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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Issa Haiku

in the footprints
of the warrior...

Issa 1803

tsuwamono ga ashi no ato ari keshi no hana

An anti-war poem? Certainly, Issa feels compassion for the fragile flowers trampled by the soldier. The symbolism is heavy. This haiku has the prescript, "North Wind" (haifû), which the editors of Issa zenshû describe as an allusion to an old poem; Issa zenshû (Nagano: Shinano Mainichi Shimbunsha, 1976-79) 2.141, note 6. Shinji Ogawa believes that Issa might also be echoing Bashô's haiku in Oku no hosomichi ("Narrow Road to the Far Provinces"): "summer grasses.../ all that remains/ of warriors' dreams."

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