After the Gentle Poet Kobayashi Issa

By Robert Hass b. 1941 Robert Hass
New Year’s morning—
everything is in blossom!   
   I feel about average.

   A huge frog and I   
staring at each other,   
   neither of us moves.

   This moth saw brightness   
in a woman’s chamber—
   burned to a crisp.

   Asked how old he was   
the boy in the new kimono   
   stretched out all five fingers.

   Blossoms at night,   
like people
   moved by music

   Napped half the day;   
no one
   punished me!

Fiftieth birthday:

   From now on,   
It’s all clear profit,   
   every sky.

   Don’t worry, spiders,   
I keep house   
   casually.

   These sea slugs,   
they just don’t seem   
   Japanese.

Hell:

   Bright autumn moon;   
pond snails crying   
   in the saucepan.

Robert Hass, “After the Gentle Poet Kobayashi Issa” from Field Guide. Copyright © 1973 by Robert Hass. Reprinted with the permission of Yale University Press, http://www.yale.edu/yup/.

Source: Field Guide (1973)

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Poet Robert Hass b. 1941

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Subjects Midlife, Living, Love, Youth, Activities, Nature, Relationships, Eating & Drinking, Animals

Holidays New Year

Poetic Terms Haiku, Syllabic

 Robert  Hass

Biography

Robert Hass is one of contemporary American poetry’s most celebrated and widely-read voices. In addition to his success as a poet, Hass is also recognized as a leading critic and translator, notably of the Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz and Japanese haiku masters Bashō, Buson, and Issa. Critics celebrate Hass’s own poetry for its clarity of expression, its conciseness, and its imagery, often drawn from everyday life. “Hass has . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Midlife, Living, Love, Youth, Activities, Nature, Relationships, Eating & Drinking, Animals

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

Poetic Terms Haiku, Syllabic

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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