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The Spring of My Life: And Selected Haiku by Kobayashi Issa
Don't worry, spiders,
I keep house
casually.
Napping at midday
I hear the song of rice planters
and feel ashamed of myself.
Pissing in the snow
outside my door--
it makes a very straight hole.
The man pulling radishes
pointed my way
with a radish.
Writing shit about new snow
for the rich
is not art.
The pheasant cries
as if it just noticed
the mountain.
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The crow
The crow
walks along there
as if it were tilling the field.
In spring rain
a pretty girl
    yawning.
A cuckoo sings
to me, to the mountain,
    to me, to the mountain.
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That wren
That wren--
looking here, looking there.
You lose something?
All the time I pray to Buddha
I keep on
killing mosquitoes.
Summer night--
even the stars
are whispering to each other.
This moth saw brightness
in a woman's chamber--
burnt to a crisp.
His death poem:

        A bath when you're born,
        a bath when you die,
        how stupid.
New Year's morning:
the ducks on the pond
quack and quack.
In this world
we walk on the roof of hell,
gazing at flowers.
The moon tonight--
I even miss
her grumbling.
Napped half the day;
no one
punished me!
Face of the spring moon--
about twelve years old,
I'd say.
What a strange thing!
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms.
That pretty girl--
munching and rustling
the wrapped-up rice cake.
The toad! It looks like
it could belch
a cloud.
Not knowing
it's a tub they're in
the fish cooling at the gate.
With my father
I would watch dawn
over green fields.
These sea slugs,
they just don't seem
Japanese.
A huge frog and I,
staring at each other,
neither of us moves.
Asked how old he was,
the boy in the new kimono
stretched out all five fingers.
The snow is melting
and the village is flooded
with children.
Children imitating cormorants
are even more wonderful
than cormorants.
Under my house
an inchworm
measuring the joists.
Blossoms at night,
and the faces of people
moved by music.
Hey, sparrow!
out of the way,
    Horse is coming.
Ducks bobbing on the water--
are they also, tonight,
hoping to get lucky?
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Windy fall
At my daughter's grave, thirty days
after her death:

        Windy fall--
        these are the scarlet flowers
        she liked to pick.
No doubt about it,
the mountain cuckoo
is a crybaby.
It once happened
that a child was spared punishment
through earnest solicitation.
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Seen
Seen
through a telescope:
ten cents worth of fog.
Under the image of Buddha
all these spring flowers
seem a little tiresome.
Even on the smallest islands,
they are tilling the fields,
skylarks singing.
Even with insects--
some can sing,
some can't.
Last time, I think,
I'll brush the flies
from my father's face.
In the thicket's shade
a woman by herself
singing the rice-planting song.
Having slept, the cat gets up,
yawns, goes out
to make love.
New Year's Day--
everything is in blossom!
I feel about average.
Not very anxious
to bloom,
my plum tree.
Approaching my village:

        Don't know about the people,
        but all the scarecrows
        are crooked.
I'm going out,
flies, so relax,
make love.
Visiting the graves,
the old dog
leads the way.
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How much
How much
are you enjoying yourself,
tiger moth?
In these latter-day,
Degenerate times,
   Cherry-blossoms everywhere!

— The End —