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Takaha Shugyo Haiku Translations by Michael R. Burch
modern English translations of haiku and tanka by Takaha Shugyo

Takaha Shugyo (1930-) was born in the mountainous Yamagata Prefecture, Japan, and began writing haiku at age fifteen. He studied with Yamaguchi Seishi and Akimoto Fujio, won the Young Poet's Award in 1965, and went on to found the haiku magazine KARI in 1978. 



kari sugishi ato zenten o miseitari

Wild geese pass
leaving the emptiness of heaven
revealed
―Takaha Shugyo (1930-), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Wild geese vanish
revealing
the immensity of heaven ...
―Takaha Shugyo, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

kurumi waru kurumi no naka ni tsukawanu heya

Such gloom!
Inside the walnut's cracked shell:
one empty room
―Takaha Shugyo, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Inside the cracked shell
of a walnut:
one empty room
―Takaha Shugyo, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Michinoku no hoshiiri tsurara ware ni kure yo

Bring me an icicle
sparkling with the stars
of the deep north
―Takaha Shugyo, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

matenro yori shinryoku ga paseri hodo

Seen from the skyscraper
the trees' fresh greenery:
parsley sprigs
―Takaha Shugyo, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

ハート型彫られて一樹はや芽吹く
                hātogata horarete ichiju haya mebuku


A single tree
with a heart carved into its trunk
blossoms prematurely
―Takaha Shugyo, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

d˘kefuku nugazu tent˘mushi no shi yo

Still clad in its clown's costume—
the dead ladybird.

 落椿われならば急流へ落つ
                ochitsubaki ware naraba kyūryū e otsu


Oh, fallen camellias,
if I were you,
I'd leap into the torrent!
―Takaha Shugyo, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Our life here on earth:
to what shall we compare it?
It is not like a rowboat
departing at daybreak,
leaving no trace of us in its wake?
―Takaha Shugyo, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

 雁渡るらし燭の火の揺れつづけ
                kari wataru rashi shoku no hi no yuretsuzuke


Are the geese flying south?
The candle continues to flicker ...
―Takaha Shugyo, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Tree crickets chirping—
after I've judged
a thousand verses today!
―Takaha Shugyo, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Crickets chirping discordantly—
how to judge
ten thousand verses?
―Takaha Shugyo, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Takaha Shugyo judged a very popular haiku contest with around 30,000 entries per month, which works out to around 1,000 poems per day or 10,000 every few weeks!

Original Haiku by Michael R. Burch


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