Sleeping with Crickets: Taneda Santōka (種田山頭火)

月夜、あるだけの米をとぐ

A moonlit night,
washing all the rice

病めば梅ぼしのあかさ

sick,
red like
pickled plum

笠も漏りだしたか

Is my straw hat
leaking, too?

酔ふてこほろぎと寝てゐたよ

drunk,
I slept
with the crickets

飲みたい水が音をたててゐた

So thirsty,
the sound of water
rises up around me

鴉とんでゆく水をわたらう

A crow flies
over the water

うどん供へて母よ、わたしもいただきまする

Offering up udon
Mother,
I’ll have some, too

おちついて死ねそうな草萌ゆる

Don’t worry
The dead-seeming grass
will spring to life

NOTES:

Taneda Santōka (1882-1940) was an early free-form haiku poet, a contemporary of Ogiwara Seisensui and Ozaki Hōsai. He became a monk after a failed suicide attempt and spent much of his time walking across Japan, making the pilgrimage to the eighty-eight temples or following in the footsteps of Basho. He published several books of poetry before passing away in his sleep at the age of fifty-seven.

All poems taken from the Gendai Haiku Association Database (現代俳句協会, Modern Haiku Association)

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