10 haikuists and their works

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Chapter 7
Sekitei Hara
(1889 ~ 1951)

Haiku magazine Hototogisu, directed by Kyoshi Takahama, produced many brilliant haikuists.

The first wave, in Taisho era, was composed of the poets such as Kijo Murakami (1865 ~ 1938), Suiha Watanabe (1882 ~ 1946), Fura Maeda (1884 ~ 1954), Dakotsu Iida (1885 ~ 1962), Sekitei Hara, etc. These poets are generically called "poets of Taisho Hototogisu".

The characteristic of their poems is to describe the nature and to express the worship to the eternal and mysterious existence, in a traditional style with a lofty tone. And their themes are the great landscapes (mountain, valley, sea, or sky) or the life of men in the great nature.

I present poems of Sekitei Hara. He lived in East Yoshino, village in the heart of a mountain. He described rigorous nature and succeeded in expressing the acute beauty, which gave a shock to the haiku world.

Top of an eminence.
Nogikus are most largely swaying
In the wind.

* nogiku: small wild chrysanthemum, autumn daisy

A tree, split with an battle-ax, sticks.
Voice of a shrike.

Firecrackers to frighten the animals.
Shadows of mountains run
On the surface of the fords.

The moon
Above the snow-covered mountain
Dropped hailstones.

A vine of arrowroot
Touch the cheek of a woodcutter.
Gigantic columns of clouds.

The green detached from the mountain
Follows the movement of the caught sweetfish.

Being lonely
He beats the gong again
The guard of kabiya.

* kabiya: cabin in which kabi (fire to frighten noxious animals like stags and wild boars) is made in autumn.

The hands of a woman exist
To take out the insides of spring cuttlefishes.

Autumn wind.
Two plates,
Their designs differ.

The empty air made buzz
Thin wings of a dragonfly.

Written by
Ryu Yotsuya

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