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Spring Arrives
Kobayashi Issa


Spring arrives
In muddy clogs
At every door

From Haiku: Classic Japanese Short Poems (Amber Books Ltd., 2016).
Translation by Hart Larrabee.
Used here with permission.



Kobayashi Issa (1763 – 1828) was a Japanese poet and lay Buddhist priest. Raised by his grandmother after his mother died and his father remarried, Issa left home at 15 to study haiku. He wandered for many years, finally returning to his hometown at the age of 49. While he wrote more than 20,000 haiku and is considered one of Japan’s most revered poets, his personal life was filled with tragedy, from ongoing financial struggles and the burning of his house to the death of a wife and three children.

Hart Larrabee is an American translator. Born in New York, he majored in Japanese in college and now lives in the little town of Obuse in northern Nagano, Japan. In addition to poetry, Hart also translates non-fiction, particularly in the fields of art, design, and architecture.



Post New Comment:
Janet Leahy:
This poem paints a clear picture of spring. Just cleaned my deck and my muddy clogs are drying outside my door.
Posted 04/24/2021 02:42 PM
Nancy R:
Universal mud
Posted 04/24/2021 01:56 PM
Posted 04/24/2021 12:49 PM
I love the down-to-earth pull of this, but for California its the blessed rainy fall that brings the mud.
Posted 04/24/2021 10:38 AM
Larry Schug:
Spring also arrives on yellow dog's muddy paws the dog wanting in
Posted 04/24/2021 07:51 AM

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