if someone comes
change into frogs!
hito kitara kawazu to nare yo hiyashi uri
This whimsical haiku inspired the title of Matthew Gollub's children's book about Issa: Cool Melons--Turn To Frogs!: The Life and Poems of Issa (New York: Lee & Low Books, 1998). Illustrations by Kazuko G. Stone.
The poem is, indeed, one that has helped to earn for Issa the reputation of being a "child's poet." Issa probably wouldn't mind this label, as long as we hasten to add that he's a "grown-up's poet" too. In fact, one could argue that his childlike way of looking at the world--innocently, playfully, imaginatively, without preconceptions--is more aimed at his adult readers than at children. Adults have so much more to unlearn!
via David Gerard, the generous man behind Daily Issa http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dailyissa/