New Year’s morning—
everything is in blossom!   
   I feel about average.

   A huge frog and I   
staring at each other,   
   neither of us moves.

   This moth saw brightness   
in a woman’s chamber—
   burned to a crisp.

   Asked how old he was   
the boy in the new kimono   
   stretched out all five fingers.

   Blossoms at night,   
like people
   moved by music

   Napped half the day;   
no one
   punished me!

Fiftieth birthday:

   From now on,   
It’s all clear profit,   
   every sky.

   Don’t worry, spiders,   
I keep house   
   casually.

   These sea slugs,   
they just don’t seem   
   Japanese.

Hell:

   Bright autumn moon;   
pond snails crying   
   in the saucepan.

  • Robert Hass, “After the Gentle Poet Kobayashi Issa” from Field Guide. Copyright © 1973 by Robert Hass. Reprinted with the permission of Yale University Press, http://www.yale.edu/yup/.

  • Source: Field Guide (1973)

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