Kobayashi Issa

This weekend, I read a book of Issa’s haiku. His poems are full of humor and melancholy; apparently he had an incredibly tragic life. He does more with a few words than some people (me) do with whole pages. Here are some favorites:

This world of dew
is only a world of dew –
and yet…


Just to say the word
home, that one word alone,
so pleasantly cool


As the great old trees
are marked for felling, the birds
build their new spring nests


The snail gets up
And goes to bed
With very little fuss


In my old home
which I forsook, the cherries
are in bloom.


For you too, my fleas,
the night passes so slowly.
But you won’t be lonely.


A world of trials,
and if the cherry blossoms,
it simply blossoms


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