Kobayashi Nobuyki (Issa) was born in Kashiwabara, Shinano province, to a farming family and began writing in his childhood, which was marred by misfortune and sadness, his mother died and his father remarried resulting in torment at the hands of his step mother and step brother.
In 1777 he was despatched to Tokyo to study the Haiku form under such masters as Sogan and Chikua. He was forced to support himself by taking menial jobs before gaining entry into the Kasushika poetry school. At the age of 28 he was to be given a teaching post at the school but lasted just a year after it became clear that his modern style of haiku did not suit the clerical confines that were expected of ... more »
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Kobayashi Issa Poems
A bath when you're born
His death poem: A bath when you're born, a bath when you die,
Don't worry, spiders
Don't worry, spiders, I keep house casually.
A huge frog and I
A huge frog and I, staring at each other, neither of us moves.
All the time I pray to Buddha
All the time I pray to Buddha I keep on killing mosquitoes.
Asked how old he was
Asked how old he was, the boy in the new kimono stretched out all five fingers.
Writing shit about new snow
Writing shit about new snow for the rich is not art.
I'm going out
I'm going out, flies, so relax, make love.
Having slept, the cat gets up
Having slept, the cat gets up, yawns, goes out to make love.
Face of the spring moon
Face of the spring moon-- about twelve years old, I'd say.
In spring rain
In spring rain a pretty girl yawning.
How much are you enjying yourself, tiger moth?
A cuckoo sings
A cuckoo sings to me, to the mountain, to me, to the mountain.
Even on the smallest islands
Even on the smallest islands, they are tilling the fields, skylarks singing.
Ducks bobbing on the water
Ducks bobbing on the water-- are they also, tonight, hoping to get lucky?
Comments about Kobayashi Issa
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
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Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
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A bath when you're born
His death poem:
A bath when you're born,
a bath when you die,
Translated by Robert Hass