Issa – A tribute to a haiku master – June 15, 2014

I happened to have a conversation with Jen over at Blog it or Lose it! about a particular aspect of a great haiku poet – Issa.

She brought to my attention some of his funny “vermin-ku” as she wittily called them … here are a few examples:

Hey! Don’t swat:
the fly wrings his hands
on bended knees.

For you too, my fleas,
the night passes so slowly.
But you won’t be lonely.

issa… you have survived to feed
this year’s mosquitoes

Counting flea bites
while she nurses
her baby


So I thought I’d write a few vermin-ku of my own as a tribute to the great Issa!

(C) Jen from Blog it or Lose it!

(C) Jen from Blog it or Lose it!

apple core
ants harvesting nectar
a good crop

picnic lunch
horse flies and wasps
buzzing sandwiches

cooking dinner
a sudden itch
mosquito ate too

flea bites
my leg a feast
thanks kitty

walking in the woods
then shower and swabs of oil
removing wood ticks

screened plate cover
protecting the cake
buzzing fly

I don’t know about you, but I often forget how our life on this planet once was (and still is for the most part) living and feeding our friends the fleas, mosquitoes and other insects.

Does anyone have a contribution to this cavalcade tribute to Issa?  Here is a link to some of Issa’s Haiku Poems which I must again thank Jen for!  If you’d like to add something, I’d lke to read it so feel free to ping me!

Ciao…I’m off for the day (going travelling!) and you have a great Sunday!  Bastet

15 thoughts on “Issa – A tribute to a haiku master – June 15, 2014

  1. These are *amazing, Georgia!!!! I especially like “Cooking dinner” and “flea bites” – so funny, and I think they’re really in the spirit of Issa. 🙂 But all of them are good.

    It’s funny — right now I’m working on my apple core haibun — we must be channeling one another through the Internet! 😉

    Thank you so much for the kind words and the link – it’s much appreciated. I really hope everyone gets as much out of the Issa link as I did — he’s really a lot of fun, and inspiring when it comes to down-to-earth aspects of life – not just the noble aspects of life.

    All the best —


    • I do so agree. Haiku poets tend to get a little stuffy at times I think. Nature isn’t just sunrises and illumination afterall! Glad you enjoyed the post!


      • LOVED your post – I *really* did!

        Yes — it *can* get stuffy. But nature can be messy and mean and downright nasty at times. Doesn’t mean *we* have to write messy, mean, or nasty — but we should at least loosen our collar a bit! 🙂


        • Nah…I didn’t mean that … we’ve got senryu for that sort of thing. The thing I’ve always enjoyed in zen mondo, stories, philosophy etc is its great sense of humor. However, I’ve been reading lately a lot of haiku, originally born in zen, that has an air of highfalutin seriousness that has become too rigid and formal to have anything to do with the freshness of an Issa or even the quieter meditative qualities of Basho. One think I like about Carpe Diem is that Kristjaan is so refreshing and experimental…though I’ve seen that some are not so happy at times. I think that I must agree with him … haiku comes from the heart but it’s becoming structured in cement! And I’m saying this as much to myself as to anyone else 😉


          • I understand. When people ask, “what is haiku?” I’m sort of afraid to answer now!

            Kristjaan has a *great* sense of humor and it keeps everything from becoming too stale. And I think he has a way of encouraging people – from newcomers to long-time participants – that is remarkable.

            I read that Senryu is “the obnoxious relative dropping in at dinnertime when we are trying to impress the boss”. Thought that was kind of funny! 🙂


          • Yeah…people have mixed feeling about senryu…it was considered almost pseudo poetry at one time … usually baudy … lately even those are becoming “dead serious” though.


          • I signed up for daily Issa and this was the poem for today:

            in a sake cup
            a flea
            swimming! swimming!

            “Subscribe to the Daily Issa Yahoo Group to have one randomly selected haiku sent to your e-mail box every day. Or, if you only want to see the English translation (without the Japanese texts and comments), follow @issa_haiku on Twitter.”



  2. walking through the woods,
    hosting a feast for my friends,
    itching for dessert.

    all my mosquitoes
    tell me I’m a friend most rare –
    the way they like it!

    the guests are gathered.
    sweating in these tennis shoes –
    the bell for dinner!


in shadows light - walking under weeping pines - spring rain

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