From "One Hundred Haiku of Kyoshi"
selected by Ms. Inahata Teiko.
Translated by Nagayama Aya

(1) -2000.05.31-

Drawn by Miss Inahata Aiko Drawn by Miss Ashley Watson


Hebi nigete ware o mishi me no kusa ni nokoru

Literal translation:
  The snake fled
  His eyes that watched me
  Were left in the grass

  Seasonal word; a snake (summer)

  This haiku was written in 1916, when Kyoshi was 42years old.

Let's imagine Kyoshi meeting a snake in the grass. He was probably scared by it, but at the same time, must have been fascinated by its sparkling green eyes.

After the snake fled, he felt as if there was an afterimage of its green bewitching eyes still in the grass. Does he show here any dislike or fear for the snake? Maybe a little, but I sense here a feeling of awe for the snake and for nature itself.

This haiku must be a representation of what Kyoshi actually saw in his encounter with a snake, but it was also what he saw with his mind's eyes. This poem was born on the border of reality and imagination, out of both objective and subjective description. It was not just a sketch of a scene of nature; it was also delineated through the eyes of his mind.

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