This poem comes from a discussion in a class I was in where we had read and then were discussing Robert Hass’ wonderful book “The Essential Haiku: Versions of Bashō, Buson, & Issa ” and we were talking about the poetics of Bashō, who Hass calls “one of the world’s greatest lyric poets”. One of the key concepts Bashō, who was a master poet and teacher in 17th century Japan, developed in his lifetime was the idea of the “poetics of scent”.
Traditionally in the linked poems of the time the mode that was used for linking verses were either “lexical”, words with classical or cultural association, or “content”, where the linked verse expanded or extended the material of the previous verse explicitly. But Bashō proposed that instead the linkage should be less direct, the linkage should be more of overtone or aesthetic. He called this linking by “scent”.