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Haiku Classic: Oct. 21, 2018

hoshi tonde dosoukinshi no nihon kana


    a falling star

    Japan does not allow

    coffin burials


    Laurent [Seigan] Mabesoone (1968-). From "Sora Aosugite" (2002)

    The poet of this Japanese-language haiku was born in France, where the majority of all burials involve internment underground in a coffin. In Japan, where the poet now lives, 99.9% of burials are done after the body is cremated. Although it is still actually legal to bury a loved one without cremation, in practice it is so difficult to fulfil all the required prerequisites that the practice can effectively be thought to be "not allowed." The poet was staring out into the night sky when they noticed a meteor falling to Earth. The suddenness of its appearance and disappearance caused them to reflect on their own mortality and wonder what would happen when they died in this country so far from home.

    Selected, translated and commented on by Dhugal J. Lindsay

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