Sunday Haiku: A summer storm / the papers upon my desk / are blown away

Sunday Haiku: A summer storm / the papers upon my desk / are blown away

Happy Sunday! Today, we will dissect another poem for a stormy summer day. So, grab a cup of coffee (or お茶) and let's dig in!

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But first, a recap on the week

All free except the newly revised Sound Words in Japanese book!

 

I hope to have a new module for the idioms course this week, but for now, let's enjoy haiku!

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And now, today's Sunday Haiku:

Today's haiku is by 正岡 子規まさおか しき】. Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902) was a Japanese poet and journalist during the Meiji period.

Don't you hate it when you are sitting at your desk writing haiku and a strong wind comes and blows all your papers away? Well, it seems this may have happened to Shiki. At least it served to give him inspiration for a colorful haiku.

Makoto+ Shogun or Lifetime members, click here for today's haiku with sound and almost 100 other haiku lessons. (Not yet a member, let's fix that!)

 

Haiku lesson

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Let's get right to it.

 

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natsu arashi / kijou no hakushi / tobi tsukusu
A summer storm / the papers upon my desk / are all blown away

 

VOCABULARY

  • 夏嵐 summer storm [夏 (summer); 嵐 (storm)]
  • 机上の on the desk; [机 (desk); 上の~ (on ~; above ~); 上 (above; up) + の is a modifying particle that connects the modifying (机上) and the modified (白紙); 机上 is not a normally used word, but it is used in formal writing or concise poems and such. 机の上の (白紙) would be what is used for “(blank papers) on the desk”]
  • 白紙 blank papers [白 (white); 紙 (paper); it could be “white paper” but should be understood as “blank papers”]
  • 飛び尽くす are all blown away [飛び (to fly; to jump; to hop); 尽くす (to exhaust; to run out; to run out of; to devote; used as a suffix to mean for “completely” or “to the point of exhaustion”); “masu-stem verb + 尽くす”; the verb combination of 飛び尽す is not so commonly used. A normal way to express this would be 全部飛んだ (all flew away), but the not-so-common wording gives a poetic interest.]  

 

季語【きご】 Season Word

What is the 季語【きご】? It is 夏嵐【なつあらし】 which is either a sudden gust or possibly a typhoon.

 

Interpretation

Yumi likes Shiki. She says his poems tend to be like mini-movies. They paint a scene one can relive in one's mind. Best of all, this impressive feat is done with only a few words.

One can just imagine the poet at his desk working on his next poem. Perhaps he is struggling for inspiration, but then! Inspiration blows through the window, scattering his pages, and giving him a haiku we are discussing today.

It captures a single moment, but an action-filled moment.

Let's read the poem one more time:

夏嵐 机上の白紙 飛び尽くす

natsu arashi / kijou no hakushi / tobi tsukusu
A summer storm / the papers upon my desk / are all blown away

This poem was written in 1896. A year prior, Shiki was a war correspondent for the First Sino-Japanese War 日清戦争【にっしんせんそう】. That experience made his tuberculosis worse and by the time this poem was written, he was in constant pain.

 

What's your take? Hit reply and let me know.

 

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If you are a Makoto+ Shogun or lifetime member, click here to see this lesson with audio. [Sorry, the Samurai level doesn't have access to past haiku lessons.]

Like this haiku lesson? Did you know we have almost a hundred other haiku lessons on Makoto+ now? All have vocabulary and grammar breakdowns with sound and cultural notes. Shogun and lifetime members have unlimited access to all lessons.

 

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Or take the plunge and become a lifetime member today!

 

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Thank you,

Clay & Yumi