From "One Hundred Haiku of Kyoshi"
selected by Ms. Inahata Teiko.
Translated by Nagayama Aya
(14) -2001.7.3-


Doka to toku natsu-obi ni ku o kaketokoso

Literal translation:
  Thud! Taking off her
  Summer obi, she asked me
  To write haiku on it

  Seasonal word; a summer obi(sash)
  This haiku was written in 1920, when Kyoshi was 46 years old.

Later, Kyoshi wrote about this haiku: "one day after our Noh performance was over, we went to a Japanese restaurant in Kamakura to enjoy ourselves over cups of sake. The head waitress, who was a little tipsy, untied her obi, dropped it as though it were something heavy, and asked me to write a haiku on it."

What makes this poem so excellent is the fact that the first five syllables in Japanese are unique and audacious. The onomatopoeic adverb doka-to (with a thud) gives us a sense not only of the heavy sash but also of its buxom wearer. It also portrays the vigorous and awkward movement made by the plump, tipsy maid.

We are charmed and impressed by the originality of this haiku and also by the way Kyoshi's expressive imagery draws us into this cheerful, light-hearted scene.

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