Friday, June 26, 2015

Poem for the Weekend: Kobayashi Issa

Kobayashi Issa is one of Japan's most prolific poets; he left in his journals over twenty thousand "one-breath poems"—we know them as haiku. You can find a timeline of his life here, and at this site, you can search a database of ten thousand Issa haiku by entering a keyword, such as summer.

A haiku

by Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828)

from the treetop
gliding into midsummer...
bright moon


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"As soon as we express something, we devalue it strangely. We believe ourselves to have dived down into the depths of the abyss, and when we once again reach the surface, the drops of water on our pale fingertips no longer resemble the ocean from which they came...Nevertheless, the treasure shimmers in the darkness unchanged." ---Franz Kafka