Selected haiku

Haiku translations: a collaboration between Emiko Miyashita, Claudia Brefeld and Eva Moering

"Here the idea and background of this project can be found.



Selection and commentary by Masako Kakutani,
HIA director

雪 深 く / 二 羽 の 鳥 が 跳 ね る / マ ル メ ロ の 茂 み の 中

deep snow
two birds hop inside
the quince bush

deep snow
two birds hop in
the quince bush

ブ ル ー ス ・ ロ ス ROSS, Bruce (USA)

Two birds hop in the quince bush in the deep snow. The forest is completely covered with pure white snow. In the silence that soaks up all the noises, one can hear a certain sound of life. “Deep snow / the quince bush /” - through the use of nouns, the haiku captures a calm atmosphere. “Two birds hop” - through the use of verbs it emphasizes their movement. It is a poetic work with stylistic sensitivity.

せ め ぎ 合 ふ 流 氷 湾 を 閉 ざ し け り

semegiau / ryūhyō wan o/tozashikeri

Ice floes
fighting each other
close the bay

熊谷佳 久 子 KUMAGAI Kakuko

In Japan, the drift ice from the Sea of ​​Okhotsk, northeast of Hokkaido, is very well known. I once did a tour from Abashiri town on an icebreaker. The city is very popular with tourists and it is breathtaking to see the sheets of ice that come into the bay one by one. The description in this haiku of huge blocks of ice “colliding” is powerful and realistic. They rush into the bay and eventually close it. It is a great natural spectacle that has been repeated over and over again since time immemorial.

春雨 や 夜 も 昼 も と も す 書 斎 の 灯

harusame ya / yo mo hi mo tomosu / shosai no hi

Spring rain
from morning to night
a light illuminates my study

白 根 順子 SHIRANE Junko

It rained all the time. In contrast to the darkness of the rainy season, the spring rain is lighter, but you still need light for reading and writing. The author may have been writing all along. He leaves the lights on in his study not only at night but also during the day. His family will be sure to watch the light coming from his study and try not to disturb him too much. The mood of the spring rain gives this poem its charm.

ど こ も 見 て を ら ず 鮫 の 眼 浅 み ど り

dokomo mite / orazu same no me / asamidori

Look into the void
Shark eyes
pale green

内 村 恭子 UCHIMURA Kyoko

Is it a shark that has been sorted out from the catch and is lying in the harbor? Or is it a shark slowly swimming around in an aquarium? After all, the shark has to live. Otherwise, the shark's empty eyes, with their obscure point of observation, would not be alive. “Pale green” at the end suggests a feeling of futility.

潮 騒 は 時 に 小夜曲 玉 椿

shiosai wa / toki ni sayokyoku / tamatsubaki

des camellias,
le bruit des vagues
This is a serenade

the sound of the waves
is sometimes a serenade

ヘ ン リ ー 殿 様 HENRY Tonosama

The author stands on the beach at night and listens to the tides. Or maybe he is listening to the tides while he sleeps in a seaside inn with his forehead pressed to the window. The repeated sound of the waves is calm, like a serenade. The night goes on and leaves us to the pleasant sound. Camellia trees often grow wild on a cape, and there must be camellias here too. The combination of small camellia and serenade deepens the poetic mood.


And here are five more haiku - selected by Emiko Miyashita

人形 も 腹 話 術 師 も 風邪 心地

ningyō mo / fukuwajutsushi mo / kazegokochi

both the puppet
as well as the ventriloquist
a chill

塚 月 凡 太 TSUKAZUKI Bonta

鎮 ま れ と 諭 す が ご と く 春 の 雪

shizumare to / satosu ga gotoku / haru no yuki

Chill out!
the spring snow falls


駆 け 上 る 空 へ 百 頭牛 の 凧

kakenoboru / sora e hyakutō / ushi no tako

A hundred cows
run up the sky -
a kite train

水田 博 子 MIZUTA Hiroko

夏 帽 に 触 れ て 返 礼 町 の 医 者

natsubō ni / furete henrei / machi no isha

the family doctor
touching his summer hat
he replies the greeting

住 吉 ミ ナ SUMIYOSHI Mina

撫 牛 に 元朝 の 雪 数 セ ン チ

nadeushi ni / ganchō no yuki/sū sencha

New Years Morning -
in the image of the holy ox
a few inches of snow

各 務 惠 紅 KAKAMI Keikou

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Haiku International No. 159 (June 2023)

Selected Haiku translations of Haiku: a collaboration between Emiko Miyashita, Claudia Brefeld and Eva Moering »The idea and background of this project can be found here.

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