Takarai Kikaku (1661-1707)

A selection of haiku

Here and there
frogs croaking in the night
stars shining

The messenger
Offers a branch of plum-blossoms,
And then the letter

the old messenger
proffering his plum-branch first...
only then the letter

a summer shower —
a woman sits alone
gazing outside

In flat sunset light
a butterfly wandering
down the city street

now the dragonflies
cease their mad gyrations...
a thin crescent moon

"My snow!" -- when I think that,
it weighs almost nothing
on my umbrella-hat.

This snow is mine
thinking that way it seems lighter
on your sedge hat

A man that eats
his meal amidst morning glories
that’s what I am!

What a beautiful moon! It casts
the shadow of pine boughs
upon the mats.

Nightingale's body
hanging upside down
first song of the new year

banging on a taiko drum
blossom-viewing party

A waterfall of sake
and cool barley noodles rain down
from heaven!

If a rich man
is what you mean to be. Then
forget the autumn evening too

As a fine horse gallops
20,000 poems are houseflies
scattered in the wind

Tonic for summer-heat
a dog licks it up
and climbs the cloud peaks

A single bell
you sell at least one each day
spring in Edo

A summer storm suddenly
the one who peers outside
the woman

Above the sea
a rainbow, erased by
a flock of swallows

In the Emperor's bed,
the smell of burnt mosquitoes,
and erotic whispers

A single yam leaf
contains the entire life
of a water drop

Over the long road
the flower-bringer follows:
plentiful moonlight

I begin each day
with breakfast greens and tea
and morning glories

Riding the wide leaf
of the banana-tree
the tree-frog clings

There goes a beggar
naked except for his robes
of heaven and earth!

that yesterday was in the east
is in the west today

Her mate devoured
by the cat, the cricket's wife
must be mourning

On Buddha's birthday
the orphaned boy will become
the temple's child

O Great Buddha,
your lap must be filling with
these flowers of snow

Such a beautiful face
the pheasant scratches it
with jagged spurs

Unwrap the cotton
they are older too
faces on the hina dolls

In Kyomachi
a cat prowling for love
heads for Ageyamachi

The full autumn moon
on this straw mat
pine tree shadow

Pillars of mosquitoes
a floating bridge of dreams
spans across

This wooden gate
shuts me out for the night
winter moon

The hoarse voice of
a monkey, but its teeth are shiny white
mountain peak and moon

Kagura dance at night
the performer's breath white
inside his mask



















The Poetry of Takarai Kikaku, a japanese haiku master and poet. Includes haiga, illustrated versions of some poems