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This poem appeared in the haiku magazine Taka in March Thin ice was stretched like a film over the surface of the water, so clear it seemed it would shatter at the touch.

Kagura uta. In ancient times, performances of kagura , sacred Shinto dance and song, were often held at court during the winter and thus we have these lyrics. They contain the only extant usage of the phrase toyo no asobi , which is assumed to mean kagura. From ancient times, dancing wildly before the gods was used to reach a state of trance after which, possessed, one danced holding bamboo leaves.

The use of bamboo leaves in the lyrics here must be related to that. Masaoka Shiki. A heavy snow was falling outside, the first in a long time, and while imagining what it looked like as it piled up, Shiki asked his mother and young sister, who looked after him, how high it was again and again. Mitsuhashi Takajo. Where is the firebird flying? And it holds in its beak a single hailstone, against whose glittering ice the flames that engulf the bird increase in brightness.

Takajo died in at the age of seventy-three. Takahashi Awajijo. Takahashi Awajijo was a haiku poet born in Kobe ; she died in , at the age of sixty-four. Its mistress has no one to talk to; beyond the bird, there is only silence. The author was widowed early and brought up her only child alone, never remarrying. Kusano Shinpei. As a boy, I read this poem in some anthology and have a vivid memory of my excitement at realizing for the first time how much poetry could convey with just a few words. He had, he recorded, spent the whole day by the sea. Haiku are, of course, usually seventeen syllables and this is no exception.

In its manner of division, however, it is unusual, being divided into syllables instead of the conventional Read slowly, with slight pauses between each line, the Japanese gives an effect of hushed stillness. Kubota Fujiko.


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From Niwa Suzume Garden Sparrows, But they later returned to Takagi, where her husband died of illness. She spent most of her life in Takagi. Persimmons hung out to dry are a beautiful sight in mountain villages from late autumn to early winter. This poem has a quiet, tranquil tone.

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The author must have had a special feeling for persimmons. Abe Midorijo. A haiku poet born in Sapporo , Midorijo died in at age Water is sleeping lightly beneath the withered reeds on a cloudy day. Just a simple description, but somehow it evokes a world of great depth. Kan Chazan. A leading poet of Chinese verse in the late Edo Period. Banquets and bribes to butter up our betters: one of those styles of life that knows no season.

Jean Cocteau. The coincidence in form between ears and seashells opens a door to the wide sea. The natural beauty and grace of the Japanese makes the reader forget it is a translation. Yamakawa Tomiko. From Yamakawa Tomiko , Vol. No one would call the last half of her life very happy, but, with a presentiment of the death that would soon claim her, she wrote that she wanted to be born a woman again in her next life.

Wakayama Bokusui. Oitaru wa. Kono kuni ni.

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Yosano Hiroshi Tekkan. The old men. In this country. From Kashi no Ha Oak Leaves, , a collection of modern-style poems and tanka. One of six tanka lamenting the accidental deaths of the crew of Submarine No. The captain, Lt. Junior Grade Sakuma Tsutomu, continued to write his log up until the moment he died, and his composure and bravery were greatly praised. Hiroshi wrote several tanka and modern-style poems in this vein and they deserve more attention than they have been given until now. For six years, due to tuberculosis and spinal decay, he had been confined to bed, doing virtually nothing but write.

Saogami is Saohime , the goddess of spring. Saogami no wakare is the parting from spring. Shiki loved spring. He did live on through spring of the following year, but died in the early autumn, on September 19, Born into a high-ranking samurai family, he contracted ear disease and for many years worked as a poorly paid scribe at the Takasaki District Court in order to support his wife and 10 children.

He studied haiku with the young Masaoka Shiki and then Takahama Kyoshi. A blinded fighting cock is of no use anymore.


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  • One would expect it to be killed, but out of pity, its owner still keeps it. The poet sees himself in the rooster but avoids sentimentality by letting only the rooster into the poem. Ikadai Kaichi. From Aratae Rough Cloth, A tanka poet from Takaoka City , Kaichi died in , at the age of He worked as an elementary school music teacher until he was quite old. As a resident of downtown Tokyo for many years, he created his own unique world, depicting in poems the poverty, pain and sadness of urban life among the lower classes. The decade of , not so long ago in years, has become part of the distant past.

    Kubota Utsubo.

    WRITING HAIKU POEMS - ENGLISH WRITING CLASS

    A cottage in the mountains at the beginning of spring. Sugawara no Michizane. Kamasugo is ikanago , sand eel, not the larger kamasu , saury-pike. Kaze kaoru , fragrant wind, is a summer season word which captures the special freshness of summer breezes that come from the southeast.

    Heaven is a vast sea, and the clouds floating in it are high, foaming waves. The moon, a boat, crosses them, and disappears into a forest of stars. Someone in ancient times may have looked at the moon boat crossing the heavenly sea and fantasized something like a UFO, come from a far-off star. The omoro is a sacred song of prayer to the gods for the prosperity and good harvests of a village community. Modoro , blazing, means to burn so brightly the shape is blurred.

    This poem is a hymn of praise to the morning sun, sublime in its vision of the rising sun as a gigantic flower. Nakamabushi, yomibito shirazu. Nakama song, Anonymous. Authorship is diverse. There are 30 syllables, arranged , and it was sung to samisen accompaniment. It entered Yamato together with the samisen, and had a great influence on the development of pre-modern song, which is based on a form. A poem like a sigh that escaped a woman left behind when her man set off for the Eastern provinces, this is a good example of the sophistication of pre-modern song.

    The compression of the first line is especially fine. I will never speak his name, will hide it forever in my heart, she vows. Yomibito shirazu. Kumo no hatate ni means to the end of the clouds. Amatsu sora naru hito means a person in the sky above, that is, a person one loves but who is impossibly far above one in rank. The speaker is probably male, and the object of his affections a woman of such high rank that, under the prevailing social system, he could never win her.

    The poem, however, transcends such realistic circumstances and expresses the longing and anguish common to all who love. This poem has enjoyed wide popularity, and is the prototype of poems about the melancholy, unrequited lover gazing at the sky. It is as if the classical world of the preceding poem was reborn in linked verse.

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    Ayaniku means unfortunately. Wazurau means sick, but here implies love-sickness. Izumi Shikibu. The prefatory note says that Shikibu composed this poem while watching the fireflies fly over Mitarashi River during a retreat at Kibune Shrine in Kurama, after her lover had forsaken her. It was believed that the body and the soul were originally separate, and that the soul split off at times of great sadness, as here, akugare , in longing. Sunk in grief, even the flickering light of the fireflies in the darkness looks like her own soul strayed from her body.

    Tanaka Fuyuji. Tanaka was a free verse poet who died in at the age of Many readers were devoted to him because of his precise observation of seasonal sights all over Japan and the refined and elegant simplicity of his diction. In reality, the new moon could never be reflected for hours in the eyes of a bream after it has been caught; but imagining the sharp, thin shape of the new moon, it comes to seem possible. Only with the new moon, though: If it were a full moon, the effect would be ruined.