Following are several translations
of the 'Old Pond' poem, which may be
the most famous of all haiku:
mizu no oto
Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the angels'
hierarchies? and even if one of them suddenly
pressed me against his heart, I would perish
in the embrace of his stronger existence.
For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror
which we are barely able to endure and are awed
because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.
Each single angel is terrifying.
And so I force myself, swallow and hold back
the surging call of my dark sobbing.
They paddle with staccato feet
In powder-pools of sunlight,
Small blue busybodies
Strutting like fat gentlemen
With hands clasped
Under their swallowtail coats;
And, as they stump about,
Their heads like tiny hammers
Tap at imaginary nails
In non-existent walls.
I dream of you walking at night along the streams
of the country of my birth, warm blooms and the nightsongs
of birds opening around you as you walk.
You are holding in your body the dark seed of my sleep.
This comes after silence. Was it something I said
1 Our brains ache, in the merciless iced east winds that knife us ...
2 Wearied we keep awake because the night is silent ...
3 Low drooping flares confuse our memory of the salient ...
4 Worried by silence, sentries whisper, curious, nervous,
5 But nothing happens.
6 Watching, we hear the mad gusts tugging on the wire.
7 Like twitching agonies of men among its brambles.
Shadows in the park...
Must be a sunny day...
Always wearing black...
Never having much to say...
Shadows never laugh...
They never, ever cry...
Sometimes they disappear...
If the suns not shining in the sky...
It's with such a heavy heart
that I say my prayers today...
Our friends and family are here one second,
only to slip quietly away...
Depression is all around us,
touching me and touching you...
So I'm asking our Heavenly Father,
please help us in this world of blue...
I was pretty talkative, and spent all of my days chit chattering,
Like galaxies of glinting stars, all the dark universe scattering.
I was always on the move, and loved cacophonic sights and sounds,
Like the deep thrill of excitement, when the carnival is in town!
People loved my easy laughter, and they said I was a lot of fun,
Like the fun of a storm's passing, when greeting the citrine sun!
I did not like the silence, for the silence would make me blue;
flowers in a vase
plum colored near bowl of grapes
middle of the night
charming fruit basket
of apples peaches and limes
in shadows of time
corn carrots and beans
on a farm table waiting
I was once argumentative, though I am not at all proud of the fact,
I was extremely opinionated, expressing my views with little tact.
It is not that I was malicious, but I really thought I knew it all,
Like the sunset's maximum power, colors skies just before the fall.
Always highly sensitive, to perceived infringements of my rights,
With friends or perfect strangers, I engaged in many verbal fights.
Like a volcano that is always struggling, to keep the fire within,