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Haiku Classic: June 4, 2017

sekitoshite kyakunotaemano botankana

    --

    quiet

    between visitors

    peony kana

    --

    Buson (1893-1976): Translated and commented on by Isamu Hashimoto

    "Kana" is an exclamatory caesura at the end of haiku in Japanese, and "ya" also used in the middle of haiku with the English equivalents "Ah," "Oh," "Yah," etc. I dared to translate this flower in its singular form -- that is, to signify a single peony being arranged in the bamboo flower pot. In my translation, a peony has been waiting alone for the next guest in the quiet teahouse. Of course, other explanations are possible, and to be frank, they dominate in number. In these cases, the peony, king of flowers, is in its plural form, and extremely gorgeous outside in the gardens. Another translation example:

    In the quietness / of a lull between visitors / the peony flower!

    (From Yuki Sawa, Edith Shiffert (tr.), "Haiku Master Buson," Heian International, San Francisco, CA, USA)

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