Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Roberta Beary & Vassilis Zambaras: Wednesday Haiku, #49

Utagawa Hiroshige

moon viewing
mother's small hand lifts
in farewell

                   Roberta Beary 

 W. J. Neatby

Nightingales near
the river.

No superfluous noise.

                Vassilis Zambaras

Eishōsai Chōki

When I see the ocean,
Whenever I see it,
Oh, my mother!
translated by R. H. Blyth


cherry blossoms scatter--
a nightingale sings
I cry
translated by David G. Lanoue


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Ed Baker said...

I'd "kill" to be able to put

(rice paper?)



so did!

and the images;

far beyond what mere
words (can) do w "moon" &
what is just behind screen.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

I hear ya, Ed ...

TC said...


Beatific post, how to pick a favourite among four unforgettable poems?

But this one knocked me off my feet and down to my wobbly knobbly old knees (it's been that kind of season here, vulnerable and exposed to everything, danger, fear... and, as here, extreme beauty):

Nightingales near
the river.

No superfluous noise.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

TC, well, you had a hand in this. Usually with this particular Issa poem, I go with the Hass translation

Mother I never knew -
every time I see the ocean,
every time.

This didn't fit with the feel of Roberta's poem, so I went in search of a different translation and remembered your posting of this one awhile back, though in a markedly different context.

So, tip o' the hat to you, sir, and thanks for the kind words.

TC said...


Whether or not the "real" (biographical) Issa ever actually knew his mother, the mother ocean in the poem, as Blyth has it, sounds like a "someone" the poet has indeed known... one almost wants to say forever.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Thanks, Tom ... to the heart of the matter, as always.

I feel, somehow, the more (good) translations I read of a particular poem, the closer I get to the poet. Of course, with classic haiku, it may be something else again.

Everyday, still learning to read ...