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ume sake ya ame no uguisu kuchi wo aku

plum blossoms--
the candy nightingale
opens his mouth

Shinji Ogawa informs me notes that Issa is referring to a "candy nightingale" made of wheat gluten. Candy vendors traditionally create various sweet-tasting figures of wheat gluten for children. Here, it seems as if the candy bird is about to sing, it looks so real.

All translations © 1991-2010 by David G. Lanoue, rights reserved.