My friend’s haiku

I went to my former apartment to have a talk with some residents there. It felt like old alumni meeting up.

During our four hours of chat, one person asked me to translate her haiku. They are important to her because she made these when she was recovering from illness. She wanted to see how they sounded in English. So I tried some translations, but I’d appreciate others’ feedback.

月燃えて地に光の矢放ちけり
Down to the globe
The blazing moon shoots
Arrows of light

宵闇をきらきらと縫ふ翼の灯
Lights of the wing
Twinkles like a stitch
Dark evening sky

14 Responses to “My friend’s haiku”

  1. I’ve time now only to comment on the first. Perhaps someone else can help with the second?
    I like the sun shooting out arrows of light (except that the original has 月 the moon !). The ‘globe’ is not the best word for 地: perhaps ‘our earth’ or ‘this ground’ might be better ? ‘shooting’ rather than ‘shoots’ for me, too. Others may not agree with me, though.
    Perhaps you should revise your post with the word ‘moon’ and save it on-screen? If you wish me to do this for you, I can.

  2. I chose the word “ground” at first.
    Could you revise as you suggested?

  3. Down to the globe
    The blazing moon shoots
    Arrows of light

    I understand that this is a translation. Does the poet mean the earth or is globe supposed to be that round item one finds in a library or a school room? If your friend means the earth, then it would be better to not use globe as my first thought was of a classroom or library with a metal or wooden globe placed near a window.

    What does the poet mean with the use of “arrows?” I think arrows implies thin streaks of light coming through trees,. I can envision that image, but I think globe should be changed to earth.

    Adelaide

    • Anonymous Says:

      The image of the metal round globe amused me. But it makes sense in a way. I imagined the author of the original haiku was on the flat ground at first. She had an operation for her cancer. She had no room to see things around for the time being. But when she began to recover, she got the energy to look up. And this haiku is what she saw at that time in her sensitive mind. I had an image of her standing on the globe.
      Nori

  4. Hisashi Miyazaki Says:

    Hi, Nori-san: How about this for your second one?
    as if stitching the evening sky –
    twinkles of the wing

  5. The words ‘Lights’ and ‘Twinkles’ sound a bit redundant, don’t they, Nori? The epithet ‘Dark’ is not always necessary haiku-wise, I think. I would agree with Hisashi’s suggestion. Changing it in three-line style …
    The wing
    Stitches the evening sky
    Twinkling.

    • Oh, the flashing light of an aeroplane!? Or late sunlight glinting off its wings high, high above the dusk? Originally I thought ‘wings’ was plural and of birds. But きらきら…. Perhaps only Nori can tell us, but she’s off abroad at present. Thanks for the
      enlightenment, Toshi.

    • Anonymous Says:

      Thank you for your comments. The author said she felt like the lights of the aircraft looked like the stitches of sewing in the sky.
      Nori

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