Saturday, February 27, 2010

rain or shine

Issa 一茶  1811 age 49


ama-gasa mo higasa mo anata makase kana

David’s English

sun hats...
trust in Buddha!

The phrase anata makase ("trust in the Beyond!") refers specifically to trusting in the saving power of Amida Buddha. "Umbrella-hats" (ama-gasa) and "parasols" (higasa) protect from rain and sun, respectively. Issa's meaning seems to be: Rain or shine, the best course is to trust in Buddha!

sakuo haiga

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

morning glory

Masajo 真砂女 1969 age 63


asagao wa mi ni shiawase wa chisaki ni taru

Lee&Emiko’s English

morning -glory

the small promise of its seeds

is sufficient

I will not set my hopes too high. This humble happiness at hand now is what I must treasure. T morning-glory that bloomed every morning is bearing seeds now. I will gather them for next year to grow the beautiful flowers again.

Seasonal word: morning-glory (autumn)

sakuo haiga

Monday, February 22, 2010

sleeping tree

Issa 一茶 1813 age 51

naga no hi ya binzuru dono to nemu [no] hana

David’s English

a long day--
Holy Binzuru and blossoms
sleeping tree

Binzuru is a Buddhist saint, one of the 16 Enlightened Ones. Folk custom dictates that if one prayerfully rubs his image, he or she will recover from illness;

sakuo haiga

Friday, February 19, 2010

spring dry

Masajo 真砂女 1969 age 63


waga kumeba izumi karuruka tsumi amata

Lee & Emiko translation

when I draw water

will the spring run dry?

so many sins of mine

Seasonal word: a spring ( summer)

Sakuo Haiga

Saturday, February 13, 2010

sulky pose

Issa 一茶1815 age 52


imo ga ko ya jikuneta nari de yobu hotaru

David’s English

my child strikes
a sulky pose
calling fireflies

The phrase, imo ga ko ("sister's child") means, in literary usage, "my wife's child," ergo, "my child." (Shinji Ogawa). Issa was newly married when he wrote this poem but still without children. Perhaps he is looking ahead with optimism, imagining that the child in the scene is his own.

sakuo haiga

Thursday, February 11, 2010

washing at night

Masajo 真砂女 1969, age 63


yosusugi no onore hitori no mono bakari

Lee & Emikos English

washing at night---

all the laundry

is my own

Seasonal word: washing at night (summer)

sakuo haiga

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

fifty year-old face

Issa 一茶1815 age 52


degawari no ichi ni sarasu ya go ju^ kao

David’s English

a laid-off servant at market--
his fifty year-old face

In springtime, old servants were replaced by young ones. The old ones would leave their employers to return to their home villages; the young ones traveled in the opposite direction. In earlier times this took place during the Second Month; later, the Third Month. Shinij Ogawa corrected my earlier translation. Instead of fifty faces (as I had assumed), there is just one fifty year-old face.

sakuo haiga

Friday, February 05, 2010

green green

Masajo 真砂女 1969, age 63


aoki aoki ochi ume fuminu kyo- awan

Lee & Emikos English

green green

a fallen plum I stepped on ---

I yearn to see him today

Seasonal word: Japanese plum ( summer )

sakuo haiga

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

a year older

Issa 一茶1803 age 41 staying in Edo.


toshitori ni tsuru mo oritaru hatake kana

David’s English

also a year older
the crane flies down...
a field

The season word in this haiku, toshitori, ("growing old") relates to the year's ending; in the traditional Japanese system for counting age, everyone gains a year on New Year's Day. The crane, a symbol of longevity, has gained another year--as has Issa.

sakuo haiga

Monday, February 01, 2010

mass of hair

Masajo 真砂女 1969, age 63


shinenu kami te ni suki amaru hotaru kana

Lee & Emikos English

unable to die

I comb the mass of hair in my hand…


How many times in lifetime do we think dying? No matter how seriously we think, we can not kill ourselves so easily when the time comes. It is said that

the less happy a woman is the greater the volume of hair she has.

Seasonal word: firefly (summer)

sakuo haiga