FREELY FROM ISSA

(with acknowledgement of stimulation & debt to Lewis Mackenzie and many others)

 

  1. Quails keep the time           Kuina naku

Of the clouds’ quick scudding:          hūshi ni kumo ga

Look how they scamper!               isogu zo yo

 

  1. O snail slither on              Katatsumuri

slowly slowly up the slope              sorosoro nobore

of Mountain Fuji.                       Fuji no yama

 

  1. Far-off peaks fragment     Tô yama no

Feeding eye facettes & fed:             me dama ni utsuru

Dragonfly flies straight                tombo kana

 

  1. Happy holiday!                 Medet to

Our two cups of sake clink              iu mo futari no

Congratulations.                        zūni kana

 

  1. The fleeting-dew world    Tsuyu no yo wa

A fleeting-dew world indeed             tsuyu no yo nagara

Ma finchè dura…                           sari nagara

 

  1. O mother gone from me     Naki-haha ya

I remember the seaside                     umi miru tabi ni

Yes that seaside day.                     miru tabi ni

 

  1. O Fall wind!                             Akikaze ya

As the span of years lengthens           hotoke ni chikaki

Nearer to Nirvana.                          toshi no hodo

 

  1. Never mind people:                 Hito wa iza

In this country even scarecrows           sugu na kakashi mo

Turn crooked, every one!                 nakari keri

 

  1. Not knowing the tree            Kiru ki to wa

Is marked for cutting down               shirade ya tori no

Birds build.                                       su wo tsukuru

 

  1. Autumn wind —                   Akikaze ya

In its whistle there wavers               hyoro hyoro yama no

The mountain-shadow                 kagebōshi

 

  1. Crisp-cold morning           Asa samu ya

Last year’s pine stands taller           matsu wa kyonen no

My hands are cracked                 matsu naredo

 

  1. Winds of Autumn:          Aki no kaze

I go trudging on and on,                ware wa mairu wa

To which of the hells?              dono jigoku

 

  1. On the tide, are you       Nanjira mo

Also looking for fortune,               fuku wo matsu ka yo

Promiscuous birds?                  ukine tori

 

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