mado-ni yuki jibun-no hone-no nega hakobu
snow at the window
carrying an X-ray print
of my skeleton
Hiryoshi Tagawa (1914-1999): Translated and commented on by Dhugal J. Lindsay
This haiku plays with one's spatial perceptions. To the poet, growing up in an era where X-ray photos were not something one might ever see in one's lifetime, it must have seemed very otherworldly to be carrying a photo of one's own bones in one's hands. The cold in the poem that is vying to get in, the snow at the window, is a psychological cold instilled in the poet by the act of carrying his own skeleton, his human mortality, in his own hands. The scene can be imagined to be at night, when the cold is sharpest and when the snow in the dark as seen from the window would resemble the bones on an X-ray print.
Selected, translated and commented on by Dhugal J. Lindsay