Saturday, May 3, 2008

Japanese poems

Haiku is from the Japanese. Here are a couple little poems I found in my anthology of world poetry that are very haiku-ish. Translated by Arthur Waley:

Princess Daihaku (7th century)
How will you manage
to cross alone
the autumn mountain
which was so hard to get across
even when we went the two of us together?

The Priest Hakutsu (about 704)
O pine tree standing
at the side of the stone house,
when I look at you,
it is like seeing face to face
the men of old time.

If only, when one heard
that Old Age was coming
one could bolt the door,
answer "not at home"
and refuse to meet him!

Nakatsukasa (between 883 and 946)
If it were not for the voice
of the nightingale,
how would the mountain-village
where the snow is still unmelted
know the spring?

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