Haiga sensei’s haibun

The Bush Warbler

by Tsuchi-no-ko

It was still quite cold, but at eleven in the morning on the twenty-first of February this year, a bush warbler appeared. I watched in silence. It flew down to the old deutzia clump … then to just beside the boiler for the bath … on to the nandin bush … and around the square drainage sump – all places where little insects might be had.

I had some cheese which I pinched out a little of, every now and then, and made into rounded pellets. These I set outside.

Somehow or other, all this filled me with glee.


ura niwa ni  uguisu yatte  kite-kureta

……….Into the back garden

……….… a bush warbler has

……………….deigned to come.

(trans. from the Japanese by SHG)


3 Responses to “Haiga sensei’s haibun”

  1. Tsuchi-no-ko led Hailstone Haiku Circle in a haiga workshop meet two years ago at Nijo in Kyoto. Many of those who came will be pleased to read (and see) that at 91 years of age now, he is still full of beans. I like the fact that in his haibun nothing much happens, yet that is so vividly and affectionately portrayed. The haiku, too, might just be a masterpiece of understatement? It all hinges on the ‘deigned’ (kureta), as if the bird had granted a personal favour to the poet.

  2. My smile was more than understated; a wide grin!

  3. I love “deigned” as well, and the unabashed use of “glee.” Most of all I loved the precise description– weird in its ordinariness– of the offering made to the revered bush warbler: pinched pellets of cheese!

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