tainai no mizu katamukete garasu kiru
inclining the water
in my body to cut through
a pane of glass
Tohru Sudo (1946-). From "The Haiku Universe for the 21st Century. Japanese/English Japanese Haiku 2008" by the Modern Haiku Association, 2008
Over 70 percent of the body mass of an average human being is made of water, but we don't often think of ourselves as a bag of water with scaffolding. When muscle power is not enough and weight needs to be applied to something in order to bend, break or cut it, then that is when we feel our mass and perhaps think of our water content. It must be inclined to exert pressure through weight as well as muscle, and here the object that is being cut is a flat plane of glass. Its transparent form echoes with the usual form of water and the plane at which it lies contrasts with the plane at which the poet's body is inclined.
Selected, translated and commented on by Dhugal J. Lindsay