Daoist classic to create novel hon’i of haigon based on an intertextual structure bridging his hokku with the aesthete-recluse tradition celebrated by the Daoist tradition.
- source : http://simplyhaikujournal.com/summer-2013 - Peipei Qiu

. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .

- The Complete Works Of Chuang Tzu - Zhuangzi
Hsu Yu said,
"You govern the world and the world is already well governed. Now if I take your place, will I be doing it for a name? But name is only the guest of reality - will I be doing it so I can play the part of a guest? When the tailorbird builds her nest in the deep wood, she uses no more than one branch.
When the mole drinks at the river, he takes no more than a bellyful.
Go home and forget the matter, my lord.

source : Translated by Burton Watson


Kawanabe Kyosai 河鍋暁斎 (1831-1889)
Dancing yokai monsters, including the mogura !

Kawasaki Imogura 川越イモグラ Satsuma imo sweet potato monster
mascot from Kawasaki town  紅葉狩り

. satsumaimo, satsuma-imo 薩摩芋, サツマイモ .
Batate, Ipomoea batatas

- - - - -

. yookai, yōkai 妖怪 Yokai monsters – ABC-List .


kigo for the New Year

mogura-uchi 土龍打 ( もぐらうち) "hitting the moles"
..... mogura oi 土龍追(もぐらおい)
sending the moles away, mogura okuri 土龍送り(もぐらおくり)
urokomochiuchi, uroko mochiuchi うろこもち打(うろこもちうち 望打ち)

On the 15th day of the first lunar month (koshoogatsu), farmers walked around the fields and prayed that the moles would not destroy their fields and bring danger to the good harvest. They sing special songs and hit the ground with freshly cut bamboo poles. The songs are different in each region of Japan.

This is one of the rural

yoshoku girei 予祝儀礼
special rituals to prevent something bad from happening

mogura uchi kodomo de arishi warera kana

hitting the moles -
we act
like children

. Hasegawa Kai 長谷川櫂  .

. "Little New Year" (koshoogatsu) .



o to to to to -
a mole falls
from the stone wall

- Gabi Greve, May 2012 -


. mole cricket ケラ(螻蛄)kera .

. mogura daikon もぐら大根 "mole radish" .

. mugura 葎 (むぐら) cleavers .
..... mogura もぐら

- #mogura #mole -

1 comment:

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Legend from Tokyo, Bunkyo ward, Hongo

sennen mogura 千年土竜 a mole of 1000 years

At the house of a rich merchant living in 本郷大根畑 the big radish fields of Hongo they captured 白いもぐら a white mole.
It was about 30 cm long.
and more legends to explore