Saturday, May 24, 2008

first frost

first frost--
my teeth could crack radishes
up to last year

hatsu shimo ya kuki no hagire mo kyonen made
by Issa, 1806
Jean Cholley notes that this haiku is one of many that laments Issa's loss of his teeth as he grew older; En village de miséreux: Choix de poèmes de Kobayashi Issa (Paris: Gallimard, 1996) 236-37. Literally, he misses cracking "stems" (kuki): vagetables like radishes. I substitute "radishes" in my translation to make his meaning clear.
Trans and comment, David Lanoue

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