“Inch by inch -/ Little snail/ Creep up and up Mt.Fuji”
Previous Issa and haiku on The Allen Ginsberg Project – here and here,
& here here here here here here here here here here here and here
& here and here
Previous Nanao Sakakai on The Allen Ginsberg Project – here and here – and here and here
more Issa resources – here
(Dedemushino Sonomi Somomama Neokikana)
Just as he is/ he goes to bed and gets up/ The snail –
(Hatsubotaru Naze Hikikaesu Oredazoyo)
First lightning bug this year/ Why do you turn away?/ It’s me, Issa!
(Utsukushisaya Shojinoanano Amenokawa)
How lovely/ through the torn paper window/ – the Milky Way
(Uguisuya Doroashinuguu Umenohana)
Upon the blooming plum twig/ a warbler/ wipes his muddy feet
(Hitootoru Kinoko Hatashite Utsukushiki)
The Amanita mascaria/ can kill you -/ Sure, what a beauty!
(Kikusakuya Magusoyamamo Hitokeshiki)
What a picture -/ By the pile of horse dung/ Chrysanthemums in full bloom
(Hitoareb Haeari Hotokearinikeri)
Without human beings/ no fly/ no Buddha
(Netahitoo Hirumeshi Kuinikita Kakana)
O mosquitoes!/ You have lunch/on a man taking a nap
(Maenoyono Oregaitokoka Kankodori)
Hi cuckoo!/ wasn’t I your cousin / in another life?
(Futatsuite Hitotsuwa Nakazu Akinosemi)
One sings/ The other will sing no more/ – cicadas of Autumn
(Suminokumo Anjina Susuwa Tranuzoyo)
Spiders in the corner/Don’t worry!/ I won’t sweep you house
(Wareshinaba Hakamorininareto Kirigirisu)
Grasshopper, good singer!/ Take care of my tomb/ when I die
from “Cup of Tea, Plate of Fish – An Interview with Nanao Sakakai by John Brandi and Jeff Bryan” (included in the current edition of Inch by Inch)
Jeff Bryan: So…many of Issa’s poems you don’t respond to?
Nanoa Sakaki: No, 20,000 haiku he wrote – maybe 500 I can read. Maybe 200 I love. Maybe 10 great. Great stuff. It’s a hard job selecting his haiku. Many times I still check his haiku, I still carry them around with me. Most of them so dull. But he was crazy about writing haiku!
John Brandi: What about your translation of my very favorite of Issa’s poems, it’s not in Inch by Inch but we’ve talked about it before – Tsuyu no wa tsuya no yo nagara sari niagara
Nanao Sakaki: OK, yeah. That’s a hard one! So he had many children, all gone, so he felt this life is just dew, so temporary, so short life. Even though, I’m here. So, that’s sad. “Why my daughter or my baby must die? What’s the reason?”
John Brandi: One time you said the translation was – ” the world of dew/ is just the world of dew/ and yet…and yet’
Nanao Sakaki: “…and yet”. That is the point.
John Brandi: So he says I know the world of dew is just the world of dew, yet I feel pain, I am alive.
Nanao Sakaki: So simple, yet so wise.
John Brandi: What do you think happens when we die?
Nanao Sakaki: I don’t care
John Brandi: Where is your friend Allen Ginsberg?
Nanao Sakaki: Allen’s somewhere, somewhere in space. I don’t care. He’s OK. He never talks to me, no complaining, nothing. It’s OK.