Notes On Attention Paid

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The Essential Haiku, End Notes

… a sense of the impossibility of translating Japanese haiku is given in these two paragraphs…

Winter Sun: This is Ueda’s translation, from Basho and His Interpreters, p. 170. The alliteration and assonance in this poem are particularly admired: fuyu no hi ya bajo ni koru kageboshi.1

… and…

A Petal Shower: The phrase used to describe the falling petals is onomatopoeic: horohoro. Some connection between that sound and the sound of the river.2

… in the note to the poem How Admirable!, some sound information on enlightenment, which is…

to see nothing that is not there, and the nothing that is.3

  • squid seller/summer
  • cuckoo/summer
  • peach blossoms/late spring
  • foxes/mischievous, supernatural powers

… the commentary on Hailstones…

Hard things hitting hard things in a hard place. Mountain passes were mysterious places in old Japanese culture, inhabited by boundary gods and placatory shrines, sometimes with the carved figure of a man and a woman coupling.4


  1. Robert Haas, The Essential Haiku, p. 258. [return]
  2. Ibid, p. 258. [return]
  3. Ibid, p. 259. [return]
  4. Ibid, p. 259-60. [return]