Haiku of Kobayashi Issa

1 haiku (#8571) out of 10722


kogarashi ya orisuke kaeru samusa-bashi

winter wind on Samusa Bridge--
a samurai's servant
goes home

Literally, the bridge is "Cold Bridge" (samusa-bashi), its name accentuating the coldness of the scene. The editors of Issa zenshû explain that orisuke ("footman") in Issa's time referred specifically to the servant of a samurai; (Nagano: Shinano Mainichi Shimbunsha, 1976-79) 6.174, note 285. Shinji Ogawa adds that, according to some illustrations, orisuke or "footmen" appear tucking up the bottoms of their kimonos, a practice that makes them appear especially cold in wintertime. Cold bridge, cold wind, cold servant.

Hiroshi Kobori comments on the word, kogarashi ("winter wind"). In early Japanese poetry, this refers to the wind that blows through trees, breaking branches and turning the leaves brown. By Issa's time it means "a dry windy day during the late autumn--deep winter season." It is classified as a winter season word.

All translations © 1991-2020 by David G. Lanoue, rights reserved.