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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.
******* in the snow
outside my door--
it makes a very straight hole.
The man pulling radishes
pointed my way
with a radish.
Writing **** about new snow
for the rich
is not art.
The pheasant cries
as if it just noticed
the mountain.
In spring rain
a pretty girl
    yawning.
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That wren
That wren--
looking here, looking there.
You lose something?
A cuckoo sings
to me, to the mountain,
    to me, to the mountain.
What a strange thing!
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms.
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The crow
The crow
walks along there
as if it were tilling the field.
All the time I pray to Buddha
I keep on
killing mosquitoes.
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.
In this world
we walk on the roof of hell,
gazing at flowers.
This moth saw brightness
in a woman's chamber--
burnt to a crisp.
New Year's morning:
the ducks on the pond
quack and quack.
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.
That pretty girl--
munching and rustling
the wrapped-up rice cake.
The toad! It looks like
it could belch
a cloud.
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.
A huge frog and I,
staring at each other,
neither of us moves.
These sea slugs,
they just don't seem
Japanese.
Asked how old he was,
the boy in the new kimono
stretched out all five fingers.
Children imitating cormorants
are even more wonderful
than cormorants.
The snow is melting
and the village is flooded
with children.
Blossoms at night,
and the faces of people
moved by music.
Hey, sparrow!
out of the way,
    Horse is coming.
Having slept, the cat gets up,
yawns, goes out
to make love.
Under my house
an inchworm
measuring the joists.
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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.
Ducks bobbing on the water--
are they also, tonight,
hoping to get lucky?
No doubt about it,
the mountain cuckoo
is a crybaby.
Even with insects--
some can sing,
some can't.
New Year's Day--
everything is in blossom!
I feel about average.
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.
Even on the smallest islands,
they are tilling the fields,
skylarks singing.
Under the image of Buddha
all these spring flowers
seem a little tiresome.
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How much
How much
are you enjoying yourself,
tiger moth?
Last time, I think,
I'll brush the flies
from my father's face.
Approaching my village:

        Don't know about the people,
        but all the scarecrows
        are crooked.
Not very anxious
to bloom,
my plum tree.
In the thicket's shade
a woman by herself
singing the rice-planting song.
In these latter-day,
Degenerate times,
   Cherry-blossoms everywhere!
I'm going out,
flies, so relax,
make love.
Visiting the graves,
the old dog
leads the way.

— The End —