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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday - A Haiku by Chiyo-Ni (& one by me)

Detail from a circa 1840 woodcut of "Chiyo of Kaga Province" by Utagawa Kuniyoshi.

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!  Here we are at April's doorstep.  For Poetry Fridays in April, I'll be sharing some of David G. Lanoue's recently translated "dewdrop haiku" by Issa - that was David's quarantine project! Learn more about David at haikuguy.com .

 

For today, after another week with a tragic mass shooting, on the heels of Georgia's with its racial undertones, I thought I'd simply share a poem by a famous early female haiku poet.  Today, March 26, is a day across the country to focus on #StopAsianHate.

 

Fukada Chiyo-Ni lived from 1703-1775 and was influenced by Basho and his followers.  She was a poet, artist, calligrapher, and nun during her lifetime. 

 

Patricia Donegan and Yoshie Ishibashi wrote a book about her, Chiyo-ni: Woman Haiku Master (Tuttle, 1998), but it is sadly out of print. An article on The Haiku Foundation website features Donegan's discussion of women haiku poets who have influenced her, including Chiyo-Ni, which you can read here .  A few excerpts from the book and more can be found here

 

 

The poem of Chiyo-Ni's that always gets me is this one, which is said to have been written after the death of her young son, her only child.

 

 

The little dragon-fly hunter, –
How far I wonder,
Has he gone today.

 

 

There are many translations of this haiku, but this is the version offered by R. H. Blyth in Volume I of his A History of Haiku (The Hokuseido Press, 1963).

 

Here's a link to the website of the Chiyo-Jo Haiku Museum in Japan, with more information and her haiku. 

 

Finally, here's a recently published haiku of mine about grief, too, though it was written about someone's passing at the end of life, rather than the beginning.

 

 

late fall

grief notes

in the old song

 

 

©Robyn Hood Black.  All rights reserved. 

 Modern Haiku, Vol. 52.1, Winter-Spring 2021

 

Join the rest of the Poetry Friday Roundup at Soul Blossom Living, where Susan is rounding up Poetry Month plans as well. Wishing you peace and good health as we continue to the march into Spring. 

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