Haiku: An Anthology of Japanese Poems, by Stephen Addiss, Fumiko Yamamoto, and Akira Yamamoto

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Four stars, read in May 2011.

I have never cared much for poetry, but wow. It turns out that I adore Japanese haiku. I think if I’d known that haiku are usually about the seasons and nature, I might have been interested sooner. These poems are so simple and beautiful. Since they’re only three short lines, they’re very much like snapshots, and the scene that pops into your head is as much a part of the poem as the actual words. Just gorgeous. Here are a few of my favorites:

Dragonfly on a rock—
absorbed in
a daydream

Santōka

 

An old well—
falling into its darkness
a camellia

Buson

 

Early autumn—
peering through willows
the morning sun

Seibi

 

Pear blossoms—
a woman reads a letter
by moonlight

Buson

 

Sharing the same blood
but we’re not related—
the hateful mosquito!

Jōsō

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