High High is the Snow? ~ Haiku of Japan

in Blockchain Poets4 months ago

いくたびも雪の深さを尋ねけり
iku tabi mo yuki no fukasa o tazunekeri

repeatedly I ask
how high
is the snow
—Shiki

(trans. David LaSpina[1])

0193202377.jpeg

("Snow at Tsukijima" by Hasui Kawase)

This is one of four haiku Shiki wrote in 1896 as he laid on his back, unable to so much as turn his head without incredible pain from the tuberculosis as it attacked his spinal cord.

We can feel his passion for the snow and child-like yearning to see it as he begs his mother and sister to give more details for his imagination.


Hi there! David LaSpina is an American photographer and translator lost in Japan, trying to capture the beauty of this country one photo at a time and searching for the perfect haiku.

If this blog post has entertained or helped you, please follow/upvote/reblog. If you want to further support my writing, donations are welcome.

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    1. That is, me! If you like this translation, feel free to use it. Just credit me. Also link here if you can.

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    Love haikus! Just published one myself (my last post).

    Excellent! I will go look for it!

    !PIZZA

    This is one of four haiku Shiki wrote in 1896 as he laid on his back, unable to so much as turn his head without incredible pain from the tuberculosis as it attacked his spinal cord.
    We can feel his passion for the snow and child-like yearning to see it as he begs his mother and sister to give more details for his imagination.

    I really love your haiku, I always learn something new about this wonderful country like Japan thanks to your posts, a hug ☺

    Thanks Jose 😃 Glad you enjoy them.

    "repeatedly I ask how high is the snow"- This line, does it show desperation? What do you think @dbooster ?

    Yes, I think so. Desperation to see, desperation to move at all from his illness, combined with joy at the very idea of snow and a desire to go play in it like a child. Lots of feeling combined.

    !BEER

    it is truly beautiful how few words can create so much depth.

    I think so too. Glad you liked it!

    !PIZZA


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    I write haiku too
    But in my native language
    Indonesian language

    Next i Will post my haiku

    An Indonesian haiku would be interesting! Haiku can be in any language. I will look for your haiku post.

    The Japanese have certainly cornered the market in aesthetic simplicity. Great poem!

    Glad you enjoyed it!

    !PIZZA

    i had read this on my 8th grade and it always bemused me.

    Wow, you have a great 8th grade class if they were introducing you to classic haiku like this.

    This one is a bit tricky to understand without the background info that he physically couldn't see the snow so he was begging those around him. Furthermore, he loved snow, so the idea of it excited him even in his painful condition.

    Haiku were often very personal (as with this one) making them hard to understand without context.

    !PIZZA

    indeed, @dbooster. even now when i am reading haiku, it takes time for me to really get it, it takes time to unfold every meaning and possible meaning behind it. so maybe that's why as well that i became fond of reading haikus since i love the feeling of my mind running and deciphering texts and concepts.

    That's the way to do it. That is exactly one of the reasons why I love them. I think there is the initial reading and impression we get based on that, then there is the more detailed reading, looking at the background, the diary entry that went with the haiku (if there was one), any references to older Chinese poetry (very common in older haiku), and so on. I try to provide at least some of this info in my posts.

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    That must have been a difficult question to ask each time knowing that the answer can’t compare to being able to go out and see for yourself. Thanks for sharing this one ☮️