Some time ago I read a post about Issa, the haiku master, and I subscribed to receive a daily haiku translated by David Gerard Lanoue. (It may have been someone’s Poetry Friday Roundup post–If so, let me know so I can give you credit!)

*Update–It was Robyn Hood Black’s wonderful Poetry Friday Roundup post from about a year ago, entitled, “Daily Issa and Creatures Great and Small.” Go check it out and perhaps you’ll choose to sign up to receive a daily Issa haiku as well!  Rereading her post, I realized that I’d misnamed the translator–Yikes! I’d listed his middle name as his last name. I’ve now corrected that as well. Thanks, Robyn!

Here are three Issa haiku I particularly enjoyed over the past year.


niwatori ya chinba hiki-hiki hi no nagaki

the lame chicken
dragging, dragging…
a long day

That one aptly summarized my feelings mid-way through a trying school day–or maybe it was mid-morning.

And then there were some days when I felt like the snake in this one:


ana wo deru hebi no atama ya neko ga haru

from his hole
the snake pokes his head…
the cat slaps it

Finally, this one struck me as the perfect caption for a picture I’d taken a few summers ago.


ko tsubu na wa anshin ge zo katatsumuri

so teeny-tiny
peacefully resting


Last night as I struggled to sleep, instead of counting sheep, I counted syllables and wrote this haiku.

Tossing, turning thoughts
A lone cricket’s serenade
Midnight companions

Molly Hogan (c) 2017

Please head on over to Kay McGriff’s blog A Journey Through the Pages. There you will find her powerful poem in response to recent events in our world and also links to other poems in this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup.

15 thoughts on “Issa

  1. Got to say, I like the haiku from the zen master/public school teacher living on the coast of Maine.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. margaretsmn says:

    Did you get out of bed and go write down the poem? When this happens to me, I usually forget by morning so I keep a notebook handy. Issa is a favorite. I share the book “Cool Melons Turn to Frogs” with my students. He had a hard life and yet haiku helped him through.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Margaret, I typically forget unless I write things down as well, but my husband frowns on the light turning on in the middle of the night–even a book light. (I can’t imagine why!) So, I didn’t actually write this one down, but I remembered the gist of it and fine-tuned it during a run. I am definitely going to check out “Cool Melons Turn to Frogs.” Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful haiku…they made me laugh as I understood the feelings all too well during my first week back to school. But, what a great way to deal with insomnia! Love the peaceful…I hope it gave you sweet dreams.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. maryleehahn says:

    I also subscribed to Daily Issa and I collect ones that speak to me. This one came the day my mother died:

    my parents’ house
    no longer in sight…
    summer mountain


    oya no ie mienaku narinu natsu [no] yama

    Liked by 2 people

  5. HI, Molly! (Might have been a post from my blog, as David and Issa have been pretty regular guests in recent years. ;0) )

    Thanks for sharing these, and particularly the way they spoke to you in such fresh ways all these years after their writing. Happy Haiku-ing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      It was your post, Robyn! Thanks for letting me know and for all the enjoyment I’ve gotten from those daily haiku. PS– I’ve updated my blog to give you credit.


  6. I signed up for the daily haiku after reading Robyn’s post, too. I so enjoy finding a morsel of poetry in my inbox every day. Thanks for sharing these. I can relate to that poor snake. (Who would ever guess I would say something like that!)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. cvarsalona says:

    Wonderful post. Using Isso as a model, you wrote a delightful poem with an amazing photo. Would you like to screenshot these, sign your name and location at the bottom, and send it off to me for my summer gallery? I would like to include them.


  8. I like the tossing and turning poem, I can relate to listening to nature’s white noise. I love the Isso translations, the lame chicken and the cat slapping the snake. The cat is Elizabeth Warren, surely. 🙂


  9. I love haikus, that one tries to say so much with so few words. Thanks for this rich collection here! I especially liked Issa’s last one about the snail, and the image is beautiful; and your haiku of “Tossing, turning thoughts” each line flowing into the next and the element of surprise, thanks for all!


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