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These are my modern English translations of haiku about plum blossoms, plums and plum trees. In Japanese poetry the plum ("ume") is associated with the beginning of spring and good fortune; plum trees were often planted facing northeast to ward off bad luck. Plum blossoms are widely loved and appreciated by the Japanese people; they symbolize refinement, purity, nobility and the remembrance of love.

Picking autumn plums
my wrinkled hands
once again grow fragrant
― Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Clinging
to the plum tree:
one blossom's worth of warmth…
—Hattori Ransetsu, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

On adjacent branches
the plum tree blossoms bloom
petal by petal―love!

― Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
White plum blossoms―
though the hour grows late,
a glimpse of dawn
― Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch; this is believed to be Buson's death poem and he is said to have died before dawn

Lately the nights
dawn
plum-blossom white.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

A shy maiden:
the loveliness of the lone plum
blossoming
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Longing for plum blossoms:
bowing before the deutzia,
weeping.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Moonlit plum tree,
tarry!
Spring will return soon.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The plum blossom’s fragrance
warms
winter’s frigid embrace.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

White plum blossoms:
have the cranes
gone undercover?
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Suddenly, the scent of plums
on a mountain path:
sunrise!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Warm sun unfolds
the plum blossom’s scent:
a mountain path.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The fragrance of plum blossoms
on a foggy path:
the sun rising.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The plum in full bloom
must not be disturbed
by the wind.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The plum's fragrance:
the past
holds such pathos.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Are you the butterfly
and I the dreaming heart
of Soshi?
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
kimi ya cho / ware ya shoshi no / yume gokoro

The poem above is a reference to a butterfly dream of Chuang Tzu, a Taoist sage and poet who was a major influence on Basho. Soshi is the Japanese rendering of the name Chuang Tzu. I believe what Basho may have meant is something closer to this:

Are you the butterfly
while I pursue dreams
of Soshi?
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Are you the butterfly
while in my dreams
I flit after Soshi?
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

It's not at all anxious to bloom,
the plum tree at my gate.
―Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The red plum's fallen petals
seem to ignite horse ****.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Intruder!―
This white plum tree
was once outside our fence!
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The white poppy
accepts the butterfly's broken wing
as a keepsake
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
shirageshi ni / hane mogu cho no / katami kana

As autumn deepens
a butterfly sips
chrysanthemum dew
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
aki o hete / cho mo nameru ya / kiku no tsuyu
The translation above is slated to be published by Emma Burleigh in her book "Earth Color."

A single leaf
of paulownia falling
reflects the sun.
—Takahama Kyoshi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I caught a falling cherry petal;
but opening my fist ...
nothing
—Takahama Kyoshi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

They call it a white peony
yet it contains
hints of red
—Takahama Kyoshi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Evening shadows
grow thick
on the floating algae
—Takahama Kyoshi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The snake slithered away
yet his eyes, having met mine,
remained
—Takahama Kyoshi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The bamboo grove
is lit
by the yellow spring sunlight
—Takahama Kyoshi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Chikurin ni/ Ki naru haruhi wo/ Aogikeri

On a hot summer night
dreams and reality
merge.
—Takahama Kyoshi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Mizika-yo ya/ Yume mo utsutsu mo / Onazi koto

The summer butterfly
has to look sharp
to make its getaway.
—Takahama Kyoshi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Natsu no cho/ Manako surudoku/ Kakeri kishi

The autumn sky
is severed
by the big chinquapin tree.
—Takahama Kyoshi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Akizora wo/ Futatsu ni tateri/ ****-taiju

“Cawa-cawa!”
The winter crow
elocutes coarsely.
—Takahama Kyoshi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Kawa kawa to/ Ookiku yuruku/ Samu-garasu

You rise with the sun,
mysteriously warm,
also scattering sunbeams.
—Michael R. Burch

As springs’ budding blossoms emerge
the raptors glide mercilessly.
—Michael R. Burch

I wrote this haiku-like poem above on 3-27-2023 after the Nashville Covenant school massacre.—Michael R. Burch

Incomprehensible
by Michael R. Burch

“Slain” — an impossible word to comprehend.
The male lion murders cubs,
licks his lips, devours them.

Her sky-high promises:
midday moon
—Michael R. Burch

The north wind’s refrain,
a southbound train ...
Invitation?
—Michael R. Burch

The north wind’s refrain,
the receding strain
of a southbound train ...
Invitation?
—Michael R. Burch

The moon blushed
then fled behind a cloud:
her stolen kiss.
—Michael R. Burch

Elderly sunflowers:
bees trimming their beards.
—Michael R. Burch

Keywords/Tags: haiku, translation, Japanese, Japan, Oriental, plum, plums, plum blossom, plum blossoms, plum trees, spring, good luck, good fortune, love, purity, refinement, nobility
annh Mar 2022
dear bill,

so sweet of you
to leave behind
a paper jot
for me to find

for ev’ry breakfast
lunch and tea
gone missing since
you married me;

- however -

such wilfulness
I do condemn
each crust and crumb,
each stone and stem,

each potluck plum
purloined at night
to satisfy
your appetite;

this doctor’s wife
has had her fill
of poetry
and bitter pills,

and crumpled drafts
in juicy scrawl
appended to
the icebox door;

your words do not
a meal make
how many more
must I forsake

- meals, that is -

before your page
is fit for press
and I can sup
on more…not less

love, floss

ps dinner’s in the oven, probably
A creative writing course exercise in found poetry. Williams married Florence “Flossie” Herman in 1912 and became the town doctor in Rutherford, New Jersey. Despite the time commitment, Williams continued as a full-time doctor while writing his poetry, benefiting from the financial stability it offered.

‘I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold’
- William Carlos Williams, “This Is Just To Say”
Salmabanu Hatim Jun 2018
What a surprise!
A single bud on a rose tree,
Blushing to open,
As glistening dew bathe it.
I moved down the orchard,
Ah! The Rose Family (Rosaceae),
Apples (malus),
Raspberries (rubus),
Strawberries (fragaria).
Having a morning chat,
In awe to see the blooming of their cousin,the rose,
Their leaves trembling with joy.
Roses are red my love,
So are their cousins Prunus,
Plums and cherries,
Red as fresh blood,
Nodding in the gleaming sun.
What a get-together!
Arcassin B Apr 2018
By Arcassin Burnham


This time,
I need a little more from this life,
This time,
Theres no more weaknesses in my mind,
This time,
This time,
This time.
Your ancestors and your family won't be proud of your lies,
the devil lurks from around corners provoking the mind and shadowing
Eyes,
Tell me how many times can you cheat
On her before she ends up with a different
guy,
Tell me will you ever change your ways
this time,
I fight demons everyday but more urges
trying to gain my soul,
I hope this doesn't really haunt me with
Struggles that might end up taking me
whole,
How does it feel to know that probably
one day you might go to hell when you
die?
I'm hoping the most high will give me
Some wings fly..

This time,
I need a little more from this life,
This time,
Theres no more weaknesses in my mind,
This time,
This time,
This time,
Hope that I could get a chance to fly,
To somewhere that's high,
Like the astral plane,
Eating all the plums off the tree of life,
Once again in this life this time,
I wish I could fly,
‎right through my mind's eye,
‎A brand new life,
‎For a short time,
‎To look in Gods eyes.
©abpoetry2018

https://arcassin.blogspot.com/2018/04/tree-plums.html
Joe Thompson Oct 2016
You ate them?
You ate the ******* plums
that were in the fridge?
God, you're a selfish *******.
I wrote you once
                 twice
                thrice

      But no more
              for you
        will I again

I loved you once
                 twice
          and thrice

But not anymore
              for you
            this time

— The End —