Sunday Haiku: Basho and the Merciless Heat, but then... 秋の風!

Sunday Haiku: Basho and the Merciless Heat, but then... 秋の風!

Happy Sunday! Today, we will dissect a classic Basho poem. So, grab a cup of coffee and let's dig in!



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And now, today's Sunday Haiku:

Today's haiku is by 松尾 芭蕉まつお ばしょう】. Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) is the most famous of the classical haiku poets.

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Haiku lesson



Let's get right to it.

あかあかと 日はつれなくも 秋の風

aka aka to / hi wa tsurenakumo / aki no kaze
Red and hot / although the sun has no mercy / the cool autumn wind



  • あかあかと shining bright and red; shining very bright [あかあか (bright and red); literally, “red red” a form of onomatopoeia describing how hot the sun is by repeating “red” twice; と (quotes the state: “bright and red”; usually this と makes it adverbial)]
  • 日はつれなくも even though the sun has no mercy
  • 日 the sun
  • つれなく [adverbial of つれない (unfriendly; unsympathetic; cold; unkind); つれなくも is a sort of archaic or poetic version of つれなくても(even though (sun is) unmerciful]
  • も even though; although (the sun has no mercy)
  •  秋の風 autumn wind [秋 (autumn; fall); の (of); 風 (wind)]


It's a little early, but I wanted to share this famous haiku by 松尾芭蕉 (Matsuo Basho) which captured how I felt last night.

Yesterday, I was outside for a while. I don't do heat well. 夏バテになりやすいタイプ (I am the type of guy who is prone to summer fatigue: 夏バテ (なつばて summer heat fatigue). And boy was it hot.

But then, when evening came, all of the sudden a breeze came through driving away every bit of バテ from me. It ended up being a bit chilly.

Do you know that feeling?

Unbearable summer heat and then... a wonderfully refreshing evening breeze comes, erasing it all away.


季語【きご】 Season Word

The 季語(きご) or season word is 「秋(あき)の風(かぜ)」, indicating the season is fall, or late summer. While 風(かぜ) alone doesn't specify a season, it's often paired with other words to create the 季語(きご).

For instance, 「秋(あき)の風(かぜ)」, or “autumn wind,” conjures up an image of a refreshing breeze, while 「冬(ふゆ)の風(かぜ)」, or “winter wind,” evokes a different sensation.


Clay's Take

In this poem, we find ourselves in the midst of 残暑(ざんしょ), the lingering late-summer heat of August, just on the cusp of autumn. Then, the cool, refreshing 「秋(あき) の風(かぜ) 」, or “fall wind,” arrives, pushing the residual heat away.



Red Fuji by Katsushika Hokusai 葛飾北斎

Probably an August Fuji scene

The time is mid to late August. We should be transitioning into fall, but the oppressive summer heat continues to bear down during the day. However, the sudden arrival of a cool evening breeze serves as a gentle reminder that autumn is just around the corner.


What's your take? Let me know in the comments below.




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Thank you,
Clay & Yumi