Finding myself with some time on my hands I thought I would explore haiku that deal with our senses beyond sight. So there will be a themed post once a week for the next four weeks. I’ve had fun finding and selecting these poems, so I hope you’ll enjoy reading them.
Taste and scent are and likely the most difficult senses to weave into a haiku. I catch myself writing ‘the taste of …’ far too often so then must stop and figure out another way of saying exactly that. It’s been fun discovering or re-discovering taste-sense haiku where the authors have found ways of making their poem bold, fresh and vivid.
from The Wonder Code (Girasole Press, 2017)
mononofu no daikon nigaki hanashi kana
the bitterness of pickles
in the talk
Basho, tr Jane Reichhold
from Basho: The complete haiku (Kodansha, 2008)
The translator’s note for this haiku written in 1693 says Basho has chosen to pair ‘daikon’, a large radish that is often pickled, with ‘nigaki’, meaning ‘bitter’. Both the pickles and the military men’s stories left a bitter taste. She believes the haiku also references the Japanese proverb, ‘the ambitious man eats strong roots’.
a taste of the mountain
from your cupped hands
Peggy Willis Lyles
from Montage (The Haiku Foundation, 2010)
a little something extra
in the tea
Adelaide B Shaw
from Another Trip Around the Sun (Brooks Books, 2019)
Valentine’s Day –
a cherry tomato
bursts in my mouth
Michael Dylan Welch
from Haikuniverse, Feb 14, 2017
Ron C Moss
from the ‘Freshly Caught’ sequence, Kokako 2 (2004)
the way English tastes
on my tongue
from naad anunaad: an anthology of contemporary world haiku
(Viswakarma Publications, 2016)
no longer friends
of imported ale
from A New Resonance 9 (Red Moon Press)
notes of diesel
in the chilled cherries
from a hole in the light (Red Moon Press, 2019)
waga aji no zakuro ni hawasu shirami kana
tastes like me
enjoy it, little louse!
Translator David Lanoue says: In the prescript to this 1820 haiku, Issa recalls the legend of a mother demon who went about eating children. The Buddha recommended she switch to a diet of pomegranates, which supposedly taste the same as human flesh. See R. H. Blyth, Haiku (Hokuseido, 1949-1952/1981-1982). In this hard-to-translate haiku, Issa catches one of his lice, and, instead of killing it, places it on his surrogate, the pomegranate.