Walking: Free-Form Haiku by Taneda Santōka (種田山頭火)

木の葉散る歩きつめる

Tree leaves fall
Walking just to walk

まつすぐな道でさみしい

The road ahead
is lonesome

あるけばかつこういそげばかつこう

walking,
downhill
running,
downhill

この道しかない春の雪ふる

This is the only road
Snowfall in spring

笠にとんぼをとまらせてあるく

A dragonfly
on my straw hat,
I walk on

ほうたるこいこいふるさとにきた

Firefly, come, come
We’ve made it to my hometown

雨ふるふるふるさとははだしであるく

rain falls and falls
walking barefoot
through my hometown

ビルとビルとのすきまから見えて山の青さよ

In the cracks between the buildings
I can see the blue of the mountains

ほととぎすあすはあの山こえて行かう

Cuckoo,
tomorrow let’s climb
over that mountain

ふくろふはふくろふでわたしはわたしでねむれない

The owl, being an owl,
and I, being me,
can’t sleep

どうしようもないわたしが歩いてゐる

Nothing else I can do
I’ll just keep on walking

NOTES:

Taneda Santōka (1882-1940) was an early free-form haiku poet. Unlike traditional haiku, free-form haiku (新傾向, shinkeikou) does not require seventeen sounds or seasonal words (季語, kigo).

I have translated a few of Santōka’s poems in previous posts, so please look for them. There will be more to come.

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

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