A TUESDAY FEATURE
host: Muskaan Ahuja
guest editor: Susan Beth Furst
“There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.”
--- Erma Bombeck
Kobayashi Issa is one of the early Japanese masters of the haiku tradition and a favorite of
mine. His name means “cup of tea,” or “a single bubble in steeping tea.” Issa loved to write
about the little things in God’s creation, like snails, spiders, and frogs. He loved to write about
everyday village life and children. He has been compared to his contemporary Robert Burns,
whose poem “To a Mouse,” is characteristic of Issa’s love of small animals. And Issa like Charles Dickens often used humor to make his point. Issa’s writing style included speaking to animals, the use of local slang, and onomatopoeia. He called it “countrified haikai.” Yes, I think Issa is just my cup of tea!
The holes in the wall
play the flute
this autumn evening
Don’t know about the people,
but all the scarecrows
It seems that no matter where you live in space or time, some things remain the same.
A poem in response to Issa’s…
so many shapes and sizes
of hot air
--- Susan Beth Furst
Write a humorous haiku in the “Countrified Haikai” style of Issa. You can post it in the box
*Verse translatations by Robert Hass.