japonisme: a man for all seasons: 1906

29 January 2010

a man for all seasons: 1906


sore uma ga uma ga to ya iu oya suzume

"Watch out for that horse!
Watch out!"
mother sparrow calls



waga io ya akutare karasu yase botan

at my hut--
rascally crows
emaciated peonies



kasumu zoyo matsu ga sambon meoto-zuru

in spring mist
three pines, two cranes
husband and wife



tori mo naki chô mo tobi keri furu tatami

birds singing
butterflies flitting...
old tatami mat


Or: "a butterfly flitting." Shinji Ogawa points out that naki means "sang" in this haiku, not, as I originally thought, "devoid of."
With his correction, the haiku now makes perfect sense.
Issa sits on his old tatami mat, enjoying the spring day along with the birds and butterflies.


tori no su ni akewatashitaru iori kana

surrendering it
to the nesting birds...
my hut


Issa ends this haiku, simply, with "hut" (iori kana). In a revision four years later (in 1824), he clarifies his meaning by ending the haiku with "the hut that is empty because its owner is away" (rusu no io). Issa is leaving his hut for a while, generously offering it to nesting birds. Shinji Ogawa notes that the verb akewatashitaru denotes Issa's abandoning or surrending his hut.


kyô mo kyô mo damatte kurasu ko kamo kana

today too
keeping perfectly quiet...
little duck



tabi-gasa wo chiisaku miseru kasumi kana

their traveling hats
looking small...


year unknown

ao no ha wa shiohi nagure no karasu kana

some stay behind
in the green leaves...
low tide crows


Nagure is the same as nagori ("vestiges," "remains"); see Kogo dai jiten (Shogakukan 1983) 1213. The crows at low tide are doing the same thing as their human counterparts: looking for shellfish. A few linger behind in trees and field.


chikazukeba [kyû] ni sabishiki momiji kana

drawing near them
a sudden loneliness
autumn leaves



ushiro kara ôsamu kosamu yozamu kana

behind me--
big cold, little cold
night cold



yuki no hi ya dô ni gisshiri hato suzume

on a snowy day
the temple is packed...
pigeons, sparrows


many continued thank yous to the amazing david g lanoue and his glorious issa pages, revealing the poet's humanity, humor, and the nature and customs of his world.

as is obvious, i have not yet been able to find a july for 1906 yet.
will remedy and announce when i do.

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Blogger Loretta Markell said...

This is one of my favorite places to go. Love the haikus and the images compliment them perfectly.

31 January, 2010 14:40  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

welcome, loretta-- and i'm so glad you thought so. thanks for your warm words.

31 January, 2010 18:57  

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