Tag Archives: Issa Kobayashi

traveling with the moon (Troiku)

I had started to research and drafted a post for this prompt but that was two days ago and pfffft, I lost it all.  Returning to the drawing board, I found a poem by Issa Kobayashi who I truly love his work.  His last line in haiku often end with a nice surprise and sometimes with a bit of humour.  I am sharing some of his bio here that I found at the Poetry Foundation:

Kobayashi Issa


Japanese poet Kobayashi Issa, also known as Kobayashi Yataro and Kobayashi Nobuyuki, was born in Kashiwabara, Shinanao province. He eventually took the pen name Issa, which means “cup of tea” or, according to poet Robert Hass, “a single bubble in steeping tea.”

Issa’s father was a farmer. His mother died when he was young, and he was raised by his grandmother. His father remarried, and Issa did not get along well with his stepmother or stepbrother, eventually becoming involved in disputes over his father’s property. When Issa was 14, he left home to study haiku in Edo. He spent years traveling and working until returning to Kashiwabara in the early 1810s. In Kashiwabara, his life was marked by sorrow— the death of his first wife and three children, an unsuccessful second marriage, the burning down of his house, and a third marriage.

Issa’s haiku are as attentive to the small creatures of the world—mosquitoes, bats, cats—as they are tinged with sorrow and an awareness of the nuances of human behavior. In addition to haiku, Issa wrote pieces that intertwined prose and poetry, including Journal of My Father’s Last Days and The Year of My Life.”

The moon in August is sometimes called the Corn Moon or Cold Moon.  Now this time of year when referring to the full moon, however, in Japan, they are referring to the autumn moon or harvest moon which I prefer to write about in September.  I am really not ready to write that much about autumn…yet.

I remember travelling by car or by bus marveling at the full moon. It is sometimes on my left side and then my right side depending where I am driving and how many twists and curves I have taken. But when I am driving home alone late at night, somehow I don’t feel so alone.  It is almost a sordid affair…like the man on the moon is keeping me company and only he and I exist until I get home.

I have chosen this poem by Issa for inspiration:

Under the evening moon
the snail
 is stripped to the waist.

My humble attempt also having fun:

(c) clr 2017

traveling with the moon (Troiku)

under a full moon
midnight rendezvous
skinny dipping

under a full moon
along the lonely highway
I’m not alone

midnight rendezvous
under the willow
stealing their last kiss

skinny dipping
splashing late at night
snoopy neighbour smiles


A Troiku is a new form of haiku created by Chevrefeuille at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai.

This post was written for Suzanne’s On The Road Friday prompt: Travelling with the Moon.


friendly visits (haibun)

We are asked to choose a favourite haiku, explain why we chose it and rewrite another haiku inspired from our choice.  I chose one from a chapter on Karma from David G. Lanoue’s book Pure Land Haiku: The Art of Priest Issa)

“Shortly before he died, Shinran wrote the following note to a friend: “Even when my life comes to an end and I am reborn into the Pure Land, I will come back again and again, like the waves dashing on the beach of Waka-no-ura”(Tran. Kurata247) Reincarnation, especially in relation to the bodhisattva myth of enlightened being returning to the world of suffering to enlighten others, was a favourite theme for the founder of Jôdoshinshû and, consequently, for his followers. Issa writes, then rewrites, a haiku about himself and a butterfly under a shady tree.

in tree shade
relaxing with a butterfly…
friends in a previous life
© Issa Kobayashi”
(Pure Land Haiku: The Art of Priest Issa by David G. Lanoue)


I chose this haiku because, since the death of my mother December 2014, I have been visited so many times from spring to fall by a particular butterfly. At first, I saw one in Montreal in a thicket behind my workplace on my way to my afternoon shift. I would stop and take photos and we would visit, silently conversing. This spring I am revisited again on a busy street by the same type of butterfly.

spring through fall
divine interventions
butterfly visits