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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

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