Archive for March 21, 2019

Burns’ Haiku?

Posted in Poem excerpt, Translation with tags , on March 21, 2019 by Tito

On April 2, two or three members of the Hailstone Haiku Circle will join the Meguro International Haiku Circle for an English haiku ginko and reading event in the Yanaka-Ueno district of Tokyo. For many years, their kukai was led by Catherine Urquhart, who has now returned to the UK and created the Edinburgh Haiku Circle. In the MIHC’s 2014 book, Haiku: 20th Anniversary, kindly sent me by Yasuomi Koganei, there is a piece by Catherine entitled, If Burns had been a haiku poet …, and with her permission, I will here reproduce five of her lovely ‘Japanese haiku’ versions of passages from poems by the 18th Century Scottish Bard, Robert Burns, who was a contemporary of Issa and, with his eye on the poor man, animals, insects and the uncompromising weather, very much a kindred spirit.
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鋤牛を放す農家や日短し
sukiushi o hanasu nouka ya hi mijikashi

farmer unfastening
his oxen from the plough
fast the night draws in

(from The Cotter’s Saturday Night)

 

霜柱乞食仲間の酔いと恋
shimobashira kojiki nakama no yoi to koi

needles of frost
love and drunkenness
among beggars

(from The Jolly Beggars)

 

礼拝す美人の帽に虱着く
reihai su bijin no bou ni shirami tsuku

Sunday worship
a louse takes up position
on a beauty’s hat

(from To a Louse)

 

友土葬草におのおの露の玉
tomo dosou kusa ni onoono tsuyu no tama

friend in the earth
on each and every blade of grass
a dewy diamond

(from Elegy on Captain Matthew Henderson)

 

夜の滝迷子羊の帰り待つ
yoru no taki maigo hitsuji no kaeri matsu

in the night
the waterfall and the wait
for my lost lamb

(from My Hoggie)

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