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Saturday 2 April 2011

Issa: Spring begins again


Wild Cherry (Prunus avium) in flower: photo by Benjamin Gimmel, 2004

.....Spring begins again;
Upon folly,
.....Folly returns.

Catkin of a Pussy Willow (either Salix discolor, Salix caprea or a hybrid), Lancaster Country, Pennsylvania:
photo by Derek Ramsey, 19 May 2007

.....A time of congratulation, --
But my spring
.....Is about average.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) in spring: photo by Benjamin Gimmel, 2004

.....The spring day closes,
.....Where there is water.

River Aire, near the bottom of Gordale Scar, North Yorkshire: photo by David Benbennick, 24 April 2005

.....A little bit of a nuisance,

These flowers blooming, --
.....The sleeping Buddha.

Bed of tulips and pansies: photo by 3268zauber, 27 April 2009

.....The spring rain;

A little girl teaches
.....The cat to dance.

Neoregelia concentrica var. plutonis, with water collection around buds at center of plant typical of the Bromeliaceae family, Botanic Garden, Berlin: photo by Hanson59, 2004

.....In the spring rain,

A beautiful maiden
.....Gives a great yawn.

Neoregelia (Tricolor), United States Botanic Garden: the collection of water typical to the Bromeliaceae family as well as buds within the water can be seen at the plant's center: photo by Appellative, 14 June 2007

.....Spring rain;

The still remaining, uneaten ducks
.....Are quacking.

A mother goose (Branta canadensis) shading her young from the spring rain (goslings don't yet have waterproof feathers)
: photo by Lucy, May 2007

.....Spring departs,

Rustle, rustle,
.....In the grasses of the field.

Poppy seed field, Toscana, Italy: photo by Jürgen Kopfler, 19 May 2002

Spring begins again (and other spring haiku): Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), translated by Reginald Horace Blyth, 1949


Anonymous said...

we still have paradise!

Anonymous said...

It's hard to know where to start, except to say that you never want this to end. That being said, I guess I'll rest my mind on "The still remaining, uneaten ducks
.....Are quacking."

Today we're leaving the warm perfect southern California weather and heading back to what sounds like a miserable (in terms of weather) beginning of spring. Jane's school has a remarkable assembly of large flowering cherry trees. I hope we'll get to see them blossom this year, but obviously it's just another reminder of Japan.



Very nice, "especially prized" as EP once upon a time said -- "A time of congratulations , -- / But my spring/ Is about average"; "A spring day closes,/ Lingering/ Where there is water" (more water on the way here, perhaps) . . . .


first light coming into sky above still
shadowed ridge, leaves moving on branch
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

i.e., as well as “thinking”
of before as not yet

appearing, filling in light
everywhere, is later

lines of white clouds in pale blue sky,
shadowed green pine on tip of sandspit

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Beautiful, Tom, and this just illustrates the mastery of Blyth.

Fantastic translations.

Sorry to be away for so long. I've been posting everyday, putting up Scott Watson's Sendai Quake Journal in installments. Trying to give a personal face to the ongoing Japan disaster.

Hope to have time to visit more regularly ... soon.


Ed Baker said...

that one little duckette poking through
I'll never eat Peking Duck ....again !

things here also
about "average"
not exactly the haiku moments that you today gift us.


TC said...

Sandra, absolutely.

Ed, I hear you. So-so spring here too.

(I think those first few haikus were written in the year after Issa turned sixty... Ay, little did he know the ultra-averagenesses Time would have held in store for him had he turned the crooked corner into that next decade...)

Curtis, yes, to provide "another reminder of Japan" was no small part of the purpose here... what can one do?

Steve, yes, these poems remind me we are here, now, and

everywhere, is later

Don, we've been appreciating your posting of Scott Watson's Japan diaries.

That is one thing one can do... and thank you for it.

Ed Baker said...

that "turn" is into that 7th decade is in two weeks for me
seems like just yesterday I was 18

for me Issa is "a cut above" the others

between him and Ikkyu well where can I get a warm cup of Santoka's (family's) sake?

ever read Issa's Chichi no Shuen Nikki ?

the entire thing is in Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 39,
No.! (Spring, 1984, pp. 25-54
Robert Huey did this for us.

If Father were here,
We'd be looking out at dawn
Across these wide green hills.


Chichi arite
Akebono mitashi

however I suspect that the original was a single line compound-complex poem/thought

for some reason I distrust translations as
it s hard enough (for me) writing in my own language

& here is first run at my 70 th birthday poem:

full moon
here 70 years
big fucking deal

TC said...

a single line compound-complex poem/thought

Ed, compared with that, the Holy Grail was a melted ice cream cone.

A very large purring cat on my lap, cutting off the blood flow to the necrosis, happily prevents me from speaking at length re. my observation so far that 70 is the new 90.

In a do-or-die gambit, on the first day it stopped raining (2 days ago) I resolved to get off my back and, four months after losing the battle to the tire-piercing spikes, once again brave the streets of life. Hobbling ruefully back later, I glanced up, saw the moon, and thought of -- no, not Issa -- but Ed Baker.

Julia said...

Wonderful images and words, Tom.
¿Cómo consigues tanta belleza?
Our spring and, alas, summer are going away here, but it's nice to see them coming in our friend's blogs. And to know they can enjoy them.

Anonymous said...

Of course I love this, especially the duckling or gosling and the lambs at Gordale Scar. It's something to look forward to. Do you have blossom in Berkeley now?


TC said...


Plum, cherry, magnolia are blooming. Though all were battered by the hail, they are, of course, hale enough to keep on putting out buds now the monsoons have ceased.


You have provided so many beauties at Meliora Latent that we have some catching up to do, here.

Julia said...

Oh, Tom... Stop it!

aditya said...

How wonderful to have seen the Spring at your place for the summer heat in here is already proving to be more than just trouble. Like Sandra says we still have paradise!
Such a reprieve! And so from the alcoves of my own memories begin to seep scenes of beauty and content.

Growing on a tree
  koel kids
and mango blossoms