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Naia on Issa


don't worry, spiders
I keep house

Issa (tr. unknown to me)

Although Robert Hass' translation (using "casually" as the final word) is most widely known, when one day I opened a book and read my first haiku written by those considered masters in Japan, it was this poem in this translation that sank inside me so deeply I knew I wanted more. I wanted to perceive the world like this, and I wanted to write haiku.

I also knew that I didn't want to become a haiku scholar. Having spent most of my life involved in various pursuits with head engaged and leadership responsibilities, this time it would be a journey of the heart. That's a lot to realize from brief moments spent with one haiku—a testament to how deeply and intuitively a little one-breath poem can impact the reader.

Continuing to seek out Issa's haiku, I struggled with my own first attempts until, finally, kernels of truth emerged as my perceptions of the world began to change. Through it all, the delicate touch permeating so many of my favorite Cup-of-Tea haiku has been my inspiration.

These years later, I liken haiku to a gift waiting for the intuitive reader to reveal its contents, absorb the nuances and subtleties of simple observations, and travel the path to new ways of perceiving universe, and each other.