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Haiku Classic: Sept. 19, 2021

utsusemi-ya haha-wa izuko-e kieta yara

    a cicada shell!

    mother's gone and disappeared

    i wonder where ...


    Miyuki Akiyama. From "Sendan" (The Fleet) monthly haiku journal, December 2001.

    The concrete image that this haiku conjures up is of a child who has discovered the husk of a cicada nymph, clinging to some stalk, trunk, branch or pillar. They look around for their mother to call her and announce their discovery, but their mother is nowhere to be seen. The haiku could also be interpreted such that the mother has died and left this mortal world for somewhere else, through the juxtaposition of the empty cicada shell, from which the adult insect has departed to fly away and reproduce, and the missing mother. Both of these interpretations exist simultaneously as we read the poem.

    Selected, translated and commented on by Dhugal J. Lindsay

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