Seven “Go To” Haiku

Over autumn and winter, my partner and I made full use of the government’s short-lived Go To Travel campaign. Our trips took us as far north and south as Hokkaido and Okinawa. Here are a few haiku from those journeys.

The following three were written on a trip to Matsushima. Unfortunately, Matsushima itself (we did a bay cruise) didn’t inspire me to the extent that it did the great Basho. Rather, my main inspiration was on the train getting there.

Not for frail eyes
these persimmon stark on
an azure sky

From this train seat—
a yard fire, but without
the smell of smoke

Another haiku from on the train was of an exchange between a child and his parents.

Oysters on trees?
Laughing, they answer him,
Persimmon, son!

(N.B. In Japanese, both persimmons and oysters are pronounced the same: “kaki.”)

Then, from a visually confusing moment experienced on a beach (because poor eyesight can also be poetic!):

Sand-scuttling crabs
flock and take to the air,
yes, as sparrows!

And one from the commercial center—called Makishi—of Naha City, Okinawa:

Sitting in threes
Makishi’s old women
sort bean sprouts

Finally, from Yamagata (post-Go To, actually):

From snowy ground
a blackbird beats its way
up to the eaves

No lovelier
winter thatch than your black
snow-capped hair

5 responses to “Seven “Go To” Haiku

  1. Thanks for posting, David. I especially enjoyed the yard fire/no smell haiku, which, as it turns out, is the second ‘no scent’ haiku in the Icebox this year!

  2. Thanks for sharing these Seven “Go To” Haiku. A nice variety of images. I’ve always wanted to visit Matsushima. Oh well . . .

    I was intrigued by the phrases “these persimmon stark . . . ,” and “Sitting in threes”

    • Hi Gerald, thanks for the feedback. Maybe Basho saw Matsushima in a different season or weather than we did. Maybe he had a human encounter that profoundly colored his view of the place. I wouldn’t dissuade anyone from visiting, but the expectations set by Basho were too high.

      I appreciated having the phrases pointed out that made an impression on you. It’s funny because they weren’t stand-out for me when I wrote them; but, it’s interesting to look at them again now.

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