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Michael R Burch Apr 2020
Yamaguchi Seishi Haiku Translations by Michael R. Burch

Grasses wilt:
the braking locomotive
grinds to a halt
― Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Published by Haiku Universe, Carpe Diem Haiku, Adas Poetry Alcove, HaikuViet, Form in Formless Times, Purple Pen in Portland

This appears to be one of my most popular translations on the Internet. A google search for the entire haiku text turned up nearly 8,000 results. That’s a lot of cutting and pasting!

Ceaseless chaos―
ice floes clash
in the Soya straits.
―Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Having crossed the sea,
winter winds can never return.
―Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

(The haiku above was written in October 1944 as Kamikaze pilots were flying out to sea.)

Banish the snow
for the human torpedo
now lies exploded.
―Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The sky hangs low
over Karafuto,
as white as the spawning herring.
―Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Green bottle flies
buzzing carrion—
did they just materialize?
―Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Finally
the cicadas stopped shrilling—
summer gale.
―Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As grief becomes unbearable
someone snaps a nearby branch.
―Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As grief reaches its breaking point
someone snaps a nearby branch.
―Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Trapped in the spider’s web
the firefly’s bulb
blinks out forever.
―Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Trapped in the spider’s web
the firefly’s light
is swiftly consumed.
―Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Keywords/Tags:  Yamaguchi Seishi, haiku, translations, Japanese, grass, grasses, wilt, locomotive, train
Stopping at
Lancaster
Preston
Wigan
and
Crewe.

all aboard.
Those days of steam.
The Clinchfield line flows from the mines -  and through the mountains of East Tennessee.
Wher menageries go to provide such a show - the likes of those we'd never  see.

The first glimpse of these beasts that came from the east - and such places where we'll never live.
They rolled in on the back and were pulled up the track - by the huge steel Loco-motive.

With this rolling stock that would bring such a shock - to the bustling boom town of Erwin.
All sorts of creatures where brought here to feature - where paying guests could get set to determine.

A lumbering cow was this company's wow - this Circus did owe its success.
But this pachyderm act would in time distract - and end up in a most awful mess.

Mary we can claim was this elephants name - and the boast is “the biggest in size.”  
For she sure was a hulk and endowed with such bulk - that I wouldn't be very surprised.

Too earn a few bob, Eldridge, new to the job – now the handler of this pachyderm.
This man was a fool and it seems, very cruel - as it said, he was overly firm.

He was void of the skill but enthused by the thrill - with a very go-for-broke view.
This creature he'd ***** with a great big stick – giving Mary a bad how-to-do.

He had picked the wrong day to cause this affray – as he jabbed with the long piece of wood.
Whilst he was being so rough he hit an absessed tooth – and believe me this figured no good.

With one painful bellow her trunk hit this fellow – throwing Red Eldridge around.
And such was her tread when she trod on his head – she crushed it right into the ground.

Bullets rang out and there was no doubt – they hadn't had any effect.
As before the crowd she still trumpeted loud – while the masses, revenge did select.

**** the elephant, **** the elephant – was the song that the crowds chose to sing.
Each and every man came up with the plan – they wanted poor Mary to swing.

The lynching was set and a huge crane was met – for Mary was five tons in weight.
Out in front of the crowds with them screaming out loud – her future was not looking great.

They secured her leg by a chain to a peg – whilst around her neck they placed a chain.
And whilst reeling it in it dug into the skin – as they lifted her up with the crane.

Back on the ground they heard such a sound – as Mary's big bones they did crack.
Then somebody said the chains still on her leg – and the elephant to earth did come back.

The effect of this trip broke the pachyderms hip – causing her incredible pain.
And with such neglect they then did reconnect – and they lifted the creature once again.

The crowds they did roar as Mary did soar – a day out it has to be said.
With laughter and glee for the whole family – this monster now hanging quite dead.

The elephant gone but the party went on – as this beauty did hang for this shower.
The boom town of Erwin all acted like vermin – and left her for almost an hour.

Buried in the ground she can not now be found – as many here try to forget.
To look in this face we see only disgrace – and forever this stone will be set.
6th November 2014

The town that hanged an elephant: A chilling photo and a macabre story of ****** and revenge
Charlie Sparks's travelling circus visited Kingsport, Tennessee, in 1916
An inexperienced keeper was put in charge of elephant called Mary
During a parade he goaded her with a spear, and hit an abscess
In pain, she dashed him against the ground and stood on his head
When residents began baying for blood, Charlie Sparks agreed to **** her

'Murderous Mary' was hanged using a railway crane in nearby Erwin
The photo is horrific but can be viewed online. It shows how cruel humanity can truly be.
William Keckler Nov 2014
The steam from a teakettle.
To be in love with one's own name!

Funny sort of locomotive!

— The End —