New Year’s Words: Haiku

A poetic welcome to 2013.

“After the Gentle Poet Kobayashi Issa
By Robert Hass

Screen Shot 2012-12-29 at 1.05.31 PM
Sunrise at Susaki on New Year’s Day. (Greeting the first sunrise of the new year is a Japanese tradition.)

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

These sea slugs,
they just don’t seem


Bright autumn moon;
pond snails crying
in the saucepan.

To see Hass reading some of these, check out Poetry Everywhere.

And one more for good measure,

New Year’s Day:
The desk and bits of paper,-
Just as last year.

— Matsuo

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