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Haiku Classic: Feb. 17, 2019

oogoe o dashite hatsuyuki yogoshi keri

    voices raised

    the year's first virgin snow

    becomes sullied

    --

    Seishi Tanaka. From "Gendai Haiku" (December 2018)

    I imagine the scene to be either just past midnight or just after daybreak on New Year's Day with everything being very, very quiet -- so quiet that just speaking out aloud is enough to feel that one's voice is "raised." Normally when one thinks of virgin snow, one imagines the pure whiteness of it -- a visual image. In this haiku, however, the year's first snow is made impure or soiled not by the brownness of dirt on its whiteness but rather by the loud sounds on its silence.

    Selected, translated and commented on by Dhugal J. Lindsay

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