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Jamie L Cantore Jan 2017
Words Studied For This Writing:
------------------------------------
English: Zoup, please.
What it sounds like in German: Die Zoup bitte "Or" The Zoup? Bitter.
English: Uh, the night tea is great!
Pronounced in German sounds like: Eww. Is nachte. It's Gros "Or" Eww! Is nasty! It's gross!
English: Here.
Pronounced in German: Here.
English: Ha! I see an icky Sir's downin' Zoup.
German: Huh? - Ick- Taste. -Sie - An Icky herran down en Zoup
English:Yes.
German: Ja "Or" yeah
English: Skinny rides here. Skinny? Hmm.. horseback.
German: Dunne fahrten hier, Dunne. Hmm?  Holtzit back! Or.. Do not **** in here; do not! Hmm?  Holds it back!
English: Oh! I beg!
German: Oh! Ich bitte "Or" Oh! It's better!
English: Come back, Father.....
German: Comeback, Vatter "Or" Come back, Fatter
English: Nexxinline
German: Next in line.


Let's make a story with this .

First Act

-Enter Customer 2 in an American diner. She orders a
unique zebra-flavored soup called Zoup, created on American soil, but it's claimed to have had its origins in a restaurant located in Worms, Germany; as per usual proud fashion.

Customer 2 to Rude Waitress: "Zoup, please."

She sipped the complimentary drink placed before her as she awaited her order. Iced tea, ***** glass. It was reportedly their best tea, brewed by the Barista on the night-shift, whom did only speak in broken English and Spanish. Therefore, when the customer enjoyed her tea, she was glad it was nightfall and privy to the better drink and expressed her approval.

Customer 2 to Night-Shift Barista in simplified language:

"Uh, the night tea is great!"

The Barista nods politely.

Rude Waitress, apparently jealous because she makes the Day-shift tea, is curt to Customer 2:


"Here." she growled, slamming the Zoup on the table.

Things get quiet.

Just then, Customer 2 recognizes a crusty man who claims to have been knighted in a former life before joining a Native American tribe. She addresses him sardonically.

Customer 2 to Crusty Man

:
"Ha!" " I see an icky Sir's downin' Zoup!"

Crusty Man responds, unmoved:

"Yes."

Customer 2 cautioned him that he was being tracked by the infamous international assassin, Skinny.

Customer 2 to Crusty Man in mock Native American tongue:


"Skinny rides here ...

Crusty Man: "Skinny?"


Customer 2 (deepening voice)

"Mmm, horseback."

She makes gestures with her hands of a man riding a horse.
And follows it up with mimicking a successful hit on Crusty Mans life, complete with tongue hanging out of mouth.

The rude waitress then pleads to a deceased priest aloud to return to save them whilst making holy gestures frantically.

Rude Waitress to a deceased Holy Man:

"Oh!" "I beg." "Come back, Father...
Father Nexxinline?"

End First Act


This Final Act was created using the same exact words used in the English language, those in  quotations that is, as were in the First Act: but then translating them into German, the conversation then became a bit more humorous. The Background was filled in to fit the context of the meaning of the words sonic qualities, as certain German words sound similar to English words, though they generally have different meanings. The German word sounds brought a whole new meaning to the English words spoken, and with this contrast I finished the Final Act. Since most do not know how to pronounce certain words and dialects of German language, I took the sounds created within the language and converted them to English words of phonetic similarity. These words were not translated back to English, as that would put the conversation exactly where it began -I rather made them easier to perceive.

Background Final Act/. Skinny from First Act is now in a diner in Worms, Germany, (pronounced like Vorms with  a V.)

We begin with Skinny's response to being asked how is the Zoup by the German Waiter.

Skinny dryly to German Waiter: "The Zoup?" "Bitter."

He takes another spoonful into his mouth.

Skinny: "Ewww!"  "Is nasty!" "It's gross!"

Skinny to German Waiter in disgust: "Here!"

And he pushes the bowl of Zoup into the waiters face.


German Waiter to Skinny expressing consternation

: "Huh?"

Skinny commands him: "Taste!"

The waiter does so reluctantly and winces in clear disgust.

Skinny:

"See?" " Icky heron down in Zoup!"

German Waiter to Skinny knowing German Zoup  is flavored with heron, not zebra, and failing to see the point retorts

: "Yeah?"

Skinny then crude and vengeful 'expresses' a good one from his basest dwelling silently; but deadly with a grin. It was a most foul smell.

The waiter is exasperated with this crudeness and makes commands of his own.

German Waiter to Skinny

:
"Do not **** in here!" 'Do not!"" Hmm?"  "Holds it back!"

The odor horrid reached culmination with another waft of steam from Skinny and  resulted in the excommunication of Skinny.
Skinny yet found himself vindicated and agreed to leave the establishment as was demanded. As he exits in self satisfaction, our waiter tells him not to forget his Zoup and the prideful waiter Stolz mocks him in jest by spooning a mouthful into his jabbering jowls, as he does, he turns pale and ill and silenced, reassuring Skinny he had a reason to be disappointed.

The German Waiter refusing to admit defeat tells him:


"Oh, it's better!" Referring to his bias to the Zoup from Worms, which should be renamed Houp, but the words don't translate that way.

THEN Stolz realized his best customer, Skinny's hefty brother, Fatter, was running out the door in an attempt to escape the stench which lingered and but grew in force, and the waiter pleaded with him to return.

German Waiter to Skinny's brother:

"Come back, Fatter!" but Fatter kept running and giggling sophomorically.

The German Waiter to a diner full of people gasping for fresh air and no desire for Zoup at this moment said in defeatist sheepishness, gulping before asking wishfully... pouting, whispering:


"Next in line?"
Jade M Matelski Nov 2013
i want to see my bones
and i want you to feel them
please, please. tell me i’m skinny,
i need you; i need you asking about the weight i’m losing
that i need to be losing
skinny and you’ll love me
you’ll love me if i’m skinny
please, wait and i’ll be skinny
i’m trying. i’m trying so hard.

***** covered hands
blood dripping from my nose
shaking
please, can’t you see that i’m trying?
don’t give up. not yet.
please, don’t give up on me yet.
i promise i’ll be thinner than her
thinner than everyone
please, wait. wait for me. i promise i’ll be skinny.
i promise.

i’m too fat for love
and i know what you think about me
because i think the same! i can see the rolls
i can feel the weight
i promise i’ll be skinny.
give me time. give me time.
all i need is time.
emaciated.
i want my bones to show.
i want to be used as a skeleton in a science class
i want everyone to see it
i want to show how skinny i can get
i promise i’ll be skinny
please, dont judge me for my extra pounds
they’ll be gone soon
i promise they’ll be gone soon

can’t you see i want this?
i’ve never wanted anything more
my hands are *****
blood, *****, sweat, tears.
my stomach is empty
always.
can’t you smell my breath?
my clothes?
my hair?
the scent of ***** lingers
i’m ruining my insides
so you can see my bones
please, see me.
please, can’t you see me?
you won’t look because of the fat
and i’m sorry for the sight you have to see
i promise you’ll soon be able to rub
your bones against my bones

i need my bones to show.
i need them to cut skin.
i need my bones to show.
Andrew Parker Aug 2014
Skinny *** Poem
(8/11/2014)

Every kid wants to be something when they grow up.
They picture perfect future families with puppies and kittens,
but for me something was missing.
I just wanted to be happy.
Maybe my vision wasn't so great though,
because 'happy' looked like it had 6 letters to me, and spelled 'skinny.'

People used to throw bricks at my glass house.
Shouting that I’d be skinny enough to slip through cracks.
Cracks of life,
cracks of struggle and strife,
cracks of everything not nice.
They'd tease me and say I looked like I smoked crack,
when I'd lose weight,
I'd gain it all back,
in the form of their extra hate.

But I didn't feel skinny on the inside.
Although I had skinny bones and skinny skin,
brittle enough to break within.
Under the pain of that pang
as their bricks shattered my glass house.

Tell me, have you ever been afraid of words?
Thoughts can be terrifying but once turned to spoken word,
that in turn will turn to shouted word,
that in turn will turn to incoherent nonsense.
Which starts a sensation of ear drums ripping,
being sawed in half immediately,
no time spent ticking,
by shrill shrieks and violent vocalizations.

As if a sound wave could burst your body parts faster,
no, more efficiently than a barrage of fists.
Because it will know exactly where to strike,
in fact, it will sneak through your solid surface,
into every single crevice,
knowing where the best place to hurt is.

All it takes is a whisper strategically said in your ear,
'skinny.' 'skinny.'  'skinny.'
I could feel it float away from me,
carried off by the wind.
As if a sound wave could carry an army of statements,
piled up and armed with bayonets of every decibel level,
ready and willing to siege each individual joint crack and muscle ache,
being pushed under imposed stiffness.
It will ooze out your pores, as if your fat face was an instrument amplifier.

They thrived on the thrill listening to my shrill shriek.
As I stepped on shards from my shattered glass house,
And stared into the million fractures,
each a broken reflection of the million me’s I could be.
But none of them skinny... enough,
skinny for everybody else,
but never for me.

I’d envision each day, blood drops staining my glass carpet.
Each ounce of that luscious red,
each day left my body filled with an ounce less of dread.
An ounce less to fit into a size small shirt,
and 30 inch waist Skinny jean.
My body became my own private ****** machine.

Every kid wants to be something when they grow up.
I just wanted to be happy, I mean skinny.
Skinny like a Starbucks drink with zero sugar, zero guilt and full of almond-milk joy.

Skinny like a microwaved meal, perfectly portioned and easy to count.

Skinny like  two diet cokes and a cigarette for lunch.

Skinny like Adderall, a high dose for higher grades.

Skinny like late nights and random *** with strangers.

Skinny like virginity.

Skinny like binge-purge-repeat.

Skinny like perfection, like mints and sadness and tight little swimsuits.

Skinny like a disorder.

Skinny like control out of control.

Skinny like a diagnosis.

Skinny like suffering.

Skinny like her.
Rj Oct 2014
Skinny feels
Not like people think,
Bony, awkward, too lean
Bones protruding,
No more curves
Thin limbs, skinny hurts
Eat like a bottomless pit
Look in a mirror
Feel like ****
Skinny means no *****
No ****, no hips
Skinny isn't muscular
It's the opposite if ripped
It's slouching in the hall
Pointy elbows and knees
Loose pants, shirts
No matter how much you eat
Skinny means
Feeling like a stick
Skinny can make anyone
Look small and sick
Skinny gives the impression
Of weak, shaky frames
Skinny makes me regret
The middle school nicknames
Skinny shouldn't be a goal
Thank God
If you look full and whole
Making feel as good as dirt
Everyone out there,
I promise. *skinny hurts
Riot May 2015
she’s skinny
*
her waist is the size of the outside of her mirror

her stomach is empty

when she breaths in 
she sorta stays there

but she’s skinny

she’s skinny
she cuts 
more than she eats
but she’s skinny

she’s skinny
she pretends her birthday makeup will change

anything

but she’s skinny

she’s skinny

she can barley breathe**

*but she’s skinny
Raj Arumugam Sep 2014
The Elders Warn Skinny Vinny
Skinny Viiny, eat your meals -
no spitting and no sputtering;
just chew and swallow
everything mom feeds you
Think of the millions in Third World Countries
who daily and nightly can't afford food

Skinny Vinny, eat your food
or when you're asleep alone at night
the cockroaches will gather in your room
and they will nibble and nibble
and nibble
at your arms and your legs
and they will nibble and nibble
all night and all moonlight
and they will nibble away
all your fingers and toes
So if you don't want that to happen,
Skinny Vinny, eat all your meals
all that mom feeds you


But Skinny Vinny Ignores Her Elders
Now, one night, Skinny Vinny saw
that all the cockroaches
did come  (only in her dream, though)
and in that dream the cockroaches ate away
exactly as her parents had prophesied -
nibble, nibble, nibble, nibble
at her fingers and at her toes  -
and Skinny Vinny was exactly bereft
of all her yummy fingers
and all her smelly toes



Skinny Vinny Learns Her Lesson
And by this dream
Skinny Vinny had the **** beaten out of her
so much by fear
that from then on she ate all; she ate all at hand
she ate all she was fed and all at the table
and she demanded more by platefuls and bucketfuls
and she ate by trolley-fulls and delivery-truck-fulls
and her parents had to bring in
containers shipped in from China daily
all by Double Happiness exclusive deals

And Skinny Vinny ate and ate
and no food went to waste;
and her parents spent all their inherited fortunes
and they worked and worked day and night
even at the time when cockroaches fly
so they could feed Skinny Vinny
who ate all far and nigh -
and when last I checked the Daily Mule
( whose publication motto is:
We swear to carry nothing but unprocessed truth)
the parents are still working in the mines
in order to feed Skinny Vinny
who once would eat nothing



All parents learn your lesson*
And so be warned all ye parents
that threaten harm to your children
because they will not eat -
the very threats will be laid on your heads
and you will be digging in coal mines
to feed your kids
sadgirl Jul 2017
am i too much for you?
is it that fact i have a loose *****, or two, or three
did i really need to see you through for every day you
touched me, looked me in the eye, said the fire will never die
but it did

and that hoodie fills a space between two legs,
square pegs into round holes, binge eating until you
hurt your throat
but you still devote yourself to being
skinny

and that word has plagued me for so long, like a song, like a call, and now i need to know, before i fall, am i skinny enough to be loved? is my collarbone every going to be a wishing well, will i burn in hell for the simple sin of being fat?

but in reality, the only real causality was myself
i force fed myself discipline, hoped someone
would listen, but they never did

even the shrinks said i was crazy
and that i was lazy for not going out, excising until
my skin split and a beautiful butterfly emerged
then i'd surge into battle like a goddess

but when your thighs are thick and you aren't modest,
and when you wear lipstick too thick like a woman
with double Ds and an ache between her knees
you know that if you were skinny, you'd never have
these problems, and if you did
you'd know how to solve them
to be skinny
is to be graceful

even in suicidal rages
that flip through pages and pages of stories before they rip my own
from existence
need to be kept under control and kept at a distance like
a tiger that has the taste for human flesh

but now i know i'm the best, because i have a good ****,
long legs and a pretty face
but i'm too hard to replace in this overpriced world
where girls are told to starve themselves

to a neutral, non-pear shape
until their ******* are the tip of an hourglass
their waists are too thin to last
and their eyes are longing for even the tiniest indulgence
avoiding food and any substance
that would jeopardize
skinny

but then i realized
if skinny was so important
then why did all those who were it
probably also were just a little bit away from going insane
and we were in the same boat, staying afloat together
on the ocean of
skinny

so i wrote this poem
for every single girl or woman
who needed a book or a booking
to make them feel beautiful, and by beautiful i mean
skinny

but beautiful can be skinny,
but it can also be thighs like tree trunks,
arms like rivers
and a body that delivers nothing but happiness to that of it's owner

and my body is not some loaner car you
can trash and get away with
there will be fines,
for i am fine,

but in those times, where
nothing was ever promised to me
i started to see

beautiful could mean
staying up to take care of your kids,
single-mothering and being glad your husband
got rid of himself before you could, because
you can do a much better job without the chain-smoke
and you stay woke
forever
because skinny is a construct

or it could mean
studying in waters of student loans,
feeling alone as the only ******* campus
but working hard to become a lawyer or a doctor,
she will always be her mother's daughter

i'd say words stronger than this,
but there are children here,
but ***** skinny!
i am beautiful,
you are beautiful
and by beautiful
i mean anything you want it to mean.
This is not my story, but it could've been. This is the story for every girl who gained a few extra pounds, looked at herself in the mirror and said "I need to fix this". But there's nothing you need to fix. You are beautiful.
R Saba Oct 2012
You were always skinny.

always turning away
always hiding your face
always twisting your frame

You were always more than skinny,
not quite thin,
not frail
not flimsy
but more than just skinny.

Turning to the side,
I saw you;
as the light caught my eye,
I lost you
in between the rays of sun
you hid,
as invisible as a smile
when one’s back is turned.

You disappeared,
you folded in on yourself,
you were more than skinny;
you were a magic act.

Now we see you-
now we don’t-

and that’s the story I’m sticking to.

And years passed,
and time ran by,
and seasons turned
and so you grew,
bulky
and strong
and proud in the torso,
capable in the arms,
different to the eyes
of those who paid no attention.

But to me you never changed.

Shoulders, still bowed,
like broken wings folding inwards;

Neck, still twisting,
escaping,

Face still shadowed,
still turned down to the ground

always turning away
always hiding your face
always twisting your frame

Never straight.
You were always skinny,
so easily bent,
so easily silenced,
so easily spent;
so strong yet so tired,
wired for work
but never for play.

Any day now
I expect you to turn
and disappear
between the cracks of the sunlight,
like a sheet of paper evades
real existence,
you will evade my persistence,
my insistence
that you could be more.

More than just skinny,
more than frail,
more than flimsy,
more than strong,
more than broken,
more than fixed;
more than lying.

You were always skinny,
always two steps behind;
but you were more than just skinny
in my mind.
people change
JC Lucas Sep 2015
I was born tall and thin
and pink
like a ****** steak.
I cried until I could run
and then ran
like a lunatic,
screaming peals of laughter
and destroying
without guilt
as kids do-

and still I was
skinny.

I was skinny in elementary school.
The other kids took to football
and dirt bikes.
I was still pink
like an underripe
tomato.

I grew up tall and thin
in a world for shorter
and fuller people.
With crooked teeth and
glasses.

I was skinny in middle school.
When the other kids started to build muscle
you could've played my ribs
like a xylophone.
You still could.

I grew up tall and thin
and frustrated
like a ****.
I never fit on public busses
or in the little plastic desks
at school.
My feet stuck off the end of my bed.
They still do.
I slouched and hiked my shoulders up
so as not to obstruct others'
line of sight.

I still do.

I was skinny
when I first fell in love.
What she saw in me,
I can't say.
I was tall
and thin
and crooked
but I wanted so badly,
just for once,
to be the right shape
for her.
She was rather short
and had caramel skin.
We made an odd couple.

I grew up tall and thin,
a square peg in a world of round holes.
I'm skinny today-
a pinkish wisp
with a skinny soul
tucked away behind dark sunglasses.

I was born skinny.
And I'll probably die skinny
too,
and make a tall,
thin corpse
for a much
shorter,
wider
casket.
Sita Alaska Apr 2014
A skinny little girl is 11
when she gets told for the first time
that she's not pretty enough.
What a thing to tell a little girl.
She can see what people call pretty
on magazines and she can see the mirror
telling her that her skin isn't as clear and
how she's not as skinny as them.

A skinny little girl is 13
when she stops eating breakfast,
claiming the lie of having nausea that early.
All the other girls are showing skin so
she joins in. Her face is clear now but
her stomach's still not flat. She eats half a lunch
and her mom says, "That's not enough."
Her friend doesn't know and
sees her waist, telling her, "Wow,
You're like a toothpick!"
It makes her grin and she feels pretty.

A skinny little girl is 15
when she decides skipping meals isn't
fast enough. She's stuffing her finger
down her throat now, pouring out her meals.
Her breast are on display and she
loves this boy who says she's beautiful
and kisses her stomach, telling her how
skinny she is. She doesn't know how
different *** is from love and she lets him
take her clothes off, loving him as much
as she can. He leaves her more times than she can
remember in the next couple years but
she defends it when he always comes back.

A skinny little girl is 17
when she tries to hide the scars
on her arms from everyone, making up
excuses when asked about them.
She's traded throwing up for skipping meals again and
she still thinks she's not pretty enough.
Her mom questions her scars and
her friends wonder about her eating habits but
nobody does a thing. She's numb and thinks
she's not worth anything. She cries herself to sleep and still loves the boy who comes and goes
and sometimes saves her from herself.
He tells her he loves her and she believes it,
not wanting death as much.

A skinny little girl is 19
when she has valleys in her hips
and a breeze between her legs and a
body she's learned to love.
She eats full meals and wears what she
likes and her arms are whole again.
She fights the thoughts and still
can't eat breakfast, no longer able to
stomach food that early.
She can't tell when she's hungry and
when she just wants food.
Hunger isn't known until there's a gnawing in her stomach.
The boy always tells her how much she
means and how he'll never stop talking
to her. She can look in the mirror now
and believe she's pretty.
words can shape a person's life
Misha Kroon May 2014
They always told her she was skinny,
'You're like a twig' they used to say,
'You need a good roast dinner' they'd tell her.

She grew up being proud,
Of the way her bones jutted through,
Her pink paper skin.

When she reached 15,
The junk food and pride,
Caught up with her.

By 16 all she saw in the mirror,
Was mountains of fat and rolls upon rolls,
She wondered if they would still call her skinny.

At 16, she began cutting down on meals,
'If I miss lunch, I'll lose a little weight.'
'I don't need breakfast, not to be skinny.'

She can't tell anyone else,
She's the skinny one,
She can't be fat.

They've started noticing now,
The rolls under her tshirt,
They seem to get some satisfaction,
That the skinny girl is fat.

By nearly 17 she cannot stomach more than one meal,
Anymore and she feels sick,
To the pit of her stomach.

Aged 17 she wonders,
If they'd've brought her up the skinny girl,
If they knew how fat she'd get when she grew up.

Aged 17 she wonders how she got so
*******
Fat.
This is massively personal, so just ignore it, if it does t appeal to you.
Emily Mary Apr 2014
I walk in the front door after not seeing you for nearly three months
I see your eyes wander my body head to toe as if there was an expired inspection sticker plastered on my forehead
One of the first things you ask me is, "Hows that diet going?" 
I could see it in your expression 
when I seriously say to you that I am a full figured woman and I'm proud
You simply stared into my eyes letting me know that isn't a good thing.

Once upon a time you thought I was beautiful 
When my skin was tightly stretched across my olive skin
collarbones like a razors edge
hip bones like a needles point
In your eyes I was perfect
My heart told me I was beautiful
The mirror in my mind told me I was too big to be beautiful
So here you are, knocking me down, piece by piece
Telling me the same things my brain did. 
Saying that I should just stop eating 
Left trying to sew back the broken pieces of my self esteem with these dull needles. 


Your words replay in my mind like a broken record
"I'm not even asking you to be skinny."
Rolls off your tongue like poison in not only your mouth but your eyes when you look at me.
Skinny, that word makes my bones jello and my skin crawl
Skinny, the adjective that you so badly want me to be described as.
Skinny, makes summer and laughing with boys a lot easier
Skinny, would make eating less of a guilt thing and more of a survival thing
Skinny is what you want me to be.
Let me tell you that looking like a plastic make-believe children’s toy is not the definition of beautiful
Just remember, Bones are for dogs, and meat is for men.
julianna Sep 2018
Skinny skinny
Thin and skinny
Shrink me down and make me skinny
Exercise or just don’t eat
Run until the furthest street
Why do I always feel this way?
Something’s wrong inside my brain,
It only matters what I weigh.
Skinny skinny
Thin and skinny
Shrink me down and make me skinny
Mymai Yuan Sep 2010
Peeing: to ***; to urinate; to release the body of its liquid toxins; to pass or discharge *****; characteristically yellow- the strength of the color depending on the body’s hydration.
People have strange habits when peeing; urinating; releasing the body of their liquid toxins. Some people procrastinate it to the last minute and rush to the bathroom, barely yanking their pants down in time and shuddering in relief. They are those who habitually whip in and out, even when they don’t really need to. There’s the common usage of an escape from boredom in classes or meetings. Perhaps it even causes a slight blushing in the cheeks of painfully shy woman at hearing rushed tinkling so close by. And of course, they are also the people who love to leave surprises for the next person who uses the bathroom.
All in all, peeing seems to mean not much to people – a small part of life; but a very, very necessary part.  

                                 *                 *                    * .

The rain poured furiously outside the window as Emily sat, straining her brown eyes against the whiteboard flashing images of trigonometry from Mr. Well’s laptop, trying hard to concentrate. She was sitting in her usual seat in class, and also her favorite. It was a solitary table with a chair, away from the clusters of tables and the chattering children, and the only chair by the window. She liked to look out the window, even if it distracted her from Mr. Well’s loud explanations. The booming of “SOHCAHTOA” in her ears became distant as the wind’s movement caught her eye. She gazed out on sheets of rain flapping across the sky like giant teary spirits and pressed her fingertips on the glass. Cold.
Absent-mindedly, she pressed her cheek against the coolness and felt it absorb her body warmth. Her imagination kicked in and the glass became a panel of energy, ******* a little life from all those who touched it, vibrating with a strange purple light until it was so filled with energy the particles of the glass would explode and she would be the first to die from the sharp shatters that would spray across the room, causing droplets of blood to-
Ahem.
Mr. Well coughed meaningfully at her dreamy face. The class exploded into laughter and the bell rang. A skinny girl smiled at her but she was so lost in her own world, she forgot to smile back as she slung her bag on her shoulder and ran out. Maybe that’s why she didn’t have too many friends.
The dark skies were pouring furiously as only Bangkok in Monsoon weather can.
A walk home or a motorbike ride? A motorbike ride would be a little dangerous in this flooding… and with that reasoning she waved up a motorbike. The seat was soaked and so was the driver, whose brown leathered feet struggled to keep red flip-flops on as they sloshed through the flooded Sois.
Fat water bullets pelted her skin and the wind blew them ferociously into her face till her eyes stung. The motorbike swerved in and out of the cars stuck in traffic (slightly floating), the bottoms of their wheels immersed in ***** water.
The pockets of her school shorts were hastily rummaged through and she pulled out a soggy green twenty-baht note bank before running into the shelter of the lobby, dripping over the marble floor and completely drenched. The building-maid widened her eyes, and watched her horrified; knowing it meant extra work mopping and drying up the lobby floor as soon as Emily vanished into the elevator.
The plastic button with the circular metal piece glowed orange. It was strange how she was shivering with cold but her touch was still warm enough to light up the elevator buttons.
The usual itchy, impulsive, restlessness was building up inside her from the wet motorbike ride. Thunder roared and crackled through the lobby’s swinging glass doors and they vibrated slightly. Another flashing image of splintering glass splashed across her mind and in the split-second, she saw the diamond shards pierce the eye of the lobby’s guard and splinter across the floor-
She shook her head. This was what happened when she had too much pent-up energy. She had to do something- something reckless and fast and dangerous… now! A bolt of lightning went through her as a familiar wide open space came into her mind… the rooftop of her thirty-five floored building.
The elevator ride up was slow, much too slow for the fast pacing of her heart and she hit the metal doors with wet fists. Tearing out of the doors when it finally jolted to a stop, she climbed up to the top, running up the stairs two steps at a time and caught her breath. It was flooded up to her ankles and violent gusts of wind made her steady herself.
Emily’s Dad often told her stories of when he was child. “The winds in my home during Monsoon season were so strong we could lean into it with our fully body weight and we wouldn’t fall. It was almost as good as flying.”
Her lids squinted shut and the sensitive skin was immediately exposed to the pebbles of the rain and whipping wind; and in almost dream-like state, she leaned into the howling wind.
There was a comically slow fall and her bony knees hit the concrete flooring with a dull thud. She burst into tears of laughter in her own stupidity at thinking the wind could hold up against her gigantic frame and rubbed her ***** knees sorely. Reaching up to wipe her tears with muddy fingers, she laughed to herself again. There was no point in wiping away tears. They were so trivial in comparison to the current weeping of the skies.
Against the thick opaqueness of the wind, she could see how the view towered over a jungle of buildings as far as the eyes could see, with snaking concrete roads and skinny black canals. Slums scattered around nearby swanky hotels of the rich. The buildings faded into small dark shapes in the distance. Bangkok.
No matter how tall and industrial it tried to become, everyone ran for cover under this blinding rain.
Up here, completely a victim to nature’s power, she felt exposed; naked; real. The animalistic instincts inside her swelled up. Humans weren’t meant to wear these annoying pieces of material or shoved inside skinny architectural designs. With aggressive tearing motions, a pile of soggy clothes half lay, half floated on the flooded floor beside her and she stood there bare… and completely naked. Laughter spilled out from the depths of her naked chest with the two tiny hints of possible womanhood; it was louder than thunder. Screaming, laughing and gasping she stumbled around – climbing over objects and feeling the beautiful dizziness: a sweet, sweet dizzy. She stood up on a random block a meter high; spread her arms wide as her wet body shone with raindrops. The rain threatened to push her over, her soaked hair twitching heavily on her neck.
She ****** in her breath, ready to yell so that the heavens could hear but instead, the voice that came out was controlled with a shaky undertone of joy,
“I need to ***.”
And then she did.

                                                *         *            *.

His eyes are brown. Dark chocolate brown – a simple, solid color. Simple and solid like him.
Because he was so simple, people enjoyed his companionship. Though he was simple, he was not boring. Rather he was sharp-mouthed, quick on his feet, witty and observant speaking bald truths about people that either provoked them to scandalized laughter or humiliated fury.
What some people forgot to recognize was that he didn’t really love anyone. Plenty called him a close friend, but so absorbed were they in their own world; they seldom realized the fact that most of his thoughts were concealed. Kept in a little box of surprises in the back of his mind, and hidden so well nobody knew they existed.
He could spend months with a friend traveling in a different country, and return back home with no feelings of attachment. He could care for a friend while they were here and not really miss them while they were gone.
Most of the time his eyes were neutral and observing and they would sparkle amusedly when he had provoked someone with his words. This was how remained to almost everyone; everyone but one person. The one person that could turn his normally calm face even more still, the dark brows would rise slightly and a quick flash of fire would shoot through his eyes- and for a long while, they would burn slowly like two twin coals; the one person who could cloud his eyes dreamily; the one person who could make them glint wetly.  
He reached over and grabbed her hand. Emily turned smiling eyes at him.
A group of teenagers were strolling down the closed roads, armed with water guns, pasted in thick white powder, thoroughly drenched in the hot, dry weather and skipping over puddles (except for Emily who splashed into them).
Songkran in Bangkok: celebrated in the middle of April where temperatures reach forty-degrees Celsius, Thailand’s New Year and a time to pay respect to the elders in the family, but as most traditions, they became really just an excuse to enjoy oneself and in this case, one-year-olds to eighty-year-olds roamed the ***** streets splashing ice-cold water from hoses and water guns and smeared each other with chalk in buckets.
The street they were being shoved along was crowded with slick, drunk bodies. The heat of the afternoon sun shone down on their backs. The sign that introduced excited people in was sprayed by a passing pick-up truck filled with screaming locals. “WELCOME TO SOI COWBOY” printed the red letters.
Red-faced fat foreigners held in each arm a tiny ******* with their bright lace bras showing through the wet see-through shirt and their black eye shadow playing havoc with their cheeks.  Country-side Thai music blared in its jumpy, quirky manner with the over done sound effects. Those nasal voices of dark skinned women with their skins covered with make-up to an ashy white whined out of the stereos. A man with the head of a buffalo mask sauntered past. It was a mark of how wild things got at Songkran that eyes merely flickered over the shirtless buffalo briefly with a quick laugh. Transsexuals clad in diamond-studded flip-flops, wet white tank tops and mini jeans shorts the size of underwear danced to the blasting music from the open pubs down either side of the road. Their surgically-made ******* were all-too visible in the white shirts, their dark ******* poking out as they grabbed the crotches of good-looking men and boys that passed by, squealing and rubbing their bodies against white men especially. Most of these white foreigners had a look of bewildered pleased ness... for only a few realized that underneath that squeaky voice was a very deep rumble, and underneath those lacy thongs lay a very big surprise indeed.
One of the better-looking boys in the group, his green eyes and pointed chin drawing the fancy of many hookers, was pulled off by four pairs of wet skinny arms touching him and yelling in broken English, “Oh so handsome! You so handsome! I love you! What your name! You tell me your name, handsome boy!”
The handsome boy proceeded to manage some sort of scream for help while laughing until his stomach ached. It was Songkran; it was a merry time, and he knew he was good-looking. Kat, who held a secret crush on him laughed amusedly at his yelping.
Emily stumbled after him with Kat and parted through the crowd of ladies in time to see a tiny little ****** trip on her squeaking flip-flops and fall beside a sprawled figure, face down in the ***** road with a massive bag of ice on top of him.
“Hey! Are you alright?” Emily cried, half-amused and half-concerned, lifting the heavy ice bag off his shoulders.
Kat rushed forward, laughing but compromising her concern with furrowed brows and helped him up. “You okay Tom?”
He whimpered in pain and put a hand on his neck, rubbing it sorely. “That ice bag was ******* heavy.” The girls decided to make no note of his skinny arms.
They walked back to their group of friends who turned around and saw a limping green-eyed boy and roared with laughter. The noise caught the attention of predators searching for a good target and they were hosed down with water pipes.
Suddenly Emily felt a huge body lift her up and swing her around while hands plastered her with wet chalk.
“Emily!”
She felt safe hands grab her and looked up into the pair of dark chocolate eyes. They were a little annoyed as they flickered over the fat drunk man who released her heavily but it was Songkran, and he managed to laugh at her bewildered expression.
Just then they passed a horde of prostitutes and she felt him being ripped from her. “I like this one!” screeched a passing market lady who rushed in to jump on him. “I like this one! Let’s keep this one!” They dunk his head in a bucket of white goo.
She screeched with laughter and even at something that silly, felt protective of him. “Brad!”
He was too busy being attacked. “Brad!” she tried to reach in and he opened his mouth to call out to her. That was a big mistake, he realized, as he received a handful of powder in his mouth. Spitting, coughing, and trying to breathe through nostrils blocked with powder he managed to wipe his stinging eyes clean. The prostitutes released him but not before a huge ******* screamed with glee at his straight nose and thin red lips, and reached forward giving his crotch a good grab. He screeched in genuine disgust and fear, had a moments feeling of guilt in case he had offended the ******* which was immediately wept away as he, no she, no it, yelped joyfully and massaged his **** before trotting off to his, no her, no its next victim.
Where was Emily? With his height, he managed to see a brown head that stuck above the other dark-haired and light-haired heads being jostled out of the street by the moving crowd. He ran to catch up and grabbed Emily’s hand as the group of teenagers tripped out of “Soi Cowboy”.  
They stood for a moment catching their breath. Zoey, a tiny little girl with a chest that threatened to put her out of balance, pushed her brown curls out of her face. A red glow was starting to spread over her cheeks.
Kat laughed scornfully, her wide smile spreading generously over her face. “Sunburn?! You white girl!”  
They had all been out around the streets since early morning and it was late in the afternoon now. Rose’s cheeks were flushed and the tip of Kat’s nose was a little pink herself. The rest of them, with their darker skin, had tanned slightly but unnoticeably. They laughed at Zoey for a short while. It was an interesting group of friends: all of them of mixed heritages from around the world with different backgrounds that became common in the world of International schools. It was alright to tease Emily’s honey skin; it was funny to crack jokes about Stefan’s hairiness; it was hilarious when Zoey tried to tan.
Emily shot a picture of everyone laughing: their clothes wet, their faces scrunched up, eyeliner smudged (Kat and Rose had lined their eyes with water proof kohl that of course wasn’t really waterproof), their cheeks and chin caked a crumbly white.
Kat and Zoey clambered over her shoulders, peering at the little digital screen of the water proof camera. “Ew! Gross!” yelled Kat who was only used to pictures of her lips rosy from lipstick, camera at a flattering angle with a bright flash from her professional equipment that made her black-lined green eyes sparkle like emeralds.
“Delete! I look sick!”
Even Zoey, who admired Kat’s photogenic ness to a great extent, could find no words of solace except to say, “Me too! I look gross! Delete! Now!”
Emily just laughed and said, “No you don’t.” Of course it wasn’t a type of picture they’d profile on Facebook, but all the same it was beautiful with their wild-looking and uninhibited faces and un-posing body shapes, curled up in laughter.
Zoey snatched the camera from her and they fiddled with the buttons till the picture was deleted. It was regretful, annoying, but not unexpected.
Emily rubbed her sore knees and noticed how Tom was still rubbing his neck sorrowfully with Stefan laughing at him, shaking his head wearily. Brad was holding onto her arm a little tiredly, Kat and Zoey had their arms wrapped around each other’s shoulder for leaning support and Rose and Emily’s younger brother, Jason, were standing together, staring absen
Julia O'Neary May 2014
When you say: you are Sooo
skinny, *****. I think you’re
trying to complement me
but just don’t, please just stop.
I’ll let the use of ‘*****’ as a term
of endearment, go for now.
But Skinny is not a complement.
It’s a buzz word that evokes images
of too thin runway models, and
******* thigh gaps. Please don’t
associate me with #thinsperation.
Social media is as divided on
the issue as my thighs.
Pitting skinny ******* against
fat ****** all in the name of likes
and follows and shares.  
They pray on our own need
to validate our bodies and they
know the fastest way to do
so is to hate hers.
But taking the media’s
imposable beauty standards
and turning it on its head than
passing it on to me is just a game
of tag that none of us can win.
We are warring against our fellow woman
in pursuit of the ideal female form.
We are warriors behind the message
boards fighting the good fight for say
‘health’ or ‘feminism’.
Feminism does not mean do whatever
you want say whatever you want.
Feminism is not fat or thin.
She is not lipstick or armpit hair.
****** or…not a ******.
She is simply women, plural,
because there are a lot of us.
I won’t fight anymore with
surface level insults,
but I will debate you on
how social media
is the assemblage of all
human depravities
So the next time you call me a *****,
leave my skinny *** out of it.
Jessica Evans Mar 2015
The media has taught us as girls
That skinny is beautiful.
That the more your hips stick out
The more the boys will like you.
It has taught girls to hate their curves
And body positivity has turned
Into a rivalry.
Girls who are prettier than me
Tell me they hate me because I'm skinny.
As if my flat tummy
Is the only thing that makes me pretty.
No one compliments my eyes
Or my smile it's all my weight.
And then songs come out saying
Things like "**** those skinny *******"
And girls hate me more.
I want an *** and curves.
I always have.
In high school boys called me paper
Flat on both sides.
'Cause boys like more ***** to hold, right?
Yet the media still holds skinny girls on a pedestal
And beautiful girls still tell me
They want to look like me.
When all I want is to look like them.
Beauty should not be a competition.
please don't hate me.
Madison Brooke Nov 2015
oh, my god,
stop praising little girls for being "tiny" and "slender" and "willowy"
for being skinny.

because the scale offers validation
and eating cheetos and twizzlers and cookies and candy without gaining a pound becomes an accomplishment
a sharp and boasting laugh
ha, ha! i can eat all the **** i want
and still be /skinny!/

because a girl will feel pride
in her ballerina legs and bony joints
and guilt
in her best friend wishing she were as small.

because "skinny" stops being an adjective
and becomes a definition.

because being skinny becomes
owning stacks and stacks of size zero jeans
but ******* and shimmying and squeezing your *** into them
(god forbid you buy a size two.)

skinny becomes looking flat in the midsection
but only if you eat triscuits for lunch that day

becomes seeing the outlines of individual ribs
but grabbing with a grimace the layer of fat and skin that covers them

becomes standing with legs spread apart and back tilted and eyes squinted
and looking maybe kind of like a forever 21 model,
until you sit and your thighs melt into huge endless expanses of tissue

becomes avoiding the bathroom scale because you told yourself two years ago you'd never get above double digits.

becomes knowing that most girls would **** for your body, or for the absence of your body - for the carved out spaces where flesh could be.

becomes feeling guilty, feeling ridiculous, feeling ungrateful
becomes never admitting to anyone that you feel anything but skinny.
Going skinny dipping on a warm night in July
Got my blanket, some Chardonnay
And one big happy Smile
I know a quiet stretch of shoreline
It is so sublime
For dressing down for skinny dipping
On a warm night in July

Not a care does my heart own tonight
The moon is full
The tide is high
And yes, the time is right
And as I run  I start to peel
The layers that fence me in
I’m running down that sandy strip
Back to how we all began

Going skinny dipping on a warm night in July
All I got for company is
Ocean and sky
I love this quiet stretch of shoreline
It just suits me fine
For dressing down for skinny dipping
On a warm night in July

My heart is beating lighter*
My skin no more a slave
Emancipated flesh and bone
Just dreaming on a wave ~~~~~
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh*
You know the hands of time
Don’t ever wait for any gal or guy

Gonna run into this moment
Gonna dive into this moment
And just float upon the moment
Skinny Dipping on a warm night in July
Keven Feb 2017
Kevin, you're a curse
You chew through everything
You gnaw on life like a rat
You're so skinny but fat
You're so skinny but fat
You're so skinny but fat!

I know, I'm a ******* monster
I can never get out from under the bed
I know, I'm rat-like monster
I chew on your fears and gnaw on your love!
Trust me, I know, I'm a F@#%ing monster
And I'll never get what I want
If I never get out from under the bed

Kevin, you're a curse
Is there nothing you won't chew through?
Is there nothing in life you won't gnaw on?
You RAT!
You're so skinny but fat
You're so skinny but fat
You're so skinny but fat!

You're all skin and bones..
But your addictions are so fat!!!
PoetheticSoul May 2018
Skinny, I was told I was not.
Skinny, I was taught.
Skinny is the thing that makes
All the men love you more,
And that makes you hate
Yourself even less.
Skinny is the answer to every
Question you ever had.
Your intelligence, personality,
And your perspective,
It all means nothing. Even your
Heart means nothing, if
Your body is not thin.
Skinny.
Chalsey Wilder Sep 2014
Ladies and gentleman skinny and scout
I'll tell you a tale I know nothing about
The admission is free so pay at the door
Now pull out a chair and sit on the floor

On one bright day in the middle of the night
Two dead boys got up to fight
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other

The blind man came to see fair play
The mute man came to shout hooray
The deaf policeman heard the noise
And came to stop those two dead boys

He lived on the corner in the middle of the block
In a two story house on a vacant lot
A man with no legs came walking by
And kicked the lawman in his thigh

He crashed through a wall without making a sound
Into a dry creek bed and suddenly drowned
A long black hearse came to cart him away
But he ran for his life and is still gone today

I watched from the corner of the table
The only eyewitness to facts of my fable
If you doubt my lies are true
Just ask the blind man, he saw it too
This is my favorite poem. It's by Tyler Rager and I honestly don't know why I love this poem. But ever since I heard it from the movie I just couldn't wait to find it online and read it. When I read it I fell in love with it. <3 Love this poem a lot.
Liz Sep 2014
Shrink yourself
Oh she's fading away
Hold her bones together
As the movies play

When a diet becomes an addiction
I felt myself give in
My mind was hooked on these
Skinny thoughts

Bones dance in my dreams
And I couldn't be shaken awake
Yes I'll be skinny like the others
Beautiful like I want

But there's nothing beautiful
About your hair falling out
And passing out and hitting your head
And freezing in the summer
And constantly falling asleep

There's nothing cute about
***** in your hair
And on your clothes
****** noses
And aching bones

Nothing glamorous behind that bathroom door
Just a stupid girl
With her head stuck half way down the pipes
Keith J Collard Jun 2013
The Quest for the Damsel Fish  by Keith Collard

Author's  Atmosphere

On the bow of the boat, with the cold cloud of the dismal day brushing your back conjuring goose bumped flesh you hold an anchor.  For the first time, you can pick this silver anchor up with only one hand and hold it over your head. It resembles the Morning Star, a brutal medieval weapon that bludgeons and impales its victims.  Drop it into the dark world beyond the security of your boat--watch the anchor descend.
        Watch this silver anchor--this Morning Star--descend away from the boat and you, it becomes swarmed over with darkness.  It forms a ******-metallic grin at first as it sinks, then the sinking silver anchor takes its last shape at its last visible glimpse.  It is so small now as if it could be hung from a necklace.  It is a silver sword.  
Peering over the side of the boat, the depths collectively look like the mouth of a Cannibalistic Crab, throwing the shadows of its mandibles over everything that sinks down into it--black mandibles that have joints with the same angle of a Reaper's Scythe.  

I am scared looking at this sinking phantasm.  I see something from my youth down there in this dark cold Atlantic.  I see the silver Morning Star again, now in golden armor.  I remember a magnificent kingdom, in a saltwater fish tank I had once and never had again.  A tropical paradise that I see again as I stare down into the depths.  This fish tank was so beautiful with the most beautiful inhabitants who I miss.  Before I could lift the silver anchor--the Morning Star--over my head with only one hand, turning gold in that morning sun-- I was a boy who sat indian style, cross legged--peering into this brilliant spectacle of light I thought awesome.  I thought all the darkness of home and the world was kept at bay by this kingdom of light...

Chapter  1 Begins the Story

The Grey Skies of Mass is the Name of This Chapter.

                                                      ­­                        
    
 Air, in bubbles--it was a world beauty of darkness revealed in slashes of light from dashing fluorescent bulbs overhead this fish tank.
Silver swords of fluorescent energy daring to the bottom, every slash revealing every color of the zodiac--from the Gold of Scorpio to the purple of Libra combining into the jade of the Gemini. 
In the center, like a dark Stonehenge were rocks. The exterior rocks had tropical colors like that of cotton candy, but the interior shadows of the rocks that was the Stonehenge, did not possess one photon of light. The silver messengers of the florescent energy from above would tire and die at their base.  The shadows of the Stonehenge rocks would stand over them as they died.

 
          When the boy named Sake climbed the rickety wood stairs of the house, he did so in fear of making noise, as if to not wake each step.
   Until he could see the glowing aura of his fish tank then he would start down that eerie hall, With pictures of ghosts and ghosts of pictures staring down at him as he walked down that rickety hallway of this towering old colonial home.  He hurried to the glowing tank to escape the black and white gazing picture frames.
                    The faint gurgling, bubbling of the saltwater tank became stronger in his ear, and that sound guided him from the last haunt of the hallway-- the empty room that was perpendicular to  his room.   He only looked to his bright tank as soon as he entered the hallway from the creaky wooden steps.  Then he proceeded to sit in front of this great tropical fish tank in Indian style with his legs folded over one another as children so often would sit.
  The sun was setting.  The reflections from the tank were beginning to send ripples down the dark walls. Increasing  wave after wave reflecting down his dark walls.  He thought they to be seagulls flapping into the darkness until they were overcome as he was listening to the bubbling water of his tank.
                " Hello my fish, hello Angel, hello Tang, hello  Hoomah, hello Clown and hello Damsel … and hello to you Crab...even though I do not like you," he said in half jest not looking at the crab in the entrance of the rocks.  The rocks were the color of cotton candy, but the interior shadows did not possess a photon of luminescence.  All other shadows not caused by the rocks--but by bright swaying ornament--were like the glaze on a candy apple--dark but delicious.  Besides the crab's layer in the rock jumble at the center of the tank which was a Stonehenge within a Stonehenge--the tank was a world of bright inviting light.
                The crab was in its routine,  motionless in the entrance to his foyer, with his scythe-like claws in the air, in expectation of catching one of the bright fish someday.  For that reason the boy tried to remove the crab in the past, but even though the boy was fast with his hand, the optical illusion of the tank would always send his hand where the crab no longer was.  He did not know how to use two hands to rid the crab in the future by trapping and destroying the Cannibal Crab ;  his father, on a weekend visit, gave the Crab to the boy to put into the bright world of the saltwater tank, which Sake quickly regretted.  His father promised him that the Crab would not be able to catch any of the fish he said " ...***** only eat anything that has fallen to the bottom or each other..."

         A scream from the living room downstairs ran up the rickety wood and down the long hall and startled the boy.  His mother sent her shrieks out to grab the boy, allowing her to not have to waste any time nor calorie on her son; for she would tire from the stairs, but her screams would not, allowing her to stay curled up on the couch.  If she was not screaming for Sake, she was talking as loud as screams on the phone with her girlfriends.  The decibels from her laugh was torture for all in the silent house.   A haughty laugh in a gossipy conversation, that overpowered the sound of the bright tropical fish tank in Sake's room that was above and far opposite her in the living room.
               " Sake you have to get a paper-route to pay for the tank, the electricity bill is outrageous," she said while not taking her eyes off the TV and her legs curled up beside her.  He would glad fully get a paper-route even if it was for a made up reason.  He turned to go, and looked back at his mother, and a shudder ran through him with a new thought:  someday her appearance will match her voice.  

              Upon reaching his tank,  Hoomah was trying to get his attention as always.  Taking up pebbles in his big pouty pursed lips and spitting them out of his lips like a weak musket.  The Hoomah was a very silly fish, it looked like one of Sake’s aunts, with too much make up on, slightly overweight, and hovering on two little fins that looked incapable of keeping it afloat, but they did.  The fins reminded him of the legs of his aunt--skinny under not so skinny.’

               The Tang was doing his usual aquanautics , darting and sailing was his trick.  He was fast, the fastest with his bright yellow triangular sail cutting the water.  Next was the aggressive Clown fish, the boy thought she was always aggresive because she didn't have an anemone to sleep on.  The Clown was strong and sleek with an orange jaw and body that was built like a tigress.
  Sake thought something tragic about the body if the  orange Clown and the three silver traces that clawed her body as decoration -they reminded him of the incandescent orange glow of a street lamp being viewed through the rainy back windshield of a car.   The Clown fish was a distraction that craved attention.
The Clown would chase around some of the other fish and jump out of the water to catch the boy's eye. 
                 Next is the Queen Angel fish, she is the queen of the tank, she sits in back all alone, waving like a marvelous banner, iridescent purple and golden jade.  Her forehead slopes back in a French braid style that streams over her back like a kings standard waving before battle, but her standard is of a house of beauty, and that of royal purple.

                    Lastly is the Damsel Fish, the smallest and most vulnerable in the tank.  She has royal purple also, rivaling the queen. Her eyes are lashed but not lidded like the Hoomah.  Her eyes are elliptical, and perhaps the most human, or in the boy’s opinion, she is the most lady like, the Hoomah and the Queen Angel come to her defence if she is chased around by the Clown.  Her eyes penetrate the boys, to the point of him looking away.  

                      Before the tank, in its place in the corner was a painting, an oil painting of another type of Clown donning a hat with orange partial make-up on his face (only around eyes nose and mouth there was ghost white paint) and it  had two tears coming down from its right eye.  The Clown painting was given to him by his mother, it seems he could not be rid of them, but Sake at first was taken in by the brightness of the Clown, and the smooth salacious wet look of the painting. it looked dripping, or submerged, like another alternate reality.  The wet surreal glaze of the painting seemed a portal, especially the orange glow of the Clown's skin without make-up.  .  If he tried to remember of times  before the Clown painting that preceded the Clown fish, he thought of the orange saffron twilight of sunset, and watching it from the high window from his room in the towering house.  How that light changed everything that it touched, from the tree tops and the clouds, to even the dark hallway leading up to his room.  The painting and the Clown fish did not feel the same as those distant memories of sunset, especially the summer sunset when his mother would put him to bed long before the sun had set.  
Sake did not voice opposition to the Clown.
Then he was once again trapped by the Clown.  
            The boy was extremely afraid of this painting that replaced the sunsets , being confined alone with it by all those early bedtimes.
Sake once asked his mother if he could take it down, whereas she said " No."  That clown would follow him into his dreams, always he would be down the hill from the tall house on the hill, trying to walk back to the house, but to walk away or run in a dream was like walking underwater or in black space, and he would make no distance as the ground opened up and the clown came out of the ground hugging him with the pryless grip of eight arms.  He would then wake up amid screams and a tearful hatted clown staring somberly down at him from the wall where it was hung.  Night made him fear the Clown painting more;  that ghost white make-up decorating around the eyes and mouth seeming to form another painting in entirety.  He could only look at the painting after a while when the lights were on, and the wet looking painting was mostly orange from the skin, neck, and forearms of the hat wearing clown.  But the painting is gone now, and the magnificent light display of the tank is there now.  

                Sake pulled out the fish food, all the fish bestirred in anticipation of being fed.  The only time they would all come together; and that was to mumble the bits of falling flakes: a chomp from the Clown, a pucker from the Hoomah, the fast mumble of the Tang, and the dainty chew of the Damsel.  The Queen Angelfish would stay near the bottom, and kiss a flake over and over.   She would not deign herself to go into a friendly frenzy like the other fish; she stayed calm, yet alluring like a flag dancing rhythmically in the breeze, but never repeating the same move as the wind never repeats the same breeze.  She is the only fish to change colors.  When the grey skies of Mass emit through every portal in the house at the height of its bleakness, her colors would turn more fantastic, perhaps why she is queen.

                 He put his finger in the top of the watery world; the warmth was felt all the way up his arm.  After feeding, his favorite thing to do was to trace his finger on the top of the warm water and have the Damsel follow it. She loved it, it was her only time to dance, for the Clown would descend down in somewhat fear ( or annoyance) of the boys finger, and the Damsel and he would dance.  The boy, thought that extraordinary.

                     Sake bedded down that night, to his usual watery world of his room.  The reflective waves running down the walls like seagulls of light, with the rhythmic gurgling sound and it's occasional splash of the Clown, or the Hoomah swooping into the pebbly bottom to scoop up some pebbles for spitting making the sound "ccchhhhh" --cachinging  like a distant underwater register.  The tank’s nocturne sound was therapeutic to the boy.

                      Among waking up, and being greeted by his sparkling treasure tank--that was always of the faintest light in the morning due to the grey skies of Mass coming through every portal to lessen the tropical spectrum-- the boy would render his salutations " Good morning my Hoomah.....good morning Tang, my Damsel, and your majesty Queen Angel.....and so forth.  Until the scream would come to get him, and he would walk briskly past the empty room and the looming family pictures of strangers.  His mother put him to work that day, to "pay for the fish tank" but really to buy her a new cocktail dress for her nightly forays.  The boy did not care, the tank was his sun, emitting through the bleak skies of Mass, and even if the tank was reduced to a haze by the overcast of his life, it only added a log to the fire that was the tropical world at night, in turn making him welcome the dismal day.
                  On a day, when the overcast was so thick, he felt he could not picture his rectangular orb waiting for him at night. He had trouble remembering what houses to deliver the paper.  He delivered to the same house three times.  Newspapers seemed to disappear in his hands, due to their color relation to the sky.   Leaves were falling from the trees—butterfly like—he went to catch one, he missed--a first. For Sake could walk through dense thorned brambles and avoid every barb, as a knight in combat or someone’s whose heart felt the painful sting of the barb before.  He would stand under a tree in late fall, and roll around to avoid every falling leaf, and pierce them to the ground deftly with a stick fashioned as a sword.  He could slither between snow flakes, almost like a fish nimbly avoiding small flakes.  
                  After he finished his paper-route , he went to his usual spot under an oak tree to fence with falling leaves.  As the other boys walked by and poked fun he would stall his imagination, and look to the brown landscape of the dry fall.  The crisp brown leaves of the trees were sword shapes to him.  He held the battle ax shape of the oak leaf over his eye held up by the stick it was pierced through, and spied the woodline through the sinus of the oak leaf lobe.  The brown white speckled scenery, were all trying to hide behind eachother by blending in bleakfully; he pretended the leaf was Hector’s helmet from the Illiad—donned over his eyes.
“ Whatchya doing Sake?” asked a young girl named Summer.  Sake only mumbled something nervously and stood there.  And a pretty Summer passed on after Sake once again denied himself of her pretty company.  He looked to the woodline again, a mist was now concealing the tall apical trees.  It now looked like the brown woodland was not trying to retreat behind eachother in fall concealment, but trying to emerge forth out of the greyness to say "save us."

“ Damgf” he uttered, and could not even grasp a word correctly.  His head lifted to the sky repeatedly, there was no orb, and the shadows were looming larger than ever; fractioned shadows from tree branches were forming scythes all over the ground.
             He entered the large shadow that was his front door, into the house that rose high into the sky, with the simplicity of Stonehenge.  He climbed the rickety petrified stairs and went down the hall.  Grey light had spotlighted every frame on the wall.  He looked into the empty room, nothingness, then his room, the tank seemed at its faintest, and it was nearing twilight.  He walked past the tank to look out the w
emi munroe Mar 2018
No, don’t put that chip in your mouth
You know it’s not good for you
And don’t even think about buying that chocolate
You know what it’ll do
Emily, why can’t you just be normal
Eat broccoli and spinach like the rest of us
Not fast food plus sizes

Why can’t you live in our universe
Nothing tastes better than skinny feels
So shape us those meals
Don’t act like you’re a size zero
When you stuff your face with honey nut cheerios
Don’t make your eating habits a lie
The truth shows in your thighs

Why can't you live in our universe
Where our legs are straw thin
And our arms consist of only bone and skin
Our wrists as small as our singular chin

Why can’t you live in our universe
Where we’re all skinny
And we’re all perfect twigs
Where we look down on the non-existent pigs

Emily, why can’t you be skinny?

Because being skinny makes me feel like dirt
I mean, what is it worth
All I can conclude is that
Skinny hurts
Michael R Burch Oct 2020
Zen Death Haiku & Related Translations of Oriental Poems

In what may be called "Zen death haiku" and other forms of jisei (death poems), life on earth is often compared to dew, to a wind-blown petal, to a tree shedding its leaves, to an empty shell, to melting snow or ice, etc.

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

Both victor and vanquished are dewdrops:
flashes of light
briefly illuminating the void.
—Ouchi Yoshitaka, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) 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

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

Like a lotus leaf’s evaporating dew,
I vanish.
—Senryu (-1827), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

This world?
Moonlit dew
flicked from a crane's bill.
—Eihei Dogen Kigen (1200-1253) loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Seventy-one?
How long
can a dewdrop last?
—Eihei Dogen Kigen, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Dewdrops beading grass-blades
die before dawn;
may an untimely wind not hasten their departure!
—Eihei Dogen Kigen, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Dewdrops beading blades of grass
have so little time to shine before dawn;
let the autumn wind not rush too quickly through the field!
—Eihei Dogen Kigen, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Outside my window the plums, blossoming,
within their curled buds, contain the spring;
the moon is reflected in the cup-like whorls
of the lovely flowers I gather and twirl.
—Eihei Dogen Kigen, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

To what shall we compare this world?
To moonlit dew
flicked from a crane’s bill.
—Eihei Dogen Kigen, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A solitary crow
clings to a leafless branch:
nightfall
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Unaware it protects
the hilltop paddies,
the scarecrow seems useless to itself.
—Eihei Dogen Kigen, loose translation/interpretation 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

Like blocks in the icehouse,
unlikely to last
the year out...
—Sentoku (1661-1726), 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

Having been summoned,
I say farewell
to my house beneath the moon.
—Takuchi (1767-1846), 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

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

White plum blossoms―
though the hour grows late,
a glimpse of dawn
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The poem above is believed to be Buson's jisei (death poem) and he is said to have died before dawn.

Lately the nights
dawn
plum-blossom white.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This is a second interpretation of Buson's jisei (death poem).

In the deepening night
I saw by the light
of the white plum blossoms
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This is a third interpretation of Buson's jisei (death poem).

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

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

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

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 not 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

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 haiku translations

On the temple’s great bronze gong
a butterfly
snoozes.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Hard to describe:
this light sensation of being pinched
by a butterfly!
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Not to worry spiders,
I clean house ... sparingly.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Among the fallen leaves,
an elderly frog.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In an ancient well
fish leap for mosquitoes,
a dark sound.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Flowers with thorns
remind me of my hometown ...
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Reaching the white chrysanthemum
the scissors hesitate ...
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

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

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

A silk robe, casually discarded,
exudes fragrance
into the darkening evening
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Whose delicate clothes
still decorate the clothesline?
Late autumn wind.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This is an example of a translation in which I interpreted the poem before translating it. In the original poem the clothes were thin (suggesting suggestive garments). In Japanese poetry an autumn wind can represent loneliness. So I interpreted the poem to be about an aging woman who still wears enticing clothes but is increasingly lonely. Since in the West we don't normally drape clothes on screens, I moved the clothes to a clothesline, which works well with the wind. For me it's a sad poem about something that happens all too often to people as they age.

An evening breeze:
water lapping the heron’s legs.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

gills puffing,
a hooked fish:
the patient
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The stirred morning air
ruffles the hair
of a caterpillar.
―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

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

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

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

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

White blossoms of the pear tree―
a young woman reading his moonlit letter
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The pear tree flowers whitely:
a young woman reading his letter
by moonlight
―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

A misty spring moon ...
I entice a woman
to pay it our respects
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Courtesans
purchasing kimonos:
plum trees blossoming
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The spring sea
rocks all day long:
rising and falling, ebbing and flowing ...
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As the whale
    dives
its tail gets taller!
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

While tilling the field
the motionless cloud
vanished.
―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

Late autumn:
my thoughts return to my Mother and Father
―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 creases and recesses:
flowers of the plum
―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

In the lingering heat
of an abandoned cowbarn
only the sound of the mosquitoes is dark.
―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

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

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

Dew-damp grass:
the setting sun’s tears
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The dew-damp grass
weeps silently
in the setting sun
―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

The poem above is believed to be Buson's jisei (death poem) and he is said to have died before dawn.

Lately the nights
dawn
plum-blossom white.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This is a second interpretation of Buson's jisei (death poem).

In the deepening night
I saw by the light
of the white plum blossoms

―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This is a third interpretation of Buson's jisei (death poem).

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



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

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

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

Stricken 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
 
Both victor and vanquished are dewdrops
in which flashes of light
briefly illuminate the void.
—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
  
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  



As the monks sip their morning tea,
chrysanthemums quietly blossom.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

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

The sea darkens ...
yet still faintly white
the wild duck protests.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Pear tree blossoms
whitened by moonlight:
a young woman reading a letter.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Outlined in the moonlight ...
who is that standing
among the pear trees?
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Your coolness:
the sound of the bell
departing the bell.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As the moon flies west
the flowers' shadows
creep eastward.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

By such pale moonlight
even the wisteria's fragrance
seems distant.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Leaves
like crows’ shadows
flirt with a lonely moon.
Kaga no Chiyo, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Let me die
covered with flowers
and never again wake to this earthly dream!
—Ochi Etsujin, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

To reveal how your heart flowers,
sway like the summer grove.
—Tagami Kikusha-Ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In the thicket's shade
a solitary woman sings the rice-planting song.
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Unaware of these degenerate times,
cherry blossoms abound!
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

These silent summer nights
even the stars
seem to whisper.
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The enormous firefly
weaves its way, this way and that,
as it passes by.
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Composed like the Thinker, he sits
contemplating the mountains:
the sagacious frog!
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A fallen blossom
returning to its bough?
No, a butterfly!
Arakida Moritake, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Illuminated by the harvest moon
smoke is caught creeping
across the water ...
Hattori Ransetsu, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Fanning its tail flamboyantly
with every excuse of a breeze,
the peacock!
Masaoki Shiki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Waves row through the mists
of the endless sea.
Masaoki Shiki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I hurl a firefly into the darkness
and sense the enormity of night.
—Kyoshi Takahama, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As girls gather rice sprouts
reflections of the rain ripple
on the backs of their hats.
—Kyoshi Takahama, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch


* Haiku translations added 6-3-2023 *


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/interpretation 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

Bitter winter wind,
why bellow so
when there's no leaves to blow?
—Natsume Soseki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The lamp extinguished,
once-distant stars
enter my window.
—Natsume Soseki, loose translation/interpretation 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

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

Girls gather rice sprouts:
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, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The wet nurse
paused to consider a bucket of sea urchins
then walked away
—Ippekiro Nakatsuka, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

May I be with my mother
wearing her summer kimono
by the morning window
—Ippekiro Nakatsuka, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The hands of a woman exist
to remove the entrails 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

First one hidden face is revealed,
then the other; thus spinning it falls,
the autumn leaf.
—Ryokan (1758-1831) , translation by Michael R. Burch

I persuaded a child to purchase rural wine;
once I'm nicely tipsy,
I'll slap down some calligraphy.
—Ryokan (1758-1831) , translation by Michael R. Burch

The thief missed it:
the moon
bejeweling my window.
—Ryokan (1758-1831) , translation by Michael R. Burch

This world:
a distant mountain echo
dying unheard...
—Ryokan (1758-1831) , translation by Michael R. Burch

The peonies I planted around my hut
I must now surrender
to the wind's will
—Ryokan (1758-1831) , translation by Michael R. Burch

Wild peonies
blossoming in their prime,
glorious in full bloom:
Too precious to pick,
To precious to leave unplucked
—Ryokan (1758-1831) , translation by Michael R. Burch

The Orchid

Deep in the valley, a secluded beauty!
Serene, peerless, impossibly lovely.
In the bamboo thicket's shadowy tower
she seems to sigh softly for a lover.
—Ryokan (1758-1831) , translation by Michael R. Burch

Observe:
see how the wild violets bloom
within the forbidden fences!
—Shida Yaba (1663-1740) , loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A white swan
parts the cherry-petalled pond
with her motionless breast.
—Roka (1671-1703) , translation by Michael R. Burch

When no wind ruffles the Kiri tree
            leaves fall
of their own free will.
—Nozawa Boncho (1640-1714) , loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Loneliness:
striking the gong again and again,
the lookout.
—Hara Sekitei (1886-1951) , loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Sleeping alone;
a mosquito interrupts my dreams
with its querulous voice...
—Chigetsu (1632-1706) , loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The rain is helpless
to reach the ground—
a winter gale
—Mukai Kyorai (c.1651-1704) , loose translation by Michael R. Burch

A cat in heat
can't catch a mouse? —
pathetic!
—Kinpu (? -1726?) , loose translation by Michael R. Burch

It's getting to the point
of ******* on fish bones—
old age.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I ****** an ant
then realize my three children
were watching.
—Shuson Kato (1905-1933) , loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

My three children
watched me ****** an ant.
—Shuson Kato (1905-1933) , loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As the moon rises
the rooftop tomcat
philosophizes.
Ikuyo Yoshimura (1944-) , loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Changing my lipstick's pastels—
spring rain.
Ikuyo Yoshimura (1944-) , loose translation by Michael R. Burch

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:
this 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 here 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

Stricken 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
Momozutau / iware no ike ni / naku kamo wo / kyo nomi mite ya / Kumokakuri nan

This world—to what may we compare it?
To autumn fields darkening at dusk,
dimly lit 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 compare it?
To autumn fields
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



Ôuchi Yoshitaka, his death poem, written in 1551:

1.
Both victor and vanquished are dewdrops:
flashes of light
briefly illuminating the void.

2.
Both victor and vanquished are dewdrops,
lit by flashes of light,
as we apprehend this life.

3.
Both victor and vanquished are dewdrops
in which lightning flashes
briefly illuminate the void.

—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
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

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 too...
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
Ware shinaba / sakaya no kame ni / shita no ikeyo / moshi ya shisuku no / moriyasennen

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

Year after year,
the face a monkey faces
is a monkey face.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Haiku scholar Kon Eizo explains: "At a New Year's performance, a monkey's mask worn by a monkey changes nothing, so we repeat the same foolishness each year."

Because it will not melt
we dedicate this ice
to the New Year's dawning sun
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Students with your copybooks:
from whose satchel
shall the New Year spring?
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Basking beneath the New Year's sun:
my grubby hut.
—Kobayashi Issa, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Letting in torrents
of New Year's rain:
my leaky hut.
—Kobayashi Issa, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

O, God of the New Year,
this year also,
please have pity!
—Kobayashi Issa, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

These useless dreams, alas!
Over fields of wilted grass
winds whisper as they pass.
—Uejima Onitsura (1660-1738) , loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When a nightingale stops singing,
it's just another bird.
—Uejima Onitsura (1660-1738) , loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A nightingale, when it ceases singing,
is just another ordinary / unexceptional bird.
—Uejima Onitsura (1660-1738) , loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The sincerity of snow, the moon and cherry blossoms
is the truthfulness of art.
—Uejima Onitsura (1660-1738) , loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Above the garden
the camellia tree blossoms
whitely...
—Uejima Onitsura (1660-1738) , explaining the essence of haiku, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Moonlit hailstones:
the night hawks return.
—Uejima Onitsura (1660-1738) , loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Nowhere to dump the dishwater:
cricket cacophony.
—Uejima Onitsura (1660-1738) , loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A good father
drives away crows
from his sparrow-like children.
—Uejima Onitsura (1660-1738) , loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A cool breeze:
the empty sky fills
with the songs of the pines.
—Uejima Onitsura (1660-1738) , loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Return my dream, raven!
You woke me to a misted-over
unreadable moon
—Uejima Onitsura (1660-1738) , said to be his death poem, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Tears are useless:
insects, lovers, the stars themselves
must part.
—Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Sparrow-like children,
make way, make way!
The stallion's coming through!
—Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

No one travels
this path but me,
this moonless autumn evening.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Lieutenant-General Tomoyuki Yamashita wrote this poem on December 4,1941, while sailing for Hainan to invade Malaya.

Now, as the sun and moon shine as one,
the arrow, hurtling from the bow,
speeds my spirit toward the enemy,
bearing also a hundred million souls
—my people of the East—
as the sun and moon shine as one.
—Tomoyuki Yamashita, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Bonfires for the dead?
Soon they'll light pyres
for us, instead.
—Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Children delight
in bonfires
for the dead;
soon they'll light
pyres
for us, instead.
—Issa, 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

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

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

The snow melts
the rivers rise
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

Peonies blossom;
the world is full of fibbers.
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Peonies blossom;
the world is full of blooming liars.
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Overdressed for my thatched hut:
a peony blossoms.
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Oh, magnificent peony,
please don't disdain
these poor surroundings!
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Insolent peony!
Demanding I measure your span
with my fan?
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

'This big! '
The child's arms
measured the peony.
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Issa seemed to have a love-hate relationship with the peony, writing at least 84 haiku about the flower, sometimes praising it and sometimes accusing it of haughtiness and insolence!

The rutting cat
has grown so scrawny
he's nothing but eyes.
—Natsume Soseki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Clinging to each other
beneath an umbrella:
spring rain.
—Natsume Soseki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Twos become one:
butterflies.
—Natsume Soseki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

No rain
and yet the flowers glisten?
Dew.
—Natsume Soseki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Buzzings encircle
a meditating monk:
mosquitoes.
—Natsume Soseki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

He's lost so much weight
in the summer heat
even the mosquitoes won't bite.
—Natsume Soseki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Autumn's here, crickets,
whether you chirp
or not.
—Natsume Soseki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A windy temple:
coins clatter
in the collection box.
—Shuson Kato, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

After death
six feet under the frost
will be sufficient cover.
—Shuson Kato, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Midwinter thunder
rattles the windowpanes.
—Shuson Kato, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



PLUM BLOSSOM HAIKU

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Keywords/Tags: Haiku, Zen, Japan, Japanese, translation, life, death, aging, time, pain, sorrow, lament



ORIGINAL HAIKU BY MICHAEL R. BURCH

Incomprehensible
by Michael R. Burch

for the NRA

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


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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brittle autumn leaf,
no one informed me
you were my life!
—Michael R. Burch

Valentine Haiku #1
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

A leaf brushes my cheek:
a subtle lover’s
gentlest caress.

Valentine Haiku #2
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

Teach me to love:
to fly beyond sterile Mars
to percolating Venus.

The Ultimate Haiku Against God
by Michael R. Burch

Because you made a world
where nothing matters,
our hearts lie in tatters.

Early robins
get the worms,
cats waiting to pounce.
—Michael R. Burch

Sleepyheads!
I recite my haiku
to the inattentive lilies.
—Michael R. Burch

Am I really this old,
so many ghosts
beckoning?
—Michael R. Burch

The sky tries to assume
your eyes’ azure
but can’t quite pull it off.
—Michael R. Burch

The sky tries to assume
your eyes’ arresting blue
but can’t quite pull it off.
—Michael R. Burch

Two bullheaded frogs
croaking belligerently:
election season.
—Michael R. Burch

An enterprising cricket
serenades the sunrise:
soloist.
—Michael R. Burch

A single cricket
serenades the sunrise:
solo violinist.
—Michael R. Burch



New haiku translations added 8-25-2023

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

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

Once they’ve crossed the sea,
winter winds can never return.
—Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

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

(My interpretation is that the haiku above is about WWII kamikaze pilots. Winter is metaphorically the season of death and snow may be seen as a shroud for the dead. So here the poet may be saying, metaphorically, something like “We don’t need shrouds because our pilots are blowing themselves up.” )

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:
calm before 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

Seishi Yamaguchi has been said to represent “a pinnacle of haiku in twentieth-century Japan.”

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 sheer kimono—
how the moon peers through
to my naked skin!
—Hisajo Sugita, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

These festive flowery robes—
though quickly undressed,
how their colored cords still continue to cling!
—Hisajo Sugita, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Chrysanthemum petals
reveal their pale curves
shyly to the moon.
—Hisajo Sugita, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Loneliness —
reading the Bible
as the rain deflowers cherry blossoms.
—Hisajo Sugita, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

How deep this valley,
how elevated the butterfly's flight!
—Hisajo Sugita, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

How lowly this valley,
how lofty the butterfly's flight!
—Hisajo Sugita, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Echoes from the hills—
the mountain cuckoo sings as it will,
trill upon trill
—Hisajo Sugita, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

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

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

Please arrange
these delicate flowers in the bowl
since we lack rice
—Matsuo Basho, translation by Kim Cherub

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

An ancient pond sleeps, quiet and still ...
untroubled ... until ...
suddenly a frog leaps!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Big old pond,
the little frog leaps:
Kerplash!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

The first chill rain, so raw!
Poor monkey, you too could use
a woven cape of straw.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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

As the monks sip their morning tea,
chrysanthemums quietly blossom.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

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

The sea darkens ...
yet still faintly white
the wild duck protests.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Let me die
covered with flowers
and never again wake to this earthly dream!
—Ochi Etsujin, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

To reveal how your heart flowers,
sway like the summer grove.
—Tagami Kikusha-Ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In the thicket’s shade
a solitary woman sings the rice-planting song.
—Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Unaware of these degenerate times,
cherry blossoms abound!
—Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

These silent summer nights
even the stars
seem to whisper.
—Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The enormous firefly
weaves its way, this way and that,
as it passes by.
—Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Composed like the Thinker, he sits
contemplating the mountains:
the sagacious frog!
—Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A fallen blossom
returning to its bough?
No, a butterfly!
—Arakida Moritake, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Illuminated by the harvest moon
smoke is caught creeping
across the water ...
—Hattori Ransetsu, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Fanning its tail flamboyantly
with every excuse of a breeze,
the peacock!
—Masaoki Shiki, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Waves row through the mists
of the endless sea.
—Masaoki Shiki, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

I hurl a firefly into the darkness
and sense the enormity of night.
—Kyoshi Takahama, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

As girls gather rice sprouts
reflections of the rain ripple
on the backs of their hats.
—Kyoshi Takahama, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

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

These wilting August weeds?
The only remains
of warriors' ambitions ...
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

A solitary crow
clings to a leafless branch:
nightfall
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

Standing beneath cherry blossoms
who can be strangers?
—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

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

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, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Brief autumn breeze ...
she always wanted to pluck
the reddest roses
—Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

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

In our world
we walk suspended over hell
admiring flowers.
—Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The childless woman,
how tenderly she caresses
homeless dolls ...
—Hattori Ransetsu, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

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

One leaf falls, enlightenment!
Another leaf falls,
swept away by the wind ...
—Hattori Ransetsu, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Disdaining grass,
the firefly nibbles nettles—
this is who I am.
—Takarai Kikaku, 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

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

My dear Basho,
I too have been accused
of morning glory gazing!
—original haiku by Michael R. Burch

Taming the rage
of an unrelenting sun—
autumn breeze.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The sun sets,
relentlessly red,
yet autumn’s in the wind.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As autumn deepens,
a butterfly sips
chrysanthemum dew.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As autumn draws near,
so too our hearts
in this small tea room.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Nothing happened!
Yesterday simply vanished
like the blowfish soup.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The surging sea crests around Sado ...
and above her?
An ocean of stars.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

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 soon 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

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

Not to worry spiders,
I clean house ... sparingly.
—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

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

Thorny roses
remind me of my hometown ...
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Nearing the white chrysanthemum
the scissors hesitate ...
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

White blossoms of the pear tree:
a young woman
reading her lover’s moonlit letter
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The pear tree flowers whitely:
a young woman reading her lover’s letter
by moonlight
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Pear tree blossoms
whitened by moonlight:
a young woman reading a letter.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Outlined in the moonlight ...
who is that standing
among the pear trees?
—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

Your coolness:
the sound of the bell
departing the bell.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As the moon flies west
the flowers' shadows
creep eastward.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

By such pale moonlight
even the wisteria's fragrance
seems distant.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

On the temple’s great bronze gong
a butterfly
snoozes.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Hard to describe:
this light sensation of being pinched
by a butterfly!
—Yosa Buson, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

gills puffing,
a hooked fish:
the patient
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In an ancient well
fish leap for mosquitoes,
a dark sound.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In the lingering heat
of an abandoned cowbarn
mosquitoes hum darkly.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Among fallen leaves,
an elderly frog.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The stirred morning air
ruffles the caterpillar’s
hair
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Whose delicate clothes
still decorate the clothesline?
Late autumn wind.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Tender grass
forgetful of its roots
the willow
—Yosa Buson, loose translation 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

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

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

The hood-wearer
in his self-created darkness
misses the harvest moon
—Yosa Buson, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

An evening breeze:
water lapping the heron’s legs.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A misty spring moon ...
I entice a woman
to pay it our respects
—Yosa Buson, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Courtesans
purchasing kimonos:
plum trees blossoming
—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

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

The spring sea
rocks all day long:
rising and falling, ebbing and flowing ...
—Yosa Buson, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

As the whale dives
its tail gets taller!
—Yosa Buson, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

A silk robe, casually discarded,
exudes fragrance
into the darkening evening
—Yosa Buson, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

While tilling the field
the motionless cloud
vanished.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Dew-damp grass:
the setting sun’s tears
—Yosa Buson, loose translation by Michael R. Burch
PN-

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

Lately the nights
dawn
plum-blossom white.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) 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 jisei (death poem) and he is said to have died before dawn

In the deepening night
I saw by the light
of the white plum blossoms
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation 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/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The new calendar:
as if tomorrow
can be predicted
—Inahata Teiko, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

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

Because morning glories
held my well-bucket hostage
I went begging for water!
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

My well-bucket being held hostage
by morning glories,
I went begging for water.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Since my well-bucket’s
being held hostage by morning glories,
I go begging for water.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

To listen, fine ...
fine also not to echo,
nightingale.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch, she wrote this poem in calligraphy on a portrait of Matsuo Basho

Upon her engagement to the servant of a samurai:

Will it be bitter,
the first time I bite
an unripe persimmon?
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Written for her only son, who died:

My little dragonfly hunter:
how far away has he wandered
I wonder?
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Her husband died when she was 27 years old:

Rising, I see,
and reclining I see
the web of the mosquito netting ...
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

After she had shaved her head, become a nun and retired from public life:

No more
fixing my hair,
merely warming my hands by the fire ...
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Leaves
like crows’ shadows
flirt with a lonely moon.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The moon settled
in a flower-strewn stream
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

My elderly parents
become my children:
strident cicadas
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Illuminating
my fishing line:
the midsummer moon.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Auspicious straw!
Even the compost
looks glorious!
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

How alarming:
her scarlet fingernails
tending the white chrysanthemums!
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Whatever ...
Leave it to the weather:
withered pampas grass.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Heat waves shimmering
above the wettened rock ...
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The moon:
a morning blur
amid cherry blossoms
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Loneliness
abides within the listener:
the cuckoo’s call
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Skylark,
what do you make
of the trackless sky?
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Returning
from moon-viewing:
we humans, voiceless.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The harvest moon
illuminates these snowdrifts
I trample.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

How contentedly they snore
in the boondocks:
full moon
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The butterfly tip-toes at ebb-tide
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Along her path
butterflies flit,
front and back
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Voiceless
as a butterfly:
the Buddhist service
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Whirling its wings
the butterfly
creates its own wind ...
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The waterweed
washes away
unaware of the butterfly’s weight
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Now and then
a dandelion intrudes
on a butterfly’s dreams
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Sometimes a butterfly
emerges from the mist ...
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A butterfly settles on
cherry blossoms:
nap time!
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Moonflowers blossom:
a woman’s nakedness
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

My painted lips
purified:
crystalline springwater
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A woman’s desire:
the wild violets’
entangled roots
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Her day off:
the ******* wakes
to a frigid morning.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

With the waning moon
silence enters the heart.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

We stoop to pick up ebb-tide pebbles.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Ebb-tide:
everything we stoop to collect
slips through our fingers ...
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

To entangle
or unentangle the willow
is the wind’s will.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Inflating the frog’s belly: looming downpour
Inflating the frog’s belly: pregnant thunderheads
The frog inflates: monsoon soon
The frog inflates: prophet of the deluge
Thunderclouds inflating: the frog’s belly
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Her death poem:

Having seen the moon
I can bid Earth
farewell ...
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Isn’t it good
to wake up alone,
unencumbered?
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

She wakes up
alone,
unencumbered.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Her body-debt paid
she wakes alone—
a frigid night.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Coolness—
strangers meet on a bridge
late at night.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

A woman’s passion
flowers from the roots—
wild violets.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Also a poet arranging words
with its airy wings—
the butterfly.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

It’s child’s play for the cranes
circling the clouds
to celebrate the year’s first sunrise

Cicadas chirp
oblivious to death.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation 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/interpretation 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

Bitter winter wind,
why bellow so
when there's no leaves to blow?
—Natsume Soseki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The lamp extinguished,
once-distant stars
enter my window.
—Natsume Soseki, loose translation/interpretation 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

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

Girls gather rice sprouts:
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, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The wet nurse
paused to consider a bucket of sea urchins
then walked away
—Ippekiro Nakatsuka, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

May I be with my mother
wearing her summer kimono
by the morning window
—Ippekiro Nakatsuka, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The hands of a woman exist
to remove the entrails 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



Keywords/Tags: haiku, Japanese, translation, Oriental, imagery, metaphor, nature, coronavirus, plague, life, death, nature

Keywords/Tags: Burch, original haiku, haiku, nature, spring, summer, fall, autumn, winter, Zen, death, Japan, Japanese, translation, life, aging, time, pain, sorrow, lament, mrbhaiku
Graced Lightning Feb 2014
It's just a bite, what harm could it do?
It triggers a domino effect, because one bite invariably turns into two, and three, and four and all of a sudden you're eating.
But you can't do that, because being skinny will make everything better.
You look in the mirror, hoping to see ribs and spine and hip-bones. You stretch your skin farther over your bones, and watch the fat melt away. You are skinny, and you are indestructible.
Nothing fits.
You shop for new clothes
but they sag in all the wrong places.
Nothing pulls over your chest the way it used to, instead it hangs there limply.
There are inches of extra fabric behind your thighs.
Your hips used to be graceful and womanly, but now you look like a pre-pubescent child.
Being skinny just isn't fun anymore.
But you can't go back, because you remember times when you'd stand in front of dressing room mirrors and clothes would s t r e t c h over your stomach and hips and thighs and *******. Everything would be too tight in all the wrong places.
It is either skinny or fat, never an in-between. You can never be "healthy" because that's fat too.
And the food is still on your plate while all of this runs through your mind and it almost kills you, because it's JUST A BITE.
but it isn't 'just' anything. it's a big deal.
So you leave the bite behind and your stomach begs you for something, anything. And then you see the candy.
The chips.
The diet sodas.
The protein bars.
The brownies.
The ice cream.
The milkshakes.
And suddenly you are out of control, eating it all at once and you can't stop. It goes in but it HAS TO COME OUT.
So you lock yourself in the stall.
You tickle the back of your throat with your pointer finger and it comes back.
Purple,
Orange,
Blue.
Unnatural colors that come from processed foods.
Red,
yellow,
green.
And you are empty again,
crying on the bathroom floor
with no one to save you.
Nakia Feb 2018
Skinny lover
Built like a dove hand crafted from the heavens above
Your icy skin calms my storm
You promise ice and I promise warmth
You're here but quickly fleeting
Your fingertips are losing feelings
So I give them a squeeze and shove your hand in my pocket
I'll kiss them to give you the tingles if you've lost it
The illness blots your mind but don't worry
I have a tissue to wipe it up when you're weary
Skinny lover
Your legs don't meet and I know soon neither will we
You no longer care to be my baby
I pray you see that you're important but you pull my hands apart
Fill the space with your head and tell me that I shouldn't waste prayers on the dead
Skinny lover you break my heart
In the watery reflection of your face you find relief
I wonder why you don't find that in me
Skinny lover
Playing deaths game
I know you're hungry baby just say
Skinny lover life of pain
I just hope you start to crave a hunger for change
Jenna Johnston Dec 2011
This poem was written after watching a few hours of slam poetry on Youtube. Let me know what you think...it's my first shot at slam poetry.*

There are so many words flowing around out there about the big girls. The thick girls, the curvy girls, the p-h-a-t phat girls. About their plush and soft exteriors, their abundant backsides, their willingness to accept themselves and their hopefulness that others will do the same. Their….thereness.
They are beautiful, don’t get me wrong.
They are beautiful.

But what about the skinny girls?

The small girls with petite builds and large hearts and an aversion to the word short. The size two and under girls, the drive thru can’t gain a pound girls, the I AM NOT ANNOREXIC OR BULLEMIC girls.

The girls who will always be referred to as “pixie-like” or “waif-like” or “twig-like.” The perfect model body girls that all of the other girls hate…because of their lack of fat.

Aren’t they beautiful?

The girls with the size 32 bust line, the girls who, at 24, still shop in the junior sections of department stores. The girls who, regardless of their age, their strengths and weaknesses, their experiences, heartaches and joys, disappointments and triumphs, their want or need for life and love will always look like they missed a meal or gave it back purposefully with the intent of becoming even thinner. The girls who, no matter how ******* HARD they try, cannot even weigh 100 lbs soaking ******* wet.

Aren’t they beautiful?

The big girls have to search and search for cute and **** and attractive clothes because of their size. Guess what? So do the skinny girls. Do you know ******* hard it is to find a pair of pants with a size zero waist and a 34 inch leg? To finally find an extra small shirt that doesn’t have one of the top three cartoon characters of the time plastered across the front?

All I’m saying is yes, the thick girls, the curvy girls, the p-h-a-t phat girls…
They are beautiful.

But ******, so am I.
This is an original by Jenna Johnston. If you like it, by all means write it down, but give credit where credit is due, please
Edna Sweetlove May 2015
EDNA:  I believe you recently had a gay little adventure, Vladimir. So why don’t you tell me all about it? I can see you are simply dying to get it off your chest…

VLADIMIR:  Well, Edna, it happened like this. I hadn't cruised the ***** toilet in the park for months and I was ******* randy, absolutely dying for a really good session, so I thought I'd go along here after the pub shut and see what was up, see if there was any ******* ******* action. I wore some **** ****** under my jeans, you know the sort of stuff: red open crotch *******, suspenders and black fishnet stockings. My **** kept dribbling as I was in the pub, just thinking of what might happen down the toilet.  At closing time, I left the pub, my carrier bag in my hand, with a big anticipatory bulge in my pants.

EDNA [gulp]  And then what happened, Vladimir, dear?

VLADIMIR:  Once I got to the toilet, I was surprised there was no one inside, but there were a few nearby shadows in the park, people smoking cigarettes, walking round, looking for it.  Once in the toilet, I selected the cleanest cubicle and took off my jeans and shirt and put them into the carrier bag. I replaced my normal shoes and socks with the white high heeled women's shoes I had waiting in the carrier. Then I waited in the cubicle for someone to come into the toilet.

After only a few moments, I heard footsteps and I looked under the door to see who was there at the ******.  It was a short muscular looking man wearing jeans and Doc Martens. I could see he wasn't *******, but just standing there, though I couldn't see his face. I opened the cubicle door and he turned around to see who was there, so I opened the door wide open so he could see me standing there in the stockings, suspenders and silk ******* with my stiff **** sticking out of the hole in them.

He was about forty and very butch looking with close cropped hair and I could see his **** hardening as he looked at me.  I went over to him and took his **** in my hand and he grabbed hold of mine and started rubbing it.  I got down on my knees and took his short, fat, uncircumcised **** in my mouth; it tasted salty and ******* gorgeous. He grabbed hold of the back of my head and forced his **** deep down my throat nearly making me gag.  I could smell the odour of his ***** hair and I loved it.  He said, "Keep ******* it, you ***** ****, or I'll pull your ******* head off." I loved him talking ***** like that to me.

EDNA [getting a bit excited]  That seems very bold of you both.  What happened next?

VLADIMIR:  In what seemed no time at all, I felt him tense and then I got an enormous mouthful of his hot *****.  I'd never known anyone come so much, he must have had a week's worth in his *****.  After he'd come, he took his **** out of my mouth, put it away and zipped himself up.  I started to get to my feet, but he pushed me backwards onto the filthy floor.  ‘You're lucky I don't knock your face in, you ****,’ he said as he went out.  I love my men to be a bit rough with me, so I was very excited by this.  I half hoped he would punch me but he didn't.

EDNA: [wiping forehead] Well, that’s really very interesting. Did you go home then, dear, or were you still up for it, as the expression goes, Vladimir?    

VLADIMIR:  I got up and dusted myself down.  I could taste his come in my mouth, it was ******* delicious.  I was still incredibly excited, my **** was absolutely rigid and I knew I just needed to give it a couple of rubs and I'd shoot my ***, but I wanted more ***, and I knew once I came, I would just feel like going home.  So I went back into my cubicle and waited to see if anyone else came in.

After about five minutes I heard footsteps, followed by more footsteps again and I looked under the door a second time.  There were two men standing there and, by straining my neck, I could see they were groping each other.  One had one hand on the other's **** and his other hand on his **** and the other man was working on the first man's **** as well.  

I let the door open and they both swung round as they hadn't known there was anyone else in the toilet.  They saw me and looked relieved it wasn't a policeman lurking in there.  One was quite young, about twenty or twenty five, but he was a bit skinny and effeminate-looking.  The other one was much older, about fifty, but he was much better looking and I could see he had a huge **** on him.  I walked over to them in my **** rigout and joined in with the wanking.  They both started feeling my **** under my *******.

I turned round and bent over, my hands on the toilet cubicle doorposts, stuck my **** out invitingly and pulled my ******* down to my knees.  ’Why don't you **** me?’ I said, bold as brass.  The older man, the one with the big ****, left the young skinny guy and took up the offer I had made.  He undid his trousers and pulled his underpants down to reveal the full length of his enormous **** and his big hairy *****.  He spat on his hand and rubbed it on his ****, but he needn't have bothered because I had already lubed my **** when I was waiting in my cubicle.  

He slipped his big **** up my moist ******* without much difficulty and then started ******* me gently.  I told him to **** me harder, to **** me harder than he had ever ****** anyone in his life, so he started to really ram it up my hole.  God, I loved it.

EDNA [sweating with mounting excitement and unable to resist touching herself down there]  Mmmmm. I wish I’d been there to see that, I really, really do.  But don’t let me disturb your narrative flow, darling….

VLADIMIR:   Then the young skinny guy got down on his knees in front of me and took my **** in his mouth.  Each time the man who was giving it to me ****** hard into me, I jolted forward and rammed my **** deep into the skinny guy's mouth.  I was moaning with ecstasy as I got ****** and ****** by two complete strangers.  The guy with the big **** couldn't last long and soon shot his load up my **** and as he did it he said, ‘O Christ, I'm coming, I'm coming, I'm shooting my ***** up your ******* *******.’  This made me incredibly excited and I came off in the younger man's mouth.  The skinny youngster was wanking his own **** as he knelt in front of me and I know he came as I felt the ***** splashing on my stockinged legs.

As he removed his still fat **** from my gaping hole, a stream of the older man's ***** ran down my legs.  He said he wished his wife would let him **** her in the ******* like that.  I went to kiss him but when he smelled the ***** on my face from the butch one I'd ****** off earlier, he wasn't having any of it and left with a mumbled goodbye.

The younger man had now got to his feet and was standing in front of me as he buttoned himself up.  He said ‘We can wait a few minutes and then we can do it again if you like.  I'd love you to **** me, you've got a lovely ****.’  But it was no good, the magic had passed and I told him to ****** off.

So I went back into the cubicle, got changed back into my ordinary clothes and left the toilet.  I could feel ***** oozing out of my ******* and I could taste the first load in my mouth still.  I had a smile on my face. It had been a great night out.

EDNA:  [removing her hand from inside her ******* as unobtrusively as possible and trying to disguise the fact she has just had a cataclysmic ******]  Wow, that’s really a very exciting story. It’s made old Edna quite hot and bothered. You really are a very naughty boy, Vladimir.

VLADIMIR: Would you like me to tell you about what happened to me in the old cinema down by the docks?

EDNA: [still throbbing a bit] No, dear, that will be the subject of another interview. We don't want to over-excite our readers, do we?

*THE END
Mak Jul 2014
cameras flash
                                                           ­                                       lights blare
mother smiles
heart aches
                            stomach rumbles
                                                         ­   agent is pleased
skinny skinny skinny
                                                          ­                                          must be skinny
                                                         must be pretty
                                                          ­                                      must be perfect
must be good enough
                                                       not enough
                                                      neve­r enough
                                                     ugly ugly ugly
why do people
                                                          ­                                           even like me
                                                     ugly model
                                                     ugly girl
                                                        hate­ me
        cutting carving creating
                                                        ­                                              scars
             ­                                            drink drank drunk
drip drip
                                                       hoping I'll
                                                            ­                                              just
bleed
        ­                      out.
madison Jun 2014
"Go to the pool."
"Ride your bike for once."
"Go to the gym with your friends."
"Play in the park."
"You can't eat **** like that and expect to not gain any weight."
"Get off your **** and stop being lazy."
"Why can't you be more active?"
"You're such a ******."

Why do you always pick on me? I try to do those things but when you leave a list of chores that take 6 hours, its not like I can do much. All while I'm babysitting your children. I just wish I could be the "skinny" daughter that you want. I'm comfortable in my body until you say these things. Then when I start to feel better, you knock me down again.

Should I stop eating all together and finally give you,

**Skinny?
Some things my mother just told me while I was washing the dishes

— The End —