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By Robert Hass

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)

Poet Bio

Born in San Francisco, Robert Hass has spent much of his life in his home state of California. The beauty of the West Coast has contributed to the themes of nature and sensory experiences present in Hass’s poetry. His collection Sun Under Wood won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Hass served as U.S. Poet Laureate from 1995 to 1997.

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