02020-04-02 | Uncategorized | 2 comments

Yesterday I came across this haiku by the Japanese poet Shiki. Although written over a century ago it resonates today.

What a wonderful
day! No one in the village
doing anything.

From the Wikipedia entry for Masaoka Shiki:

Shiki suffered from tuberculosis much of his life. In 1888 or 1889 he began coughing up blood and soon adopted the pen-name “Shiki” from the Japanese hototogisu—the Japanese name for lesser cuckoos. The Japanese word hototogisu can be written with various combinations of Chinese characters, including 子規, which can alternatively be read as either “hototogisu” or “shiki”. It is a Japanese conceit that this bird coughs blood as it sings, which explains why the name “Shiki” was adopted.

Nice bit of gallows humor!


  1. JaneParhamKatz

    True. Miracles are afoot with our orders to stay at home. I am practicing piano again. I find my fingers still trained! While seated at my piano, I have a view of Santa Fe houses, foothill greenery, and the magnificent sky. I’m working on Debussy’s Arabesque #1.

    My favorite Haiku was one set to music, which my mother was fond of singing:
    Rainy afternoon
    Little daughter you will never
    Teach that cat to dance.

    Here’s one for you:
    Thou man with guitar
    Magic chords and melodies
    Thy music is love

  2. Y.

    For some reason, “Hototogisu” has so many different kanji associated with the name.

    Shiki is a great poet.


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