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Original Haiku and Tanka
by Michael R. Burch

These are original haiku and tanka written by Michael R. Burch, along with haiku-like and tanka-like poems inspired by the forms but not necessarily abiding by all the rules.

Dark-bosomed clouds
pregnant with heavy thunder ...
the water breaks
―Michael R. Burch

The poem above is my favorite of my original haiku. I wrote it while working on translations of haiku by the Oriental masters. Here's another one I particularly like:

one pillow ...
our dreams
merge
―Michael R. Burch



The Original Sin: Rhyming Haiku!

Haiku
should never rhyme:
it’s a crime!
―Michael R. Burch

The herons stand,
sentry-like, at attention ...
rigid observers of some unknown command.
―Michael R. Burch

Late
fall;
all
the golden leaves turn black underfoot:
soot
―Michael R. Burch

A snake in the grass
lies, hissing
"Trespass!"
―Michael R. Burch

Honeysuckle
blesses my knuckle
with affectionate dew
―Michael R. Burch

My nose nuzzles
honeysuckle’s
sweet nothings
―Michael R. Burch

The day’s eyes were blue
until you appeared
and they wept at your beauty.
―Michael R. Burch

The moon in decline
like my lover’s heart
lies far beyond mine
―Michael R. Burch

My mother’s eyes
acknowledging my imperfection:
dejection
―Michael R. Burch

The sun sets
the moon fails to rise
we avoid each other’s eyes
―Michael R. Burch

There are more rhyming haiku later on this page ...



Iffy Coronavirus Haiku

yet another iffy coronavirus haiku #1
by michael r. burch

plagued by the Plague
i plague the goldfish
with my verse

yet another iffy coronavirus haiku #2
by michael r. burch

sunflowers
hang their heads
embarrassed by their coronas

I wrote the poem above after having a sunflower arrangement delivered to my mother, who is in an assisted living center and can’t have visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic. I have been informed the poem breaks haiku rules about personification, etc.

Homework (yet another iffy coronavirus haiku #3)
by michael r. burch

Dim bulb overhead,
my silent companion:
still imitating the noonday sun?

yet another iffy coronavirus haiku #4
by michael r. burch

Spring fling—
children string flowers
into their face masks

yet another iffy coronavirus haiku #5
by michael r. burch

the Thought counts:
our lips and fingers
insulated by plexiglass ...

yet another iffy coronavirus haiku #6
by michael r. burch

masks, masks
everywhere
and not a straw to drink ...

Dark Cloud, Silver Lining
by Michael R. Burch

Despite my stormy demeanor,
my hands have never been cleaner!

New World Order (last in a series and perhaps a species)
by Michael R. Burch

The days of the dandelions dawn ...
soon man will be gone:
fertilizer.



Untitled Haiku

Dark-bosomed clouds
pregnant with heavy thunder ...
the water breaks
―Michael R. Burch

one pillow ...
our dreams
merge
―Michael R. Burch

Crushed grapes
surrender such sweetness!
A mother’s compassion.
―Michael R. Burch

My footprints
so faint in the snow?
Ah yes, you lifted me.
―Michael R. Burch

An emu feather
still falling?
So quickly you rushed to my rescue.
―Michael R. Burch

The sun warms
a solitary stone.
Let us abandon no one.
―Michael R. Burch

The eagle sees farther
from its greater height—
our ancestors’ wisdom
―Michael R. Burch

The ability
to disagree agreeably—
civility.
―Michael R. Burch

She bathes in silver
..……. afloat ……..
on her reflections
—Michael R. Burch

Celebrate the New Year?
The cat is not impressed,
the dogs shiver.
—Michael R. Burch

NOTE: Cats are seldom impressed by human accomplishments, while the canine members of our family have always hated fireworks and other unexpected loud noises.



Variations on Fall

Farewells like
falling
leaves,
so many sad goodbyes.
―Michael R. Burch

Falling leaves
brittle hearts
whisper farewells
―Michael R. Burch

Autumn leaves
soft farewells
falling ...
falling ...
falling ...
―Michael R. Burch

Autumn leaves
Fall’s farewells
Whispered goodbyes
―Michael R. Burch



Variations on the Seasons
by Michael R. Burch

Mother earth
prepares her nurseries:
spring greening

The trees become
modest,
coy behind fans



Wobbly fawns
have become the fleetest athletes:
summer



Dry leaves
scuttle like *****:
autumn

*

The sky
shivers:
snowfall

each
translucent flake
lighter than eiderdown

the entire town entombed
but not in gloom,
bedazzled.



Variations on Night

Night,
ice and darkness
conspire against human warmth
―Michael R. Burch

Night and the Stars
conspire against me:
Immensity
―Michael R. Burch

in the ice-cold cathedral
prayer candles ablaze
flicker warmthlessly
―Michael R. Burch



Variations on the Arts
by Michael R. Burch

Paint peeling:
the novel's
novelty wears off ...

The autumn marigold's
former glory:
allegory.

Human arias?
The nightingale frowns, perplexed.
Tone deaf!

Where do cynics
finally retire?
Satire.

All the world’s
a stage
unless it’s a cage.

To write an epigram,
cram.
If you lack wit, scram.

Haiku
should never rhyme:
it’s a crime!

Video
dumped the **** tube
for YouTube.

Anyone
can rap:
just write rhythmic crap!



Variations on Lingerie
by Michael R. Burch

Were you just a delusion?
The black negligee you left
now merest illusion.

The clothesline
quivers,
ripe with unmentionables.

The clothesline quivers:
wind,
or ghosts?



Variations on Love and Wisdom
by Michael R. Burch

Wise old owls
stare myopically at the moon,
hooting as the hart escapes.

Myopic moon-haunted owls
hoot as the hart escapes

The myopic owl,
moon-intent, scowls;
my rabbit heart thunders ...
Peace, wise fowl!



Tanka

All the wild energies
of electric youth
captured in the monochromes
of an ancient photobooth
like zigzagging lightning.
―Michael R. Burch

The plums were sweet,
icy and delicious.
To eat them all
was perhaps malicious.
But I vastly prefer your kisses!
―Michael R. Burch

A child waving ...
The train groans slowly away ...
Loneliness ...
Somewhere in the distance gusts
scatter the stray unharvested hay ...
―Michael R. Burch

How vaguely I knew you
however I held you close ...
your heart’s muffled thunder,
your breath the wind―
rising and dying.
―Michael R. Burch



Miscellanea

sheer green stockings
queer green beer
St. Patrick's Day!
―Michael R. Burch

cicadas chirping everywhere
singing to beat the band―
surround sound
―Michael R. Burch

Regal, upright,
clad in royal purple:
Zinnia
―Michael R. Burch

Love is a surreal sweetness
in a world where trampled grapes
become wine.
―Michael R. Burch

although meant for market
a pail full of strawberries
invites indulgence
―Michael R. Burch

late November;
skeptics scoff
but the geese no longer migrate
―Michael R. Burch

as the butterfly hunts nectar
the generous iris
continues to bloom
―Michael R. Burch



Childless
by Michael R. Burch

How can she bear her grief?
Mightier than Atlas, she shoulders the weight
of one fallen star.



Ascendance Transcendence
by Michael R. Burch

Breaching the summit
I reach
the horizon’s last rays.



The Reason for the Rain
by Michael R. Burch

The day’s eyes were blue
until you appeared
and they wept at your beauty.



Imperfect Perfection
by Michael R. Burch

You're too perfect for words―
a problem for a poet.



Intimations
by Michael R. Burch

Show me your most intimate items of apparel;
begin with the hem of your quicksilver slip ...



Expert Advice
by Michael R. Burch

Your ******* are perfect for your lithe, slender body.
Please stop making false comparisons your hobby!



Autumn Conundrum
by Michael R. Burch

It's not that every leaf must finally fall,
it's just that we can never catch them all.



Laughter's Cry
by Michael R. Burch

Because life is a mystery, we laugh
and do not know the half.

Because death is a mystery, we cry
when one is gone, our numbering thrown awry.



The Reason for the Rain (II)
by Michael R. Burch

The sky was blue
until you appeared
and it wept at your beauty.



Here's a poem composed of haiku-like stanzas:

Dandelion
by Michael R. Burch

Lift up your head
dandelion,
hear spring roar!

How will you tidy your hair
this near
summer?

Leave to each still night
your lightest affliction,
dandruff.

Soon you will free yourself:
one shake
of your white mane.

Now there are worlds
into which you appear
and disappear

seemingly at will
but invariably blown
wildly, then still.

Gasp at the bright chill
glower
of winter.

Icicles splinter;
sleep still an hour,
till, resurrected in power,

you lift up your head,
dandelion.
Hear spring roar!



More Rhyming Haiku

Dry leaf flung awry:
bright butterfly,
goodbye!
―Michael R. Burch

brief leaf flung awry ~
bright butterfly, goodbye!
―Michael R. Burch

leaf flutters in flight ~
bright, O and endeavoring butterfly,
goodbye!
―Michael R. Burch

a soaring kite flits
into the heart of the sun?
Butterfly & Chrysanthemum
―Michael R. Burch

The girl with the pallid lips
lipsticks
into something less comfortable
―Michael R. Burch

I am a traveler
going nowhere,
but my how the gawking bystanders stare!
―Michael R. Burch



Keywords/Tags: Haiku, Tanka, coronavirus, nature, love, heart, family, mother, son, seasons, spring, summer, fall, winter, sun, moon, rhyme, rhymed, mrbhaiku
The Original Sin: Rhyming Haiku!

Haiku
should never rhyme:
it’s a crime!
―Michael R. Burch

The herons stand,
sentry-like, at attention ...
rigid observers of some unknown command.
―Michael R. Burch

Late
fall;
all
the golden leaves turn black underfoot:
soot
―Michael R. Burch

Dry leaf flung awry:
bright butterfly,
goodbye!
―Michael R. Burch

A snake in the grass
lies, hissing
"Trespass!"
―Michael R. Burch

Honeysuckle
blesses my knuckle
with affectionate dew
―Michael R. Burch

My nose nuzzles
honeysuckle’s
sweet nothings
―Michael R. Burch

The day’s eyes were blue
until you appeared
and they wept at your beauty.
―Michael R. Burch

The moon in decline
like my lover’s heart
lies far beyond mine
―Michael R. Burch

My mother’s eyes
acknowledging my imperfection:
dejection
―Michael R. Burch

The sun sets
the moon fails to rise
we avoid each other’s eyes
―Michael R. Burch

brief leaf flung awry ~
bright butterfly, goodbye!
―Michael R. Burch

leaf flutters in flight ~
bright, O and endeavoring butterfly,
goodbye!
―Michael R. Burch

The girl with the pallid lips
lipsticks
into something more comfortable
―Michael R. Burch

I am a traveler
going nowhere,
but my how the gawking bystanders stare!
―Michael R. Burch

Here's a poem that's composed of haiku-like stanzas:

Lift up your head
dandelion,
hear spring roar!

How will you tidy your hair
this near
summer?

Leave to each still night
your lightest affliction,
dandruff.

Soon you will free yourself:
one shake
of your white mane.

Now there are worlds
into which you appear
and disappear

seemingly at will
but invariably blown
wildly, then still.

Gasp at the bright chill
glower
of winter.

Icicles splinter;
sleep still an hour,
till, resurrected in power,

you lift up your head,
dandelion.
Hear spring roar!
― Michael R. Burch

Unrhymed Original Haiku and Tanka
by Michael R. Burch

These are original haiku and tanka written by Michael R. Burch, along with haiku-like and tanka-like poems inspired by the forms but not necessarily abiding by all the rules.

Dark-bosomed clouds
pregnant with heavy thunder ...
the water breaks
―Michael R. Burch

one pillow ...
our dreams
merge
―Michael R. Burch

Iffy Coronavirus Haiku

yet another iffy coronavirus haiku #1
by Michael R. Burch

plagued by the Plague
i plague the goldfish
with my verse

yet another iffy coronavirus haiku #2
by Michael R. Burch

sunflowers
hang their heads
embarrassed by their coronas

I wrote this poem after having a sunflower arrangement delivered to my mother, who is in an assisted living center and can’t have visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic. I have been informed the poem breaks haiku rules about personification, etc.

Homework (yet another iffy coronavirus haiku #3)
by Michael R. Burch

Dim bulb overhead,
my silent companion:
still imitating the noonday sun?

New World Order (last in a series and perhaps a species)
by Michael R. Burch

The days of the dandelions dawn ...
soon man will be gone:
fertilizer.

Variations on Fall

Farewells like
falling
leaves,
so many sad goodbyes.
―Michael R. Burch

Falling leaves
brittle hearts
whisper farewells
―Michael R. Burch

Autumn leaves
soft farewells
falling ...
falling ...
falling ...
―Michael R. Burch

Autumn leaves
Fall’s farewells
Whispered goodbyes
―Michael R. Burch

Variations on the Seasons
by Michael R. Burch

Mother earth
prepares her nurseries:
spring greening

The trees become
modest,
coy behind fans



Wobbly fawns
have become the fleetest athletes:
summer



Dry leaves
scuttle like *****:
autumn

*

The sky
shivers:
snowfall

each
translucent flake
lighter than eiderdown

the entire town entombed
but not in gloom,
bedazzled.

Variations on Night

Night,
ice and darkness
conspire against human warmth
―Michael R. Burch

Night and the Stars
conspire against me:
Immensity
―Michael R. Burch

in the ice-cold cathedral
prayer candles ablaze
flicker warmthlessly
―Michael R. Burch

Variations on the Arts
by Michael R. Burch

Paint peeling:
the novel's
novelty wears off ...

The autumn marigold's
former glory:
allegory.

Human arias?
The nightingale frowns, perplexed.
Tone deaf!

Where do cynics
finally retire?
Satire.

All the world’s
a stage
unless it’s a cage.

To write an epigram,
cram.
If you lack wit, scram.

Haiku
should never rhyme:
it’s a crime!

Video
dumped the **** tube
for YouTube.

Anyone
can rap:
just write rhythmic crap!

Variations on Lingerie
by Michael R. Burch

Were you just a delusion?
The black negligee you left
now merest illusion.

The clothesline
quivers,
ripe with unmentionables.

The clothesline quivers:
wind,
or ghosts?

Variations on Love and Wisdom
by Michael R. Burch

Wise old owls
stare myopically at the moon,
hooting as the hart escapes.

Myopic moon-hooting owls
hoot as the hart escapes

The myopic owl,
moon-intent, scowls;
my rabbit heart thunders ...
Peace, wise fowl!

Tanka

All the wild energies
of electric youth
captured in the monochromes
of an ancient photobooth
like zigzagging lightning.
―Michael R. Burch

The plums were sweet,
icy and delicious.
To eat them all
was perhaps malicious.
But I vastly prefer your kisses!
―Michael R. Burch

A child waving ...
The train groans slowly away ...
Loneliness ...
Somewhere in the distance gusts
scatter the stray unharvested hay ...
―Michael R. Burch

How vaguely I knew you
however I held you close ...
your heart’s muffled thunder,
your breath the wind―
rising and dying.
―Michael R. Burch

Miscellanea

Childless
by Michael R. Burch

How can she bear her grief?
Mightier than Atlas, she shoulders the weight
of one fallen star.

sheer green stockings
queer green beer
St. Patrick's Day!
―Michael R. Burch

cicadas chirping everywhere
singing to beat the band―
surround sound
―Michael R. Burch

Regal, upright,
clad in royal purple:
Zinnia
―Michael R. Burch

Love is a surreal sweetness
in a world where trampled grapes
become wine.
―Michael R. Burch

although meant for market
a pail full of strawberries
invites indulgence
―Michael R. Burch

late November;
skeptics scoff
but the geese no longer migrate
―Michael R. Burch

as the butterfly hunts nectar
the generous iris
continues to bloom
―Michael R. Burch

Keywords/Tags: Haiku, Tanka, coronavirus, nature, love, heart, family, mother, son, seasons, spring, summer, fall, winter, sun, moon, rhyme, rhymed
Haiku Translations of the Oriental Masters

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

Oh, fallen camellias,
if I were you,
I'd leap into the torrent!
― Takaha Shugyo, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The first soft snow:
leaves of the awed jonquil
bow low
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Come, investigate loneliness!
a solitary leaf
clings to the Kiri tree
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Lightning
shatters the darkness―
the night heron's shriek
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

One apple, alone
in the abandoned orchard
reddens for winter
― Patrick Blanche, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The poem above is by a French poet; it illustrates how the poetry of Oriental masters like Basho has influenced poets around the world.

Graven images of long-departed gods,
dry spiritless leaves:
companions of the temple porch
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

See: whose surviving sons
visit the ancestral graves
white-bearded, with trembling canes?
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

I remove my beautiful kimono:
its varied braids
surround and entwine my body
― Hisajo Sugita, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

This day of chrysanthemums
I shake and comb my wet hair,
as their petals shed rain
― Hisajo Sugita, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

This darkening autumn:
my neighbor,
how does he continue?
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Let us arrange
these lovely flowers in the bowl
since there's no rice
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

An ancient pond,
the frog leaps:
the silver plop and gurgle of water
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The butterfly
perfuming its wings
fans the orchid
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Pausing between clouds
the moon rests
in the eyes of its beholders
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The first chill rain:
poor monkey, you too could use
a woven cape of straw
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

This snowy morning:
cries of the crow I despise
(ah, but so beautiful!)
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Like a heavy fragrance
snow-flakes settle:
lilies on the rocks
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The cheerful-chirping cricket
contends gray autumn's gay,
contemptuous of frost
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Whistle on, twilight whippoorwill,
solemn evangelist
of loneliness
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The sea darkening,
the voices of the wild ducks:
my mysterious companions!
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Will we meet again?
Here at your flowering grave:
two white butterflies
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Fever-felled mid-path
my dreams resurrect, to trek
into a hollow land
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Too ill to travel,
now only my autumn dreams
survey these withering fields
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch; this has been called Basho's death poem

These brown summer grasses?
The only remains
of "invincible" warriors...
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

An empty road
lonelier than abandonment:
this autumn evening
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Spring has come:
the nameless hill
lies shrouded in mist
― Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The Oldest Haiku

These are my translations of some of the oldest Japanese waka, which evolved into poetic forms such as tanka, renga and haiku over time. My translations are excerpts from the Kojiki (the "Record of Ancient Matters"), a book composed around 711-712 A.D. by the historian and poet Ō no Yasumaro. The Kojiki relates Japan’s mythological beginnings and the history of its imperial line. Like Virgil's Aeneid, the Kojiki seeks to legitimize rulers by recounting their roots. These are lines from one of the oldest Japanese poems, found in the oldest Japanese book:

While you decline to cry,
high on the mountainside
a single stalk of plumegrass wilts.
― Ō no Yasumaro (circa 711), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Here's another excerpt, with a humorous twist, from the Kojiki:

Hush, cawing crows; what rackets you make!
Heaven's indignant messengers,
you remind me of wordsmiths!
― Ō no Yasumaro (circa 711), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Here's another, this one a poem of love and longing:

Onyx, this gem-black night.
Downcast, I await your return
like the rising sun, unrivaled in splendor.
― Ō no Yasumaro (circa 711), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

More Haiku by Various Poets

Right at my feet!
When did you arrive here,
snail?
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Our world of dew
is a world of dew indeed;
and yet, and yet...
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Oh, brilliant moon
can it be true that even you
must rush off, like us, tardy?
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

A kite floats
at the same place in the sky
where yesterday it floated...
― Yosa Buson, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Standing unsteadily,
I am the scarecrow’s
skinny surrogate
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Autumn wind ...
She always wanted to pluck
the reddest roses
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Issa wrote the haiku above after the death of his daughter Sato with the note: “Sato, girl, 35th day, at the grave.”

The childless woman,
how tenderly she caresses
homeless dolls ...
—Hattori Ransetsu, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
umazume no hina kashizuku zo aware naru

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

One leaf falls, enlightenment!
Another leaf falls,
swept away by the wind ...
—Hattori Ransetsu, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
hitoha chiri totsu hitoha chiru kaze no ue

This has been called Ransetsu’s “death poem.” In The Classic Tradition of Haiku, Faubion Bowers says in a footnote to this haiku: “Just as ‘blossom’, when not modified, means ‘cherry flower’ in haiku, ‘one leaf’ is code for ‘kiri’. Kiri ... is the Pawlonia ... The leaves drop throughout the year. They shrivel, turn yellow, and yield to gravity. Their falling symbolizes loneliness and connotes the past. The large purple flowers ... are deeply associated with haiku because the three prongs hold 5, 7 and 5 buds ... ‘Totsu’ is an exclamation supposedly uttered when a Zen student achieves enlightenment. The sound also imitates the dry crackle the pawlonia leaf makes as it scratches the ground upon falling.”

Disdaining grass,
the firefly nibbles nettles—
this is who I am.
—Takarai Kikaku (1661-1707), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A simple man,
content to breakfast with the morning glories—
this is who I am.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
This is Basho’s response to the Takarai Kikaku haiku above
asagao ni / ware wa meshi kû / otoko kana

The morning glories, alas,
also turned out
not to embrace me
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The morning glories bloom,
mending chinks
in the old fence
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Morning glories,
however poorly painted,
still engage us
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
asagao wa / heta no kaku sae / aware nari

I too
have been accused
of morning glory gazing ...
—original haiku by by Michael R. Burch

Taming the rage
of an unrelenting sun—
autumn breeze.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
aka aka to / hi wa tsurenaku mo / aki no kaze

The sun sets,
relentlessly red,
yet autumn’s in the wind.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
aka aka to / hi wa tsurenaku mo / aki no kaze

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

As autumn draws near,
so too our hearts
in this small tea room.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
aki chikaki / kokoro no yoru ya / yo jo han

Nothing happened!
Yesterday simply vanished
like the blowfish soup.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
ara nantomo na ya / kino wa sugite / fukuto-jiru

The surging sea crests around Sado ...
and above her?
An ocean of stars.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
ara umi ya / Sado ni yokotau / Ama-no-gawa

Revered figure!
I bow low
to the rabbit-eared Iris.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Come, butterfly,
it’s late
and we’ve a long way to go!
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Nothing in the cry
of the cicadas
suggests they know they soon must die.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I wish I could wash
this perishing earth
in its shimmering dew.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Spring!
A nameless hill
shrouded in mist.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Dabbed with morning dew
and splashed with mud,
the melon looks wonderfully cool.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Cold white azalea—
a lone nun
in her thatched straw hut.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Glimpsed on this high mountain trail,
delighting my heart—
wild violets
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The bee emerging
from deep within the peony’s hairy recesses
flies off heavily, sated
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A crow has settled
on a naked branch—
autumn nightfall
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Except for a woodpecker
tapping at a post,
the house is silent.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

That dying cricket,
how he goes on about his life!
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Like a glorious shrine—
on these green, budding leaves,
the sun’s intense radiance.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
ara toto / aoba wakaba no / hi no hikar

A kite floats
at the same place in the sky
where yesterday it floated...
― Yosa Buson, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The pigeon's behavior
is beyond reproach,
but the mountain cuckoo's?
― Yosa Buson, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Plowing,
not a single bird sings
in the mountain's shadow
― Yosa Buson, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The pear tree flowers whitely―
a young woman reads his letter
by moonlight
― Yosa Buson, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

On adjacent branches
the plum tree blossoms bloom
petal by petal―love!
― Yosa Buson, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

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

Dawn!
The brilliant sun illuminates
sardine heads.
― Yosa Buson, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The abandoned willow
shines
between rains
― Yosa Buson, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

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

Don't worry spiders,
I clean house... sparingly.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Since I'm left here alone,
I'll make friends with the harvest moon.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Because I'm alone,
I'll make friends with the moon.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Even lonelier than last year:
this autumn evening.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

My thoughts return to my Mother and Father:
late autumn
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This roaring winter wind:
the cataract grates on its rocks.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

While snow lingers
in nooks and recesses:
flowers of the plum
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

White blossoms of the pear tree―
a young woman reading a moonlit letter
―Yosa Buson, 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 hood-wearer
in his self-created darkness
fails to see the harvest moon
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Our life here on earth:
to what shall we compare it?
Perhaps to a rowboat
departing at daybreak,
leaving no trace of us in its wake?
—Takaha Shugyo or Yosa Buson, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Tender grass
forgetful of its roots
the willow
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

NOTE: I believe this poem can be taken as commentary on ungrateful children. It reminds me of Robert Hayden's "Those Winter Sundays."―MRB

The dew-damp grass
weeps silently
in the setting sun
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I thought I felt a dewdrop
plop
on me as I lay in bed!
― Masaoka Shiki, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

We cannot see the moon
and yet the waves still rise
― Shiki Masaoka, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The first morning of autumn:
the mirror I investigate
reflects my father’s face
― Shiki Masaoka, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Wild geese pass
leaving the emptiness of heaven
revealed
― Takaha Shugyo, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Silently observing
the bottomless mountain lake:
water lilies
― Inahata Teiko, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Cranes
flapping ceaselessly
test the sky's upper limits
― Inahata Teiko, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Falling snowflakes'
glitter
tinsels the sea
― Inahata Teiko, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Blizzards here on earth,
blizzards of stars
in the sky
― Inahata Teiko, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Completely encircled
in emerald:
the glittering swamp!
― Inahata Teiko, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The new calendar!:
as if tomorrow
is assured...
― Inahata Teiko, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Ah butterfly,
what dreams do you ply
with your beautiful wings?
― Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Because morning glories
hold my well-bucket hostage
I go begging for water
― Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Spring
stirs the clouds
in the sky's teabowl
― Kikusha-ni, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Tonight I saw
how the peony crumples
in the fire's embers
― Katoh Shuhson, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

It fills me with anger,
this moon; it fills me
and makes me whole
― Takeshita Shizunojo, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

War
stood at the end of the hall
in the long shadows
― Watanabe Hakusen, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Because he is slow to wrath,
I tackle him, then wring his neck
in the long grass
― Shimazu Ryoh, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Pale mountain sky:
cherry petals play
as they tumble earthward
― Kusama Tokihiko, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The frozen moon,
the frozen lake:
two oval mirrors reflecting each other.
― Hashimoto Takako, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The bitter winter wind
ends here
with the frozen sea
― Ikenishi Gonsui, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Oh, bitter winter wind,
why bellow so
when there's no leaves to fell?
― Natsume Sôseki, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Winter waves
roil
their own shadows
― Tominaga Fûsei, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

No sky,
no land:
just snow eternally falling...
― Kajiwara Hashin, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Along with spring leaves
my child's teeth
take root, blossom
― Nakamura Kusatao, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Stillness:
a single chestnut leaf glides
on brilliant water
― Ryuin, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

As thunder recedes
a lone tree stands illuminated in sunlight:
applauded by cicadas
― Masaoka Shiki, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The snake slipped away
but his eyes, having held mine,
still stare in the grass
― Kyoshi Takahama, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Girls gather sprouts of rice:
reflections of the water flicker
on the backs of their hats
― Kyoshi Takahama, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Murmurs follow the hay cart
this blossoming summer day
― Ippekiro Nakatsuka (1887-1946), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The wet nurse
paused to consider a bucket of sea urchins
then walked away
― Ippekiro Nakatsuka (1887-1946), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

May I be with my mother
wearing her summer kimono
by the morning window
― Ippekiro Nakatsuka (1887-1946), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The hands of a woman exist
to remove the insides of the spring cuttlefish
― Sekitei Hara, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The moon
hovering above the snow-capped mountains
rained down hailstones
― Sekitei Hara, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Oh, dreamlike winter butterfly:
a puff of white snow
cresting mountains
― Kakio Tomizawa, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Spring snow
cascades over fences
in white waves
― Suju Takano, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Tanka and Waka translations:

If fields of autumn flowers
can shed their blossoms, shameless,
why can’t I also frolic here —
as fearless, and as blameless?
—Ono no Komachi, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Submit to you —
is that what you advise?
The way the ripples do
whenever ill winds arise?
—Ono no Komachi, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Watching wan moonlight
illuminate trees,
my heart also brims,
overflowing with autumn.
—Ono no Komachi, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

I had thought to pluck
the flower of forgetfulness
only to find it
already blossoming in his heart.
—Ono no Komachi, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

That which men call "love" —
is it not merely the chain
preventing our escape
from this world of pain?
—Ono no Komachi, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Once-colorful flowers faded,
while in my drab cell
life’s impulse also abated
as the long rains fell.
—Ono no Komachi, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

I set off at the shore
of the seaside of Tago,
where I saw the high, illuminated peak
of Fuji―white, aglow―
through flakes of drifting downy snow.
― Akahito Yamabe, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Keywords/Tags: haiku, oriental, masters, translation, Japanese, nature, seasons, Basho, Buson, Issa, waka, tanka, mrbhaiku
Seán Mac Falls Mar 2015
Haiku  ( splendour )

Youth spins out of dream  .  .  .
Children are made as they play,
  .  .  .  In green leaves of grass.



Senryū | Haiku  ( verity )

She walks in beauty  .  .  .
Shines without delusion,
  .  .  .  Certain as starlight.



Haiku  ( choral works )

Sun sings in morning  .  .  .
Music of light starts each day,
  .  .  .  Song birds joining in.



Haiku  ( raiments )

Sun-shower dressed tree,
Rain left bright silver jewels,
  .  .  .  Beads on evergreen.



Haiku  ( showcase )

Wild flowers touring  .  .  .
Fine art pieces we all see,
  .  .  .  Pollen rides with bee.



Haiku  ( changeling )

Echoes from stone walls,
Rain bleeds rocky into being,
  .  .  .  Water drips to wells.



Haiku  ( great blue angel )

With forgotten wings,
Walking on shallow waters,
  .  .  .  So proud stalks heron.



Haiku  ( maddening )

Sun— my nemesis  .  .  .
Even moon is foe with arms,
  .  .  .  Light embraces her.



Senryū | Haiku  ( scrumptious )

Two eyes glazed over  .  .  .
First time naked with my love,
  .  .  .  Icing on our cakes.



Senryū | Haiku  ( rainmakers )

My eyes indifferent  .  .  .
Made hers well as we made love,
  .  .  .  Both crying for more.
Serenus Raymone Jan 2013
SenseLess
Haiku by Serenus

Hear, See, Smell, Taste, Feel

We Have All The Sense We Need

But Still We’re Not Healed


Sleeping Naked
Haiku by Serenus

Sand Man, No Glancing

Just Leave, Let Freedom Enter

My Dreams Are Dancing



******* Salute
Haiku by Serenus

Yes the world hates me

But they don’t even know me

I say **** the world!



Freedom Song
Haiku by Serenus

I have a secret….

I know why the caged bird sings

Wanna know…? Free me ;-)



The Search Is On!
Haiku by Serenus

We’re born with wisdom…

But where does it run off to?

Lost? Go find the truth…


Transparent
Haiku by Serenus

*** With The Lights On

Please Don’t Ever Hide From Me

Love… Don’t Deny Me


Philosophically Speaking
Haiku by Serenus

I have a question

What is the meaning of life?

…Keep your answer short



Misdiagnoses
Haiku by Serenus

I can trust no one…

Paranoid- Schizophrenic?

No, Conscious Cynic


Mirror/Mirror
Haiku by Serenus

I’m In Love With Me

Unapologetically…

That’s How It Should Be
Dorothy A Oct 2013
Trees (haiku #1)

Tree wood with fire
Nature equips survival   
Light, heat, and cooking

-------------------------

Trees (haiku #2)

Leafy beings, green
Wood umbrellas, ancient roots
Growing, reaching sky

-------------------------------

Trees (haiku #3)

Pluck the tender fruit
Motherly branches feed all
Body and soul, blessed

---------------------------------

Trees (haiku #4)

Shelter for our homes
Furniture within our walls
Uses-myriads

--------------------------------

Trees (haiku #5)

Pencils, books, paper
Education thanks to trees
Writing, poetry

-------------------------------

Trees (haiku #6)

Trees crafted, songs sung
Guitars, violins, harps-more
Wood, melodious

---------------------------------

Trees ( haiku #7)

Birds, critters depend
Harmonious relations
Trees magical grace

------------------------------

Trees (haiku #8)

Bountiful beauty
Standing upright or chopped down
More precious than gold
Matsuo Basho Translations



My Personal Favorites

The first soft snow:
leaves of the awed jonquil
bow low
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Come, investigate loneliness!
a solitary leaf
clings to the Kiri tree
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The cheerful-chirping cricket
contends gray autumn's gay,
contemptuous of frost
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Whistle on, twilight whippoorwill,
solemn evangelist
of loneliness
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The sea darkening,
the voices of the wild geese:
my mysterious companions!
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The first chill rain:
poor monkey, you too could use
a woven cape of straw
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

This snowy morning:
cries of the crow I despise
(ah, but so beautiful!)
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

I wish I could wash
this perishing earth
in its shimmering dew
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Dabbed with morning dew
and splashed with mud,
the melon looks wonderfully cool.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch



Basho's Butterflies

The butterfly
perfuming its wings
fans the orchid
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Will we remain parted forever?
Here at your grave:
two flowerlike butterflies!
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Air ballet:
twin butterflies, twice white,
meet, match & mate.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Ballet in the air! ―
two butterflies, twice white,
meet, mate, unite.
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

A spring wind
stirs willow leaves
as a butterfly hovers unsteadily.
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

As autumn deepens,
a butterfly sips
chrysanthemum dew.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch
aki o hete / cho mo nameru ya / kiku no tsuyu

Come, butterfly,
it's late
and we've a long way to go!
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Dusk-gliding swallow,
please spare my small friends
flitting among the flowers!
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch



Basho's Famous Frog Poem

An ancient pond,
the frog leaps:
the silver plop and gurgle of water
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

An ancient pond sleeps...
untroubled by sound or movement...until...
suddenly a frog leaps!
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Explosion!
The frog returns
to its lily pad.
—Michael R. Burch original haiku



Basho's Heron

Lightning
shatters the darkness—
the night heron's shriek
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Lightning―
the night heron's shriek
severs the darkness
― Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

A flash of lightning―
the night heron's shriek
splits the void
― Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch



Basho's Flowers

Let us arrange
these lovely flowers in the bowl
since there's no rice
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Like a heavy fragrance
snowflakes settle:
lilies on rocks
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

High-altitude rose petals
falling
falling
falling:
the melody of a waterfall.
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Revered figure!
I bow low
to the rabbit-eared Iris.
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Cold white azalea—
a lone nun
in her thatched straw hut.
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Glimpsed on this high mountain trail,
delighting my heart—
wild violets
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Disdaining grass,
the firefly nibbles nettles—
this is who I am.
—Takarai Kikaku translation by Michael R. Burch

A simple man,
content to breakfast with the morning glories—
this is who I am.
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch
This is Basho's response to the Takarai Kikaku haiku above
asagao ni / ware wa meshi kû / otoko kana

Ah me,
I waste my meager breakfast
morning glory gazing!
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Morning glories blossom,
reinforcing the old fence gate.
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The morning glories, alas,
also turned out
not to embrace me
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Morning glories bloom,
mending chinks
in the old fence
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Morning glories,
however poorly painted,
still engage us
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch
asagao wa / heta no kaku sae / aware nari

I too
have been accused
of morning glory gazing...
—original haiku by by Michael R. Burch

Curious flower,
watching us approach:
meet Death, our famished donkey.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch



Basho's Poems about Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter

Spring has come:
the nameless hill
lies shrouded in mist
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Spring!
A nameless hill
stands shrouded in mist.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The legs of the cranes
have been shortened
by the summer rains.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

These brown summer grasses?
The only remains
of "invincible" warriors...
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

An empty road
lonelier than abandonment:
this autumn evening
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Autumn darkness
descends
on this road I travel alone
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Taming the rage
of an unrelenting sun—
autumn breeze.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch
aka aka to / hi wa tsurenaku mo / aki no kaze

The sun sets,
relentlessly red,
yet autumn's in the wind.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch
aka aka to / hi wa tsurenaku mo / aki no kaze

As autumn draws near,
so too our hearts
in this small tea room.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch
aki chikaki / kokoro no yoru ya / yo jo han

Late autumn:
my neighbor,
how does he continue?
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Winter in the air:
my neighbor,
how does he fare?
― Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Winter solitude:
a world awash in white,
the sound of the wind
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The year's first day...
thoughts come, and with them, loneliness;
dusk approaches.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch



Basho's Temple Poems

Graven images of long-departed gods,
dry spiritless leaves:
companions of the temple porch
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The temple bells grow silent
but the blossoms provide their incense―
A perfect evening!
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

See: whose surviving sons
visit the ancestral graves
white-bearded, with trembling canes?
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Like a glorious shrine—
on these green, budding leaves,
the sun's intense radiance.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch
ara toto / aoba wakaba no / hi no hikar



Basho's Birds

A raven settles
on a leafless branch:
autumn nightfall
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

A crow has settled
on a naked branch—
autumn nightfall
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

A solitary crow
clings to a leafless branch:
autumn twilight
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

A solitary crow
clings to a leafless branch:
phantom autumn
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

A crow roosts
on a leafless branch:
autumn nightmare
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

NOTE: There has been a debate about the meaning of aki-no kure, which may mean one of the following: autumn evening, autumn dusk, the end of autumn. Or it seems possible that Basho may have intentionally invoked the ideas of both the end of an autumn day and the end of the season as well. In my translations I have tried to create an image of solitary crow clinging to a branch that seems like a harbinger of approaching winter and death. In the first translation I went with the least light possible: autumn twilight. In the second translation, I attempted something more ghostly. Phrases I considered include: spectral autumn, skeletal autumn, autumnal skeleton, phantom autumn, autumn nocturne, autumn nightfall, autumn nightmare, dismal autumn. In the third and fourth translations I focused on the color of the bird and its resemblance to night falling. While literalists will no doubt object, my goal is to create an image and a feeling that convey in English what I take Basho to have been trying to convey in Japanese. Readers will have to decide whether they prefer my translations to the many others that exist, but mine are trying to convey the eeriness of the scene in English.

Except for a woodpecker
tapping at a post,
the house is silent.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Swallow flitting in the dusk,
please spare my small friends
buzzing among the flowers!
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch




Basho's Insects

A bee emerging
from deep within the peony's hairy recesses
flies off heavily, sated
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

That dying cricket,
how he goes on about his life!
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The cicada's cry
contains no hint
of how soon it must die.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Nothing in the cicada's cry
hints that it knows
how soon it must die.
—Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The cicada's cry
contains no hint
of how soon it must die.
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch




Basho's Moon and Stars

Pausing between clouds
the moon rests
in the eyes of its beholders
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The moon: glorious its illumination!
Therefore, we give thanks.
Dark clouds cast their shadows on our necks.
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The surging sea crests around Sado...
and above her?
An ocean of stars.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch
ara umi ya / Sado ni yokotau / Ama-no-gawa



Basho's Companions

Fire levitating ashes:
my companion's shadow
animates the wall...
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Among the graffiti
one illuminated name:
Yours.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Scrawny tomcat!
Are you starving for fish and mice
or pining away for love?
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch



Basho's End of Life and Death Poems

Nothing happened!
Yesterday simply vanished
like the blowfish soup.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch
ara nantomo na ya / kino wa sugite / fukuto-jiru

Fever-felled mid-path
my dreams resurrect, to trek
into a hollow land
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Sick of its autumn migration
my spirit drifts
over wilted fields...
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Sick of this autumn migration
in dreams I drift
over flowerless fields...
―Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

NOTE: While literalists will no doubt object to "flowerless" in the translation above ― along with other word choices in my other translations ― this is my preferred version. I think Basho's meaning still comes through. But "wilted" is probably closer to what he meant. If only we could consult him, to ask whether he preferred strictly literal prose translations of his poems, or more poetic interpretations! My guess is that most poets would prefer for their poems to remain poetry in the second language. In my opinion the differences are minor and astute readers will grok both Basho's meaning and his emotion.

Too ill to travel,
now only my autumn dreams
survey these withering fields
― Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch



New Haiku Translations, Added 10/6/2020

Air ballet:
twin butterflies, twice white,
meet, match & mate
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Denied transformation
into a butterfly,
autumn worsens for the worm
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Dusk-gliding swallow,
please spare my small friends
flitting among the flowers!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Up and at ’em! The sky goes bright!
Let’***** the road again,
Companion Butterfly!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Higher than a skylark,
resting on the breast of heaven:
mountain pass.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Farewell,
my cloud-parting friend!
Wild goose migrating.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

A crow settles
on a leafless branch:
autumn nightfall.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

An exciting struggle
with such a sad ending:
cormorant fishing.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Secretly,
by the light of the moon,
a worm bores into a chestnut.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

This strange flower
investigated by butterflies and birds:
the autumn sky
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Where’s the moon tonight?
Like the temple bell:
lost at sea.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Spring departs;
birds wail;
the pale eyes of fish moisten.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon still appears,
though far from home:
summer vagrant.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Cooling the pitiless sun’s
bright red flames:
autumn wind.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Saying farewell to others
while being told farewell:
departing autumn.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  
Traveling this road alone:
autumn evening.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Thin from its journey
and not yet recovered:
late harvest moon.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Occasional clouds
bless tired eyes with rest
from moon-viewing.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The farmboy
rests from husking rice
to reach for the moon.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon aside,
no one here
has such a lovely face.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon having set,
all that remains
are the four corners of his desk.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon so bright
a wandering monk carries it
lightly on his shoulder.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The Festival of Souls
is obscured
by smoke from the crematory.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The Festival of Souls!
Smoke from the crematory?
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Family reunion:
those with white hair and canes
visiting graves.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

One who is no more
left embroidered clothes
for a summer airing.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

What am I doing,
writing haiku on the threshold of death?
Hush, a bird’s song!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Fallen ill on a final tour,
in dreams I go roving
earth’s flowerless moor.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Striken ill on a senseless tour,
still in dreams I go roving
earth’s withered moor.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Stricken ill on a journey,
in dreams I go wandering
withered moors.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch


New Haiku Translations, Added 10/6/2020

Air ballet:
twin butterflies, twice white,
meet, match & mate
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Denied transformation
into a butterfly,
autumn worsens for the worm
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Dusk-gliding swallow,
please spare my small friends
flitting among the flowers!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Up and at ’em! The sky goes bright!
Let’***** the road again,
Companion Butterfly!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Higher than a skylark,
resting on the breast of heaven:
mountain pass.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Farewell,
my cloud-parting friend!
Wild goose migrating.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

A crow settles
on a leafless branch:
autumn nightfall.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

An exciting struggle
with such a sad ending:
cormorant fishing.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Secretly,
by the light of the moon,
a worm bores into a chestnut.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

This strange flower
investigated by butterflies and birds:
the autumn sky
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Where’s the moon tonight?
Like the temple bell:
lost at sea.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Spring departs;
birds wail;
the pale eyes of fish moisten.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon still appears,
though far from home:
summer vagrant.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Cooling the pitiless sun’s
bright red flames:
autumn wind.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Saying farewell to others
while being told farewell:
departing autumn.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  
Traveling this road alone:
autumn evening.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Thin from its journey
and not yet recovered:
late harvest moon.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Occasional clouds
bless tired eyes with rest
from moon-viewing.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The farmboy
rests from husking rice
to reach for the moon.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon aside,
no one here
has such a lovely face.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon having set,
all that remains
are the four corners of his desk.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon so bright
a wandering monk carries it
lightly on his shoulder.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The Festival of Souls
is obscured
by smoke from the crematory.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The Festival of Souls!
Smoke from the crematory?
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Family reunion:
those with white hair and canes
visiting graves.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

One who is no more
left embroidered clothes
for a summer airing.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

What am I doing,
writing haiku on the threshold of death?
Hush, a bird’s song!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Fallen ill on a final tour,
in dreams I go roving
earth’s flowerless moor.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Striken ill on a senseless tour,
still in dreams I go roving
earth’s withered moor.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Stricken ill on a journey,
in dreams I go wandering
withered moors.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch



Keywords/Tags: Basho, haiku, translation, Japan, Japanese, Oriental, Orient Occident, nature, season, seasons, waka, tanka, life and death, compassion, empathy, mrbhaiku, mrbbasho
Zen Death Haiku & Related Translations of Oriental Poems

Brittle cicada shell,
little did I know
that you were my life!
—Shuho (?-1767), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Like dew glistening
on a lotus leaf,
so too I soon must vanish.
—Shinsui (1720-1769), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Having been summoned,
I say farewell
to my house beneath the moon.
—Takuchi (1767-1846), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Let this body
be dew
in a field of wildflowers.
—Tembo (1740-1823), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Bury me beneath a wine barrel
in a bibber’s cellar:
with a little luck the keg will leak.
—Moriya Senan (?-1838), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Learn to accept the inevitable:
the fall willow
knows when to abandon its leaves.
—Tanehiko (1782-1842), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

I wish only to die
swiftly, with my eyes
fixed on Mount Fuji.
—Rangai (1770-1845), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

A strident cricket
accompanies me
through autumn mountains.
—Shiko (1788-1845), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The cherry orchard’s owner
becomes compost
for his trees.
—Utsu (1813-1863), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Autumn ends,
the frogs find their place
in the earth.
—Shogetsu (1829-1899), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Since time dawned
only the dead have experienced peace;
life is snow burning in the sun.
—Nandai (1786-1817), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Returning
as it came,
this naked worm.
—Shidoken (?-1765), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The night is clear;
the moon shines quietly;
the wind strums the trees like lyres...
but when I’m gone, who the hell will hear?
Farewell!
—Higan Choro aka Zoso Royo (1194-1277), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

I entered the world empty-handed
and now leave it barefoot.
My coming & going?
Two uncomplicated events
that became entangled.
—Kozan Ichikyo (1283-1360), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Brittle autumn leaves
crumble to dust
in the freezing wind.
—Takao (?-1660), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

This frigid season
nothing but the shadow
of my corpse survives.
—Tadatomo (1624-1676), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

My life was mere lunacy
until
the moon shone tonight.
Tokugen (1558-1647), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

“Isn’t it time,”
the young bride asks,
“to light the lantern?”
Ochi Etsujin (1656-1739), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

With the departing year
I have hidden my graying hair
from my parents.
Ochi Etsujin (1656-1739), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

I wish to die
under the spring cherry blossoms
and April’s full moon.
Ochi Etsujin (1656-1739), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Like blocks in the icehouse,
unlikely to last
the year out...
—Sentoku (1661-1726), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Once again
the melon-cool moon
rises above the rice fields.
—Tanko (1665-1735), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

At long last I depart:
above me are rainless skies and a pristine moon
as pure as my heart.
—Senseki (1712-1742), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Cuckoo, lift
me up
to where clouds drift...
Uko (1686-1743), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Sixty-six,
setting sail through tranquil waters,
a breeze-blown lotus.
Usei (1698-1764), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Is it me the raven screeches for
from the spirit world
this frigid morning?
—Shukabo (1717-1775), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

To prepare for my voyage beyond,
let me don
a gown of flowers.
—Setsudo (1715-1776), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

From depths
unfathomably cold:
the oceans roar!
—Kasenjo (d. 1776), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Today Mount Hiei’s sky
with a quick change of clouds
also removes its robes.
Shogo (1731-1798), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

I cup curious ears
among the hydrangeas
hoping to hear the spring cuckoo.
—Senchojo (?-1802), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Life,
is it like
a charcoal sketch, an obscure shadow?
—Toyokuni (?-1825), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Bitter winter winds...
but later, river willow,
remember to open your buds!
—Senryu (1717-1790), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

A fall willow tree:
unlikely to be missed
as much as the cherry blossoms.
—Senryu II (?-1818), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

My path
to Paradise
is bright with flowers.
—Sokin (?-1818), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

A willow branch
unable to reach the water
at the bottom of the vase.
—Shigenobu (?-1832), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

All evening the softest sound―
the cadence of the white camellia petals
falling
―Ranko Takakuwa (1726-1798), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Stillness:
the sound of petals
drifting down softly together ...
―Miura Chora (1729-1780), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A night storm sighs:
"The fate of the flower is to fall" ...
rebuking all who hesitate
―Yukio Mishima, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch; this is said to have been his death poem before committing ritual suicide.

But one poet, at least, cast doubt on the death poem enterprise:

Death poems?
****** delusions―
Death is death!
―Toko, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Other haiku translations …



Masaoka Shiki

The night flies!
My life,
how much more of it remains?
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The autumn wind eludes me;
for me there are no gods,
no Buddhas
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

After killing a spider,
how lonely I felt
in the frigid night.
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Such a small child
banished to become a priest:
frigid Siberia!
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I'm trying to sleep!
Please swat the flies
lightly
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A summer river:
disdaining the bridge,
my horse gallops through water.
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

After the fireworks,
the spectators departed:
how vast and dark the sky!
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I got drunk
then wept in my sleep
dreaming of wild cherry blossoms.
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

We cannot see the moon
and yet the waves still rise
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The first morning of autumn:
the mirror I investigate
reflects my father’s face
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I thought I felt a dewdrop
plop
on me as I lay in bed!
― Masaoka Shiki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As thunder recedes
a lone tree stands illuminated in sunlight:
applauded by cicadas
― Masaoka Shiki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Yosa Buson

Picking autumn plums
my wrinkled hands
once again grow fragrant
― 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

A kite floats
at the same place in the sky
where yesterday it floated ...
― Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The pigeon's behavior
is beyond reproach,
but the mountain cuckoo's?
― Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Plowing,
not a single bird sings
in the mountain's shadow
― Yosa Buson, 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

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 pear tree flowers whitely―
a young woman reads his letter
by moonlight
― Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As the pear tree flowers whitely―
a young woman reads his letter
by moonlight
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The abandoned willow
shines
between rains
― Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Dawn!
The brilliant sun illuminates
sardine heads.
― Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Tender grass
forgetful of its roots
the willow
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

NOTE: I believe this poem can be taken as commentary on ungrateful children. It reminds me of Robert Hayden's "Those Winter Sundays."―MRB

The dew-damp grass
weeps silently
in the setting sun
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Since I'm left here alone,
I'll make friends with the harvest moon.
―Yosa Buson (1716-1783), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Because I'm alone,
I'll make friends with the moon.
―Yosa Buson (1716-1783), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The hood-wearer
in his self-created darkness
fails to see the harvest moon
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Even lonelier than last year:
this autumn evening.
―Yosa Buson (1716-1783), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

My thoughts return to my Mother and Father:
late autumn
―Yosa Buson (1716-1783), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Late autumn:
my thoughts return to my Mother and Father
―Yosa Buson (1716-1783), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The roaring winter wind:
the cataract grates on its rocks.
―Yosa Buson (1716-1783), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The hood-wearer
in his self-created darkness
fails to see the harvest moon
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Our life here on earth:
to what shall we compare it?
Perhaps to a rowboat
departing at daybreak,
leaving no trace of us in its wake?
—Takaha Shugyo or Yosa Buson, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Tender grass
forgetful of its roots
the willow
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

NOTE: I believe this poem can be taken as commentary on ungrateful children. It reminds me of Robert Hayden's "Those Winter Sundays."―MRB




Matsuo Basho

The legs of the cranes
have been shortened
by the summer rains.
―Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A bee emerging
from deep within the peony’s hairy recesses
flies off heavily, sated
―Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A crow has settled
on a naked branch―
autumn nightfall
―Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A solitary crow
clings to a leafless branch:
autumn twilight
―Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A solitary crow
clings to a leafless branch:
phantom autumn
―Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A raven settles
on a leafless branch:
autumn nightfall
―Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A crow roosts
on a leafless branch:
autumn nightmare
―Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

NOTE: There has been a debate about the meaning of aki-no kure, which may mean one of the following: autumn evening, autumn dusk, the end of autumn. Or it seems possible that Basho may have intentionally invoked the ideas of both the end of an autumn day and the end of the season as well. In my translations I have tried to create an image of solitary crow clinging to a branch that seems like a harbinger of approaching winter and death. In the first translation I went with the least light possible: autumn twilight. In the second translation, I attempted something more ghostly. Phrases I considered include: spectral autumn, skeletal autumn, autumnal skeleton, phantom autumn, autumn nocturne, autumn nightfall, autumn nightmare, dismal autumn. In the third and fourth translations I focused on the color of the bird and its resemblance to night falling. While literalists will no doubt object, my goal is to create an image and a feeling that convey in English what I take Basho to have been trying to convey in Japanese. Readers will have to decide whether they prefer my translations to the many others that exist, but mine are trying to convey the eeriness of the scene in English.

Winter solitude:
a world awash in white,
the sound of the wind
―Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Sick of its autumn migration
my spirit drifts
over wilted fields ...
―Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), said to be his death poem, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Sick of this autumn migration
in dreams I drift
over flowerless fields ...
―Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), said to be his death poem, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

NOTE: While literalists will no doubt object to "flowerless" in the translation above ― along with other word choices in my other translations ― this is my preferred version. I think Basho's meaning still comes through. But "wilted" is probably closer to what he meant. If only we could consult him, to ask whether he preferred strictly literal prose translations of his poems, or more poetic interpretations! My guess is that most poets would prefer for their poems to remain poetry in the second language. In my opinion the differences are minor and astute readers will grok both Basho's meaning and his emotion.

Except for a woodpecker
tapping at a post,
the house is silent.
―Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

That dying cricket,
how he goes on about his life!
―Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Like a glorious shrine―
on these green, budding leaves,
the sun’s intense radiance.
―Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Kobayashi Issa


Right at my feet!
When did you arrive here,
snail?
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I toss in my sleep,
so watch out,
cricket!
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In a better world
I'd leave you my rice bowl,
little fly!
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

All's well with the world:
another fly's sharing our rice!
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Cries of the wild geese―
spreading rumors about me?
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Wake up, old tomcat,
then with elaborate yawns and stretchings
prepare to pursue love
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

An enormous frog!
We stare at each other,
both petrified.
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Skinny frog,
hang on ...
Issa to the rescue!
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

While a cicada
sings softly
a single leaf falls ...
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The cry of a pheasant,
as if it just noticed
the mountain.
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As I stumble home at dusk,
heavy with her eggs
a spider blocks me.
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

All the while I'm praying to Buddha
I'm continually killing mosquitoes.
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This windy nest?
Open your hungry mouth in vain,
Issa, orphaned sparrow!
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The ghostly cow comes
mooing mooing mooing
out of the morning mist
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

If anyone comes, child,
don't open the gate
or the melons will flee!
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

It's not at all anxious to bloom,
the plum tree at my gate.
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Our world of dew
is a world of dew indeed;
and yet, and yet ...
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Full moon―
my ramshackle hut
is an open book.
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Oh, brilliant moon
can it be true
that even you
must rush off, late
for some date?
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Oh, brilliant moon
can it be true that even you
must rush off, tardy?
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The snow melts
and the village is flooded with children!
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Don't weep, we are all insects!
Lovers, even the stars themselves,
must eventually part.
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In our world
we walk suspended over hell
admiring flowers.
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Standing beneath cherry blossoms
who can be strangers?
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Petals I amass
with such tenderness
***** me to the quick.
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Standing unsteadily,
I am the scarecrow’s
skinny surrogate
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Autumn wind ...
She always wanted to pluck
the reddest roses
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Issa wrote the haiku above after the death of his daughter Sato with the note: “Sato, girl, 35th day, at the grave.”



Other Poets

A pity to pluck,
A pity to pass ...
Ah, violet!
―Naojo, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch


Silence:
a single chestnut leaf
sinks through clear water ...
―Shohaku, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

New Haiku Translations, Added 10/6/2020

Air ballet:
twin butterflies, twice white,
meet, match & mate
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Denied transformation
into a butterfly,
autumn worsens for the worm
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Dusk-gliding swallow,
please spare my small friends
flitting among the flowers!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Up and at ’em! The sky goes bright!
Let’***** the road again,
Companion Butterfly!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Higher than a skylark,
resting on the breast of heaven:
mountain pass.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Farewell,
my cloud-parting friend!
Wild goose migrating.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

A crow settles
on a leafless branch:
autumn nightfall.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

An exciting struggle
with such a sad ending:
cormorant fishing.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Secretly,
by the light of the moon,
a worm bores into a chestnut.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

This strange flower
investigated by butterflies and birds:
the autumn sky
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Where’s the moon tonight?
Like the temple bell:
lost at sea.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Spring departs;
birds wail;
the pale eyes of fish moisten.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon still appears,
though far from home:
summer vagrant.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Cooling the pitiless sun’s
bright red flames:
autumn wind.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Saying farewell to others
while being told farewell:
departing autumn.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  
Traveling this road alone:
autumn evening.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Thin from its journey
and not yet recovered:
late harvest moon.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Occasional clouds
bless tired eyes with rest
from moon-viewing.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The farmboy
rests from husking rice
to reach for the moon.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon aside,
no one here
has such a lovely face.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon having set,
all that remains
are the four corners of his desk.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon so bright
a wandering monk carries it
lightly on his shoulder.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The Festival of Souls
is obscured
by smoke from the crematory.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The Festival of Souls!
Smoke from the crematory?
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Family reunion:
those with white hair and canes
visiting graves.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

One who is no more
left embroidered clothes
for a summer airing.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

What am I doing,
writing haiku on the threshold of death?
Hush, a bird’s song!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Fallen ill on a final tour,
in dreams I go roving
earth’s flowerless moor.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Striken ill on a senseless tour,
still in dreams I go roving
earth’s withered moor.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Stricken ill on a journey,
in dreams I go wandering
withered moors.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch




Today, catching sight of the mallards
crying over Lake Iware:
Must I too vanish into the clouds?
—Prince Otsu (663-686), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch  

This world—
to what may we compare it?
To autumn fields
lying darkening at dusk
illuminated by lightning flashes.
—Minamoto no Shitago (911-983), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

This world—to what may we liken it?
To autumn fields lit dimly at dusk,
illuminated by lightning flashes.
—Minamoto no Shitago (911-983), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Like a half-exposed rotten log
my life, which never flowered,
ends barren.
—Minamoto Yorimasa (1104-1180), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Overtaken by darkness,
I will lodge under a tree’s branches;
cherry blossoms will cushion me tonight.
—Taira no Tadanori (1144–1184), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Overtaken by darkness,
I will lodge under a cherry tree’s branches;
flowers alone will bower me tonight.
—Taira no Tadanori (1144–1184), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Let me die in spring
beneath the cherry blossoms
while the moon is full.
—Saigyo (1118-1190), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

There is no death, as there is no life.
Are not the skies cloudless
And the rivers clear?
—Taiheiki Toshimoto (-1332), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

All five aspects of my fleeting human form
And the four elements of existence add up to nothing:
I bare my neck to the unsheathed sword
And its blow is but a breath of wind ...
—Suketomo (1290-1332), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Had I not known
I was already dead
I might have mourned
my own passing.
—Ota Dokan (1432-1486), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Both victor and vanquished
are but dewdrops,
but lightning bolts
illuminate the world.
—Ôuchi Yoshitaka (1507-1551), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Even a life of long prosperity is like a single cup of sake;
my life of forty-nine years flashed by like a dream.
Nor do I know what life is, nor death.
All the years combined were but a fleeting dream.
Now I step beyond both Heaven and Hell
To stand alone in the moonlit dawn,
Free from the mists of attachment.
—Uesugi Kenshin (1530-1578), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

My life appeared like dew
and disappears like dew.
All Naniwa was a series of dreams.
—Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-1598), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Felt deeply in my heart:
How beautiful the snow,
Clouds gathering in the west.
—Issho (-1668), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Brittle cicada shell,
little did I know
that you were my life!
—Shoshun (-1672), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch  
Inhale, exhale.
Forward, reverse.
Live, die.
Let arrows fly, meet midway and sever the void in aimless flight:
Thus I return to the Source.
—Gesshu Soko (-1696), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem)by Michael R. Burch

My body?
Pointless
as the tree’s last persimmon.
—Seisa (-1722), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Farewell! I pass
away as all things do:
dew drying on grass.
—Banzan (-1730), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Seventy-one?
How long
can a dewdrop last?
—Kigen (-1736), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

A tempestuous sea ...
Flung from the deck —
this block of ice.
—Choha (-1740), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Empty cicada shell:
we return as we came,
naked.
—Fukaku (-1753), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Since I was born,
I must die,
and so …
—Kisei (1688-1764), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Let us arise and go,
following the path of the clear dew.
—Fojo (-1764), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Depths of the cold,
unfathomable ocean’s roar.
—Kasenjo (-1776), loose translation/interpretation of her jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch  
Things never stand still,
not even for a second:
consider the trees’ colors.
—Seiju (-1776), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Lately the nights
dawn
plum-blossom white.
—Yosa Buson (-1783), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Bitter winter winds!
But later, river willow,
reopen your buds ...
—Senryu (-1790), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Who cares
where aimless clouds are drifting?
—Bufu (-1792), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch  
What does it matter how long I live,
when a tortoise lives many times as long?
—Issa (-1827), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Like a lotus leaf’s evaporating dew,
I vanish.
—Senryu (-1827), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Man’s end:
this mound of albescent bones,
this brief flowering sure to fade ...
—Hamei (-1837), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
When I kick the bucket,
bury me beneath a tavern’s cellar wine barrel;
with a little luck the cask will leak.
—Moriya Sen’an (-1838), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch  

Frost on a balmy day:
all I leave is the water
that washed my brush.
—Tanaka Shutei (1810-1858, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Though moss may overgrow
my useless corpse,
the seeds of patriotism shall never decay.
—Nomura Boto (1806-1867), loose translation/interpretation of her jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

My aging body:
a drop of dew
bulging at the leaf-cliff.
—Kiba (-1868), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Forbearing the night
with its growing brilliance:
the summer moon.
—Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Blow if you must,
autumn wind,
but the flowers have already faded.
—Gansan (-1895), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Time to go ...
They say this journey is a long trek:
this final change of robes.
—Roshu (-1899), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
The moon departs;
frost paralyzes the morning glories.
— Kato (-1908), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Stumble,
tumble,
fall,
slide down the slippery snow *****.
— Getsurei (-1919), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch  



Original Haiku

Celebrate the New Year?
The cat is not impressed,
the dogs shiver.
―Michael R. Burch


Keywords/Tags: Haiku, Zen, death, Japan, Japanese, translation, life, aging, time, pain, sorrow, lament, mrbhaiku
anotherken Dec 2018
haiku. haiku, hi
ku! haiku, haiku, haiku!
haiku, haiku, hi!
i'm bored.
Serenus Raymone Oct 2012
Temperamental Times 1
Haiku by Serenus

All the leaves turn brown
When Summer trips and Falls down
Spring screams, Winter frowns



Temperamental Times 2
Haiku by Serenus

Spring and Summer brawl
The death of them both brings Fall
Winter revives all



Temperamental Times 3
Haiku by Serenus

Oh what a ******
It is the end of Summer
Soon Winter’s slumber



Temperamental Times 4
Haiku by Serenus

Middle of the road
A war between Hot and Cold
Spring and Fall takes hold



Temperamental Times 5
Haiku by Serenus

Heat, Wind, Rain, Earth, Ice
The elements of real change
The origins of life


Temperamental Times 6
Haiku by Serenus

Rain washes the pain
While wind stirs the soul within
And time brings sunshine
Just having a little fun with the seasons...will add to this series, tell me what u think
John Mahoney May 2012
Hey Fragments! a Haiku Contest!!

Spring is everywhere.

We want everyone to contribute to the first, "Quarterly Season Greetings Haiku Contest!"

We will select a panel of judges, who will send me their three favorite haiku submissions. The haiku with the most selections will be declared the "winner" and enjoy a warm feeling of satisfaction.

Please, have those haiku in by the end of May

No limit on the number of submissions. Your haiku should follow the traditional form, but as always, the poem is more important than strict observance of form.

Write Every Day!

John and LP
Lady Bird Apr 2015
In a Skype chat room
Topic : I Like Haiku's
****

Me--- (LadyBird)

Haiku's I do like
for they are so easily
written in three worded lines

Friend--(TonyS)

Writing in Haiku
forces me to think about,
what is important

Me--- (LadyBird)

indeed you are right
writing them is important
and can be therapeutic

would you mind if I
add your words in my Haiku
giving you credit ?

this conversation
we are in is very fun
what are you thinking?

Friend--(TonyS)

I find great solace
in the idea that my words
are that important!

I have no problem
with allowing you to use
my simple verses!

Pining for someone
who I love very dearly
takes most of my time.

Me--- (LadyBird)

awesome Thank you so
much; I really enjoy this
writing is a passion

as you can see I
enjoy the flow of my words
and all that inspire

you are so kind I
will for sure keep an eye on
your wonderful wods

thank you very much
hoping I was no bother
to you my dear friend

I try to keep my
pen with me jotting down all
my thoughts from within

it is so nice to
meet someone that shares the same
passion for writing

please do keep in touch
I will for sure stay in touch
with you my dear friend

Friend--(TonyS)

The pleasure is mine!
To meet a friend is always
an enriching thing.

My name is Tony!
It is always nice to meet
new internet friends!

Me--- (LadyBird)

your name is so cool
it is indeed very nice
to make a new friend

it is so funny
I knew your name was Tony
from your user name

this is the most fun
I have had in three long days
I do enjoy it

Haiku-ing is like
text-ing with out a cell phone
it is fun indeed

Friend--(TonyS)

The pleasure is mine!
To meet a friend is always
an enriching thing.

Me--- (LadyBird)

I find great solace
to know that you share the same
interest as I do

Friend--(TonyS)

Names are only words,
I am nice because I am
who I want to be.

I am Tony Stark,
at least in my heart and mind.
Money? Not so much.

It was a pleasure,
this banter being quite fun,
maybe again soon?

Me--- (LadyBird)

Wow that sounds so cool
Tony Stark is so good looking
very good actor

names are only words
they don't describe who we are
inside is what count

thank you for talking
to me my friend it was fun
indeed again soon

gonna end convo
nice chatting with you my friend
now I say goodbye
this conversation was not planned but we kept the haiku's flowing...
WARNER BAXTER Jul 2015
“While the rules for writing haiku in Japanese are clear,
there is no Clear consensus for any other language.
This means that I am write and everyone else is wrong.”
                                                      ­            *~writer unknown~


Definition of: haiku* (according to Words Of Warner)

A secret and ancient Japanese style of poetry. Invented and
protected by the elite group of ninjas known only as The Basho.
Some say, The Basho dwell in a sacred temple made of gold and
rice paper, hidden deep in the bottom of Mt. Fiji. Others claim
they are in elaborate tents made from the finest silks at the
highest peak of Fiji. But no one knows for sure. Except maybe
James Mc. But he’s not talking.


How to write a haiku -

First, pick a subject. You must choose from the chosen list;
rain, wind, the sun, bugs, Mt. Fiji, Bruce Lee or frogs on a pond.
The only exception is snow, and only used during the winter.

Second, pick a form.  You can write in 1, 2 or 3 lines, sometimes
4. It all depends on those silly syllables, or as the Japanese call
it, morae. Remember, less is more, more or less always but never.
Here’s a tip, the best haiku are written backwards.


Now you are ready to write your own fun little foreign poems
called haiku.*



Note: if you are counting “morae” or words, don’t forget to divide
the number of “morae” by the number of lines, or is it divide
the number of lines by the “morae” and please use the                          on-line    Japanese counter/converter.
Drinking my tea
Without sugar-
    No difference.
                                        
The sparrow *****
    upside down
--ah! my brain & eggs
                                        
Mayan head in a
Pacific driftwood bole
--Someday I'll live in N.Y.
                        
Looking over my shoulder
my behind was covered
with cherry blossoms.
                                        
        Winter Haiku
I didn't know the names
of the flowers--now
my garden is gone.
                                        
I slapped the mosquito
and missed.
What made me do that?
                                        
Reading haiku
I am unhappy,
longing for the Nameless.
                                        
A frog floating
in the drugstore jar:
summer rain on grey pavements.
        (after Shiki)
                                        
On the porch
in my shorts;
auto lights in the rain.
                                        
Another year
has past-the world
is no different.
                                        
The first thing I looked for
in my old garden was
The Cherry Tree.
                                        
My old desk:
the first thing I looked for
in my house.
                                        
My early journal:
the first thing I found
in my old desk.
                                        
My mother's ghost:
the first thing I found
in the living room.
                                        
I quit shaving
but the eyes that glanced at me
remained in the mirror.
                                        
The madman
emerges from the movies:
the street at lunchtime.
                                        
Cities of boys
are in their graves,
and in this town...
                                        
Lying on my side
in the void:
the breath in my nose.
                                        
On the fifteenth floor
the dog chews a bone-
Screech of taxicabs.
                                        
A hardon in New York,
a boy
in San Fransisco.
                                        
The moon over the roof,
worms in the garden.
I rent this house.

[Haiku composed in the backyard cottage at 1624
Milvia Street, Berkeley 1955, while reading R.H.
Blyth's 4 volumes, "Haiku."]

HAIKU 1
All that comes to net
are fish; either golden or silver color;
Fishermen are rich at heart!

_________________________________

HAIKU 2
Action speaks louder than words;
Be practical; stop wasting your precious time
Life is full of hazards!
___________
HAIKU 3
You are naturally beautiful; cheerful,
a sight for my eyes to hold ;
Will you allow kissing!
___________
HAIKU 4
While on visit to temples,
I imagine you as my own Goddess:
I become your only follower!
___________
HAIKU 5
Few ***** drinks before dinner;
But sometimes, I overdo it at weekends!
A Hangover next day morning.
___________

*
BY
Williamsji­ Maveli
williamsji@yahoo.com

From SEASHELLS, a collection of HAIKU Poems by WILLIAMSJI MAVELI
May Scoff Jan 5
Haiku, haiku, *****
Haiku, *****, haiku, haiku
Haiku, *****, haiku
sunprincess Mar 2017
He loves me everyday
woo! hoo!...and i love him, too
what more can I say!
xoxo
.how  dignified it is, to simply take a walk at night...

)            that's all i wanted to disclose...
what comes now,
is all the unnecessary details
that would constitute a prose piece...
albeit in cascade - for the ease
of the eyes bunddled up in a
claustrophobia of a paragraph:

i know: the mere word 'dignified'
seems rather obnoxious...
but... how dignified it is,
to take a walk at night...
esp. when one is recycling leftover
bottles of whiskey, whiskey,
beer... whiskey...

after reading Knausgård vol. 1 -
with his father strapped to the house
with his mother drinking himself
to death...
perhaps i'm also akin...

but... there's "****" to do in between...
good god! mein gott!
greta thunberg! run! i said run idiot!
run to the recycling center with
those glass bottles!
success though: cutting the ingestion
by over a half...

current bank balance?
nearing 2 thousand pounds...
and there's the garbage to sort between
the recyclable and the non-recyclable...
there's the tending to keeping
the house clean...

there's a remnant spark about giving
a toss about some sporting event...
there's cooking a dinner...
but... it seems i miss the man who would
find about an hour and a half
to walk the streets at night...

somehow i missed it -
but... i imagine the sight of a week's worth
of empty bottles in the wardrobe...
i've had enough and...
i call the dog that's the dignity to take
a walk at night...
to never overthink anything except
thinking - that i can leave in the basket
of nothing...

sometimes the ego-automaton jumps
in and makes my walking meditation
fuzzy... that's where i find this mythological
ego of psychology -
ego the anti-narrator...

which implies: not myself... reflexive...
not my, self... the reflective circumstance...

and there's no familiar presence
of an mp3 player (broken, ****** lasted
for 3 years, good enough lifespan)
and no headphones...

perhaps i was anti-radio some time ago...
i've amassed a decent personal library
of audio... but now i rarely use it
having made a discovery of the gramaphone
and vinyls...
and being the late 20th century colt...
i should still be ripping c.d.s onto
mp3... but...
i just wanted to check out what i was
missing...
perhaps... the crazed sound of passing
cars, will indeed, never replace
the cobblestones and hooves...
but... there's a right to heave a sigh...
for no apparent reason other than:
i've met myself this very first time
having aged...

this is not a time for west coast
1990s pop punk or punk rock or whatever
they called it... when you would
either run in gallop jumping
in a jonathan edwards style...
or looking down and walking into
a lamp-post... this is no time to be
refreshing the cinema of youth...
with the offspring's ignition...

not when you're walking: and trying not to think...

also of today: my jewish newly converted
to islam neighbour came round
asking about my mother's slight bout
of depression concerning...
her recent hip-replacement...
and what's still in the post...
the aesthetic surgery...
after all: what surgery, proper...
is also a plastic surgery - an aesthetic...
obviously the muscles and the bones
are intact... but there is always a chance
that waste tissue will be removed...
fat... etc. and it hasn't even been 2 weeks
since the surgery...
and she said: your mum should look
at my surgery scars...
i lifted up my t-shirt and turned
to show her my back... namely my
right shoulder-blade...

and i said to her: you know why i didn't
get aesthetic surgery on this mark
of cain? that's the same reason why i don't
have tattoos...
nothing against tattoos...
i have the only tattoo i need:
a mark of cain and some historical tattoos...
dates... that i keep close to me
from my time in the pedagogy meat-mincer
effort... how it began with the romans: per se...
later began with hastings 1066...
but it would never begin with:
the first battle of Tannenberg (1410)...
so you don't know how i think my mother
is exaggerating?
it's a good thing she's my mother...
she can have her ******* pass...
i'd give her the same ******* pass if...
we were married for 35 years and...
she was a woman i could grow with...
otherwise? the ******* pass i reserve for
children...

i subsequently signed her will...
yes... she came round looking for a second
witness for her will being made official...
or ****** bureucratic paper...
but nonetheless official...
i didn't mention the fact that...
the two witnesses that have signed the paper:
need to be present simultaneously...
i asked her... what's my occupation?
oh... right... i'm a scribbler...
a chicken-scratcher... writer of no
guild... a writ pusher...  

but all i wanted to write was...
i'm not a fan of the haiku...
esp. the western haiku... or a maxim:
i abhor maxims...
but if you put Kant into the juicer
and you spit out the congested
categorical imperative...
and it doesn't sound like the original, should:

act only according to that maxim whereby you can,
at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.

id est:

act only according to that haiku whereby you can...
at some distant point of time,
convene for it be a shared experience
in the ratio of a 1:2 point of seperation...
2:4 4:8 8:16...
but that's not really a categorical imperative
to begin with... what sort of "idiot" would strive
for a maxim to become a universal law...
universal laws are maxim spin-offs...
or i'm just blah-blahing too much...
waiting dear god: for the razor's edge (and drowning)...
or a punchline on stage in front of a dumb / mute
audience...

o.k. 5-7-5...
syllables... given the japanese don't use
letter but have syllables instead...
again: i'm not a fan...
if it took my long enough...
i'd find my 5 syllables and my 7 and again
my 5 syllables...
but i am a westerner...
i deal with letters... i don't deal with syllables...
unless they are prefixes akin to trans-...
meta-... anti-... post-...
the western adoption of the haiku implies
the boredom achieved from too many
sonnets... is the haiku the new sonnet?

i'll try... but i'll need to open a dictionary
for this effort...

water knee deep truce (5)
to the drowning man imploring (8)
signature the soul with this last breath (9)

or however many... it's just a passing thought:
i don't know how it would be worthwhile
to think inside a box... standing outside it
to begin with...
a haiku and no punctuation:
if you're going to be puritanical about it...
no punctuation?!
no diacritical markers?!

the Kant reference is just to ease up on:
who the hell would live by a maxim,
a stand-alone maxim at that...
one maxim to make it into the realm
of gravity...

there's the plethora of aphorisms that
are observations that... well...
let's just say it's no an imitation game... (

since how the hell does:
how dignified it is, to simply take a walk at night...
all of the above?
darwinism in images:

stopped climbing trees...
stopped being furry...
stopped dreaming about snakes...
stopped fearing snakes...
stopped wrestling with tigers...
stopped king kong versus tiger gorgon...
jumped into a whale...
came out sonar Jonah with hell'io Job
to boot...
stopped climbing trees...
took toward the complexity
of climbing rocks...
esp. boulders... later desired
the great big button of a cookie i.e.;
desired the moon...
brewed some moonshine...
build the mirror corridor
at Versailles...
dug up lazy dinosaur bones of
that thick glutton splodge and...
retired the horse... drove a car...
etc. etc.: came across
the happy birthday of death by
gregory corso and said:
that be one of the best recitations
of poetry i have ever heard...
in youth and Paris and Paris was
the signature...

all of this but there's still...
how dignified it is, to simply take a walk at night...
more to the point...
how dignified it is, to walk at one's own
leisure...
a bottle of england's finest ale...
theakston's the old peculier in one hand...
a marlboro cigarette in the other...
how dignified it is...
to walk: but to also walk... at one's leisure...
not running a marathon...
not... running the concrete or the tarmac
dry with new year's even resolutions
to loße mass... (yes... since weight involves
gravity blah blah)...

this auto-correct science factoid rubric
around each corner...
i can only admit that walking...
is a sport for gentlemen...
cognitive ping pong ensues...
a solo game... perhaps...
it's not a matter of sport...
or attempting gentlemanly stature...
which could be the case...
say... if i were 75... years old...
but...

that's all fine and dandy... the psychology
behind darwinism 2.0
not even copernicus made it that far
with his "revolutionary discovery"...
or not that Ptolemy was still...
index... bibliography and historical
constipation when attempting to be
democratic and historical...
in a single poo'em... with no rhyme...
and certainly no overt-technique biases
to: "identify with"...

it's still an image burning in my head...
the gorilla that would / could wrestle
a lion to sleep with a ripped-off jaw...
the thumb-king of the jungle
and the savannah...
and of course the donning of the conquered's
mane...

but beside all the discoveries in the past
and the present...
i will find myself smirking...
laughing to myself...
that someone will find this too...
i can't stress it enough:

when i see people driving their cars...
some fast, some slow...
walking onto a bus is not a leisure activity...
it's not even a dignity...
it's a time-warp... a short-cut...
besides the point...

even this brain sometimes allow for
the dignity of walking to be eclipsed...
what its sometimes-odd bursts of egomania /
megalomania or all those other:
traits of the rational man...

perhaps this is the first day i've truly
appreciated the sensibility of walking -
much more in that: it became a dignity...
like the time i found the antithesis of narcissus
in my shadow...
once upon a nightly promenade
in the english outer-suburban labyrinth...
20 minutes walk from the fields,
grazing horses... foxes, badgers and...
no wordsworthian naturalism... i.e. the idyll...

superior intelligence, the fork,
the knife, the screwdriver the *****...
the hammer and the nail...
the scythe, the sickle and the lollipop...
the telephone the radio the television
the soap opera addicts...
the bedsheets the bed the cushion
the shampoo and soap...
all of it... but none of it at the same time...
with what comes a priori and with
what comes a posteriori...
the dignity of walking...
perhaps the only state of grace...

perhaps less "abilism" and more - upon reflection...
a mother strapped to a bed
after a hip-replacement surgery?
i.e. in a personal, very personal,
non-Teheran specific vicinity?!

perhaps the most basic meditation is required...
nothing grandiose...
nothing temporal or non-temporal...
something basic...
i.e. spatial... a meditation on cross the street
like a mindful hedgehog that you are...
and not panic driven like a mother goose
with her nursery...

walk long enough and you can even
experience bouts of spontaneous amnesia...
which is not related to actual memories
and their totality...
more in the immediacy: amnesia ex cogitans...
amnesia out of thinking...
10 minutes apart and you can almost
forget what you were thinking of...
10 minutes more pass... the labyrinth spits
you out and you recover from that temp.
bout of crucible amnesia: to forget what you
were thinking about...
which is a variant to that other escapism
of day-dreaming...
since you're walking... and no day-dreamer
is synonym of the thinker who also walks...

this variant of escapism comes of its own
accord... perhaps it's an ontological built-in-mechanism
that when you couple walking with thinking...
you'll most certainly experience these
bouts of "amnesia"... which of course doesn't
include walking in circles... but in a labyrinth
of your unconscious motives...
that the body is dissociated from a conscious will...

since... what sort of thinking exists
on a treadmill... or during running... to begin with?

how  dignified it is, to simply take a walk at night...
dignified in that: one is not so much able
to come across one's best ideas there...
but that one can simply come across... cogitans per se
-

yes... i.e.: to be free from cogito ergo sum...
to come across the res cogitans medium...
only while walking...
and not like Descartes imagining oneself
sitting at a desk of doubt...

i find no better alternative: walking opens up...
thinking-in-itself... sometimes that's merely translated
as: being... it does not specify / reveal itself
as a: necessity of narration...
thinking is not narration is not thinking...
if you have experienced the ugly spontaneity of
the ego... in that vein of psychology's
three-tier meta-brain dissection of the mind:
subsequently the soul... blah blah...

now i see... this has become a sit-down meditation...
it has to end...
now that the arms have been employed for
a period longer, than the legs were employed
for, prior.
The perception of
beauty is all opinion.
so nothing is not...
does this make sense?????
ConnectHook Apr 2017
Let me ask you this:
Got a yen for bad Haiku?
Well then... stick around.

How do I love thee?
Let me count the syllables
In my bad Haiku

Take the easy way:
call it poetry. End it
like a samurai

Haiku is a crone
dressed in ragged kimono
bolting down her rice

The useless Haiku:
silly Japanese verse form.
Formula for dull.

Haiku, like Manga,
destroys the attention span
making people dumb

Some still remember
propagandist Tokyo Rose.
(Write one about her !)
God I can't stand Haiku....
Nat Lipstadt Jul 2013
4 day weekend Yay!  
Black topsoil fertile? Yes!
Poetry planting...


Did I get the 5-7-5 right? Only have one hand and can't take my shoes off at work!
Mateuš Conrad Oct 2016
for them to write a haiku,
for us is to write A, or B, or C -
if our form of encoding
sound wasn't  as it already is:
we wouldn't have chemistry -
say Na and sodium,
               Rd and radon;
they write haiku like
we write A B or C, to them haiku is
our version of the alphabet,
the succinct -
         hard to orientate
units of encoding
as complete meaning /
majestic -
                    we just find
it hard to spell /
put the puzzle back together,
the puzzle is still
a  b  c  d  e  f  g  h  i  j  k  l  m  n  o  p
            ­         q  r  s  t  u  v  w  (x  y  z)
      v.i.p reservation
for mathematics (in brackets):
now... the mystery of life,
primarily? put that puzzle back
together. is it a puzzle in
the first place? how should i know?!
       it's all fair game:
they write a haiku we write an A,
   they write another haiku,
we write a B, the ****** puzzle
is there for the taking:
   all you have to do is take some
play-dough on your little camping
adventure and come back with something
remotely needing boxes and shelves
and libraries, and university lecturers;
perhaps a few cannibals to boot too.
C Benitez Sep 2010
Haiku 1

bamboo~
a fragile woman
a lifetime of inner strength


Haiku 2

a ballet dancer
mesmerized with the wind’s tune
the seasons succumbed


Haiku 3

bamboo shoots stand tall
among  dry leaves and mushrooms
a succulent wood
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
Seán Mac Falls Aug 2012
I am syllables,
Proper numbers in wonder,
Am I haiku now?
Claire Waters Apr 2012
a haiku I: carbonated water rocks

slightly flavorful
carbonated beverage
one liter bottle

a haiku II: ode to seltzer

in massachusetts
seltzer costs eighty-nine cents
one liter bottles?

a haiku III: read and recycle and stuff

NY-MA-ME-CT-VT
five cent deposit (960 mL)
**** haiku format…
you liars that isn’t a ******* liter that is less than a liter **** america for not adapting to the metric system.
Steve Aug 2018
Each of these three haiku’s is also a puzzle and the answer to each of them is Beatle related. A fan site I follow publishes one of these everyday and these are three I contributed to the site

Haiku 1
John, a group of four
Writers all who made their mark
Look one missing street.


Haiku 2
Well preserved cured leg
Went down with the Titanic
Hit by the ice lump.


Haiku 3
Winding long and true
The old abbot rules the roost
Eleventh in line.
A bit of fun
sheila May 2015
i once had a crush
he was a fine young man but
he just crushed my heart
now i hate him lol
Alice Morris Feb 2015
The magical sound,
of the cascading water,
natural beauty,
vircapio gale Oct 2012
Haiku:

hiking new forests
mountain homes of moss and dew
more roots deepen


berries ripe
dot taiga heath--
alien planet


yellow blazing sun
'packin'rocks'
from maine to georgia


pain born hero
in oven boots of blood and pus--
summit breeze


barefoot hiker
calls herself 'FearNot'--
toes enjoy same mud


snake rises up
fangs gleam at water lair
cold spring quenches all


***** at each view--
water comes in and goes out
like a filter


at waterfalls, swans
alighting air-- noble poise
on the way to sea


gunas intertwine
my sweet mountain hunger paths
bitter taste of bark


sour grass
garnish of an earthen tract
saliva honeyed


strands of spider flight --
i too catch myself making
web after web


"nature loves to hide"
hidden hermit roars of all
strife and fire flux


spider bite at dusk
afterswing of scenting food
shoo the meal away


change becomes the same--
people streams talking pixels
aging static web

symbols set in light
speed of optic living nodes;
clicking finger fibers


websites spin and stick
plastic tropical alphabets
ant waves clean the keys


fueling in process,
living fossils already
drilling seas--on earth


give or take six months,
happy birthday!
two seasons gone


Haibun:*

A mountain poet has come to the city, blisters pushing up his toenails. His smile spans 15 blocks of concrete and rebar. Strangers coo to see his sunshine gait but cough at his aroma. Hospitality is found after all, in parks and in the drunken streams from clubs gregarious for midnight novelties.

poet's apology--
not exactly 'myself' to
license gratitude
when time gifts symbols distance--
terror war towers still fall

Emergencies of all sorts force their way into my mind, as I live, sometimes as I write. Ambiguities serve as fulcrum nooks for meanings incompossible to hide, not being ready to share what can't be shared, obscurity offers the ineffable reprieve to be spoken nonetheless.

peering in the word--
sound signs meta symbol
witty sea of *****

property stings
abstract fights to earth
mixing labor

i found a haiku
on my coworker's desk--
where is the frog pond?

dad drinks alone--
photo recalls sunlit leaf
and beer can stare

opining fire false
freezing hearts with argument--
cold spring, winters warm

It is with the love of a child that I write, wincing harder into that self-given 'Indian-Burn' of cathartic fetish and psychological indulge. Where is maturity, and what use is it when faced with endless ground-zeros? Still open to answers, still unwilling to speak plainly or straight about the blanket crookedness and blissful meander that colors life most vividly. I imagine dacrygelosis understood.

thawing pond
creaks in headstand calm--
autumn air released

night's insight pierce
heralds migraine's ease--
gong of moon or sun

on dead wood, against
live trees, hours of *** by
mycelia blooms--
fragrant rot and sweat collide
skin spotted with forest sun

love signs everywhere--
two trunks spiraled
in a yellow wood

vocal awe resung
this is love! this is love!
deep summer fruit

rub of bark                      
vast forest sways across skin
                        naked expanse
Charlie Apr 2015
A Haiku, beauty.
Embracing its gracefulness.
The picture of poise.
Made a major edit, turned out the original wasn't a haiku which I only just noticed~~~Oops.
Bo Burnham Mar 2015
Old people's skin sags
Because it is being pulled
To the Underworld.
Pagan Paul Aug 2017
<>

Major Haiku (7-9-7)

The dance of lovers in heat
mysterious communication
Pandora's box of feelings
<>

Standard Haiku (5-7-5)

Green leaves on the tree
pretty in the summer sun
light accenting hues
<>

Minor Haiku (3-5-3)

Time is here
fleeting passing gone
temporal
<>

Mini Haiku (1-3-1)

Bird
on the wing
fly
<>



© Pagan Paul (2016/2017)
.
sheila Nov 2014
i am an ice cream.
the way you look at me is
just so hot, i melt.
4 Haiku for the spirit

To fly far away
Let clouds absorb unhappiness
Tears a summer lake

Haiku
Melancholy
Unburden my heart of grief
Leave as morning fog

Haiku
As an eagle soar
Weightless for a second
As an oak leaf falls

Haiku
The burden of mist
Obscuring dawn's brilliance
Silent is the house
Cné Apr 2017
eyes of ocean blue
grayed by darken skies cry rain
drown in flooding waves
a storm of sad thoughts

— The End —