Selected Haiku by Issa

By Robert Hass b. 1941 Robert Hass
Don’t worry, spiders,
I keep house

    New Year’s Day—
everything is in blossom!
    I feel about average.

    The snow is melting
and the village is flooded
    with children.

    Goes out,   
comes back—
    the love life of a cat.

    Mosquito at my ear—
does he think   
    I’m deaf?   

    Under the evening moon
the snail
    is stripped to the waist.

    Even with insects—
some can sing,
   some can’t.   

    All the time I pray to Buddha
I keep on
   killing mosquitoes.

    Napped half the day;
no one   
    punished me!

6 haiku by Issa from The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa, edited and with an introduction by Robert Hass. Used by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Source: The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho Buson and Issa (The Ecco Press, 1994)

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Poet Robert Hass b. 1941


Subjects Nature, Stars, Planets, Heavens, Animals, Arts & Sciences, Humor & Satire

Poetic Terms Haiku

 Robert  Hass


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 Nature, Stars, Planets, Heavens, Animals, Arts & Sciences, Humor & Satire


Poetic Terms Haiku

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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