Issa 一茶 1821
yase nomi wo furuu ya neko mo yu^ harai
rousting his skinny fleas
the cat too...
This haiku refers to a Shinto purification ritual that takes place in Sixth Month in the traditional Japanese calendar. One of the observances is to launch special shrine boats in water; see Kiyose (Tokyo: Kakugawa Shoten, 1984) 162. Shinji Ogawa adds that the most popular forms of the ritual involve (1) entering a shrine through the chinowa (a large ring made of woven reeds) or (2) going to a river and releasing a paper boat containing a paper doll (katashiro). As the doll drifts away it is thought to take "all unclean things with it."