From the Icebox inbox 4


Down Genju-an’s mossy steps

Still damp with typhoon rain;

Like walking on ice………………………(Ted Taylor, in Shiga)


good timing: returned to

cool rain falling on friends’

heated brows: I laugh.……………….(Richard Steiner, in Kyoto)


Rowing in the street –

As I walk past, they both stop

To ask for a light.………………………..(Kamome, in England)

4 Responses to “From the Icebox inbox 4”

  1. From our Submissions page, three poems that make you think. Genju-an (The Hut of Illusions) near Ishiyamadera was where Basho wrote his Genjuan-no-Ki haibun about life in his borrowed hermitage. ‘Rowing in the street’ means there’s a flood? If so, the poet is obviously getting wet.

  2. marksrichardson Says:

    “Rowing,” here, must mean “arguing, scuffling” (from the phrase, more common in the UK than in the US, to “have a row”). Is that right? “Rowing” is not idiomatic in this sense, I believe (not in the US anyway). But I find the scene caught in this haiku delightful. I take the idea to be: “These men are squabbling, and yet when I pass they turn–a little ridiculously, after all–to ask for a light.” Very nice.

  3. Thanks for the elucidation, Mark. ‘Row’ as in ‘now’ rather than ‘row’ as in ‘snow’. To ‘row’ = to ‘argue’.

  4. Yes, Mark, you and Tito are right. It has been raining heavily in Hastings, but not so much that people are rowing rowboats in the streets. The original title of this piece was ‘Credit Crunch’, but many impecunious Hastonians will forego an argument just to ‘ponce’ a light off a passing stranger.

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