Don't worry, spiders,
I keep house

Napping at midday
I hear the song of rice planters
and feel ashamed of myself.

The pheasant cries
as if it just noticed
the mountain.

Pissing in the snow
outside my door--
it makes a very straight hole.

Writing shit about new snow
for the rich
is not art.

The man pulling radishes
pointed my way
with a radish.

New Year's morning:
the ducks on the pond
quack and quack.

A cuckoo sings
to me, to the mountain,
    to me, to the mountain.

That wren

That wren--
looking here, looking there.
You lose something?

All the time I pray to Buddha
I keep on
killing mosquitoes.

This moth saw brightness
in a woman's chamber--
burnt to a crisp.

In spring rain
a pretty girl

In this world
we walk on the roof of hell,
gazing at flowers.

Face of the spring moon--
about twelve years old,
I'd say.

Napped half the day;
no one
punished me!

The moon tonight--
I even miss
her grumbling.

The toad! It looks like
it could belch
a cloud.

His death poem:

        A bath when you're born,
        a bath when you die,
        how stupid.

Summer night--
even the stars
are whispering to each other.

With my father
I would watch dawn
over green fields.

Not knowing
it's a tub they're in
the fish cooling at the gate.

Children imitating cormorants
are even more wonderful
than cormorants.

Asked how old he was,
the boy in the new kimono
stretched out all five fingers.

These sea slugs,
they just don't seem

That pretty girl--
munching and rustling
the wrapped-up rice cake.

A huge frog and I,
staring at each other,
neither of us moves.

Blossoms at night,
and the faces of people
moved by music.

The crow

The crow
walks along there
as if it were tilling the field.

Under my house
an inchworm
measuring the joists.


through a telescope:
ten cents worth of fog.

Windy fall

At my daughter's grave, thirty days
after her death:

        Windy fall--
        these are the scarlet flowers
        she liked to pick.

The snow is melting
and the village is flooded
with children.

Even on the smallest islands,
they are tilling the fields,
skylarks singing.

No doubt about it,
the mountain cuckoo
is a crybaby.

Ducks bobbing on the water--
are they also, tonight,
hoping to get lucky?

New Year's Day--
everything is in blossom!
I feel about average.

In the thicket's shade
a woman by herself
singing the rice-planting song.

What a strange thing!
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms.

Last time, I think,
I'll brush the flies
from my father's face.

Hey, sparrow!
out of the way,
    Horse is coming.

Not very anxious
to bloom,
my plum tree.

I'm going out,
flies, so relax,
make love.

Under the image of Buddha
all these spring flowers
seem a little tiresome.

Approaching my village:

        Don't know about the people,
        but all the scarecrows
        are crooked.

Having slept, the cat gets up,
yawns, goes out
to make love.

Visiting the graves,
the old dog
leads the way.

It once happened
that a child was spared punishment
through earnest solicitation.

In these latter-day,
Degenerate times,
   Cherry-blossoms everywhere!

How much

How much
are you enjying yourself,
tiger moth?

Even with insects--
some can sing,
some can't.

— The End —

The Spring of My Life: And Selected Haiku by Kobayashi Issa