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2 haiku out of 10000


sendô yo shôben muyô nami no tsuki

hey boatman
no pissing on the moon
in the waves!

In my novel, Haiku Guy (Winchester, VA.: Red Moon Press, 2000, 47), I translate this haiku much more liberally:

the boatman pisses
but misses
the real moon


heike-gani mukashi wa koko de tsukimi-bune

Heike crabs--
long ago they moon-gazed here
on boats

Crabs with special markings resembling faces of samurai are thought to be reincarnated heroes who died in a famous battle, recounted in the medieval Tale of the Heike. Issa muses that in olden times (mukashi), these crabs were men, enjoying moon parties on boats.

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