Home
Haiku Poems
Writing Haiku
Haiku Analysis
Haiku Culture
Submit Haiku
Haiku Poets
Poet Interviews
Haiku Books
Japanese Poetry
Western Poets
The Beat Poets
Contact
About

Kobayashi Issa (1762-1826)

Issa, whose name literally translates as 'cup-of-tea' is the third of the four haiku masters, and was a country bumpkin who wrote many haiku about smaller creatures like grasshoppers, sparrows and cicadas. When Issa was just two years old, his mother died, and was reportedly looked after by a very wicked stepmother.



Early in his life he was forced to move away from the country to the city, where he began his career as a poet. Thus his poetry also includes depictions of street life, and the poverty in the city at that time, his poetry is also often infused with a sentimental humor about human concerns.

In Japan there is a far greater interest in Issa than in many other haiku poets, an interest that extends to his life alongside his poetry. he might even represent a thoreau-like figure to many.

He also wrote an autobiographical haibun, titled My Spring. Haibun is a Japanese literary composition that combines Haiku with prose.



farewell! farewell!

hands waving

in the mist

on the flower pot

does the butterfly, too

hear Buddha's promise?

before the gate--

my cane makes a river

of melting snow

spring peace--

a mountain monk peeks

through the hedge


Come with me,

Let's play together, swallow

Without a mother.


Young sparrows, get out of the way!

get out of the way!

A great horse is coming by!


Thud Thud

Upon the flowers

Drops the horse turd


Hey! Don't Swat:

the fly wrings his hands

on bended knees


Puny frog

Don't give up

Issa's here!


Don't get alarmed

You Corner Spiders

I won't touch your webs


Under cherry-flowers

None are utter strangers.


Falling cherry petals say

Hurry, hurry

Thy preparedness for death


Don't get alarmed

You Corner Spiders

I won't touch your webs


people scattered

the leaves too scattered

and spread




Can China have

such a night as this

when the hototogisu sings?


After all, after all

I commend myself and mine to you-

Now at the year's end




visit haiku guy's Issa website


Issa is one of the four great Haiku Masters, for info on the others, click here



New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.