this sudden fondness for my life

“Employ everyday speech to transcend everyday speech,” wrote Yosa Buson (1716-1784), the Japanese poet and painter who was a disciple of the haiku master Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694), and a striking writer himself. Today, I realized that in the seven years I’ve had this blog, I’ve yet to post the transcendent simplicity of haiku. So let’s amend that. Here are a few Buson haikus from the wonderful Tavern Books collection.

In winter rain
every place
looks like its past.

In the haze of the moon
arm my only pillow
this sudden fondness for my life

Some stars
although it’s not yet dark shining
over scarred fields

Deer in the rain
three cries
then nothing

Weary old willows
how long the road will be
when you are lost from sight

translated by Franz Wright