tsukihanaya shijuukunenno mudaaruki
walking and walking
for moon & cherry blossoms
49 years in vain
Issa (1763-1827): Translated and commented on by Isamu Hashimoto
As if he had really been practicing the near-homonyms "hike" and "haiku," Issa used to walk and walk and walk. But his final state of mind is as above. He was in Edo (ancient Tokyo) from the ages of 15 to 50, and changed jobs one after another between his trips. Fundamentally speaking, the daily attitude of haijin, traveling as much one can, is very necessary. In a sense, haiku needs vast uselessness. In this transient floating world, ordinary people couldn't go out without any special purpose. If you come to appreciate Issa's liking for worthlessness, you will surely be a more distinguished haiku writer.