biwa urete juushin sagaru ninputachi
pregnant women's centre of gravity
Hiryoshi Tagawa (1914-1999): Translated and commented on by Dhugal J. Lindsay
Hiryoshi Tagawa was a disciple of the haiku master Shuson Kato. His education was as an engineer and many of his haiku contain scientific/technical elements. The two main entities in this poem (i.e. pregnant women and ripening loquats) are juxtaposed, with the loquats acting as a hidden metaphor for the pregnant women. If one were merely to state that when women enter the final stages of their pregnancies and "ripen," so to speak, they resemble in their shape a ripe loquat. Even the slight increases in body hair and fuzziness/furriness of the loquats' skin as well as the large seed inside the loquat serve to reinforce this image. The inclusion of the observation that a woman's center of gravity becomes lower as she becomes more and more pregnant is the clincher that moves this haiku past mere metaphor and allows it to take its place as a Haiku Classic.