Friday, December 22, 2006

men have plucked little pines

by Issa, 1820
he had lost already two children.
David’s commment
This haiku has the prescript, "The crane's inscription." Cranes were famous for their fantastic longevity. This haiku offers a crane's-eye perspective that spans thousands of ages. Pulling up a young pine tree on the first day of Rat is a custom that originated in China. Shinji Ogawa explains that its purpose was to bring good luck or longevity. Samisu is an old verb with the modern equivalent, anadoru: to despise, to hold in contempt; Kogo dai jiten (Shogakukan 1983) 719.


understatementman said...

I am very pleased to find your website. Issa is my favorite poet. Do you know where I can find one of his haiku written in japanese? I have a favorite, and I would like to have it the original written language.


Unknown said...

Thank you Christopher san for your comment.
Original Issa,
hito no hiku komatsu no chiyo ya samisuran.

You can see the original by clicking the picture. Then the image will be enlarged.