“On a branch ...”

By Kobayashi Issa 1763–1828 Kobayashi Issa

Translated By Jane Hirshfield

On a branch
floating downriver
a cricket, singing.

Issa, “On a branch ... ,” translated by Jane Hirshfield. Reprinted with the permission of the translator.

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Poet Kobayashi Issa 1763–1828


Subjects Religion, The Spiritual

Poetic Terms Haiku


Japanese poet Kobayashi Issa, also known as Kobayashi Yataro and Kobayashi Nobuyuki, was born in Kashiwabara, Shinanao province. He eventually took the pen name Issa, which means “cup of tea” or, according to poet Robert Hass, “a single bubble in steeping tea.” Issa’s father was a farmer. His mother died when he was young, and he was raised by his grandmother. His father remarried, and Issa did not get along well with his . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Religion, The Spiritual


Poetic Terms Haiku

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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