Sponge Gourd Has Poem by Masaoka Shiki

Sponge Gourd Has

Rating: 5.0

sponge gourd has bloomed
choked by phlegm
a departed soul

Fabrizio Frosini 03 November 2016

The sponge gourd has flowered! Look at the Buddha Choked with phlegm. [by Masaoka Shiki - in the translation by Donald Keene] - ''Sap from the sponge-gourd (hechima) was used as a medicine to stop coughs or break up phlegm, but his family had been too busy ministering to the other symptoms of Shiki’s final illness to remember to collect the sap on the night of the fifteenth, as prescribed. Now the vine is a flower. Shiki, sensing that nothing can cure him or even alleviate his pain, sees himself objectively (and, even with a touch of haikai humor) as a Buddha-to-be choking on his phlegm.'' [Donald Keene] -

26 0 Reply
Fabrizio Frosini 20 January 2016

this is a so called ''Deathbed Haiku'' On the morning of September, with the assistance of Hekigoto, one of his successor who was nursing him and his sister Ritsu, he wrote down three final haiku. This is one of them.

38 0 Reply
Fabrizio Frosini 20 January 2016

Sponge gourd vine juice was used to relieve coughing, but it could no longer help Shiki. Even sponge gourd, which is not so elegant, became the theme of his haiku. He found the poetic taste in it and took himself for a hotoke buddha (a departed soul) . Death came at one o'clock the following morning.

38 0 Reply
Fabrizio Frosini 19 January 2016

a new season comes.. lifes go on.. but his illness is taking him to death..

43 0 Reply
Brian Jani 13 July 2014

Masaoka your poem is brilliant in its shortness, if only you had lengthened it a bit more

0 1 Reply
Error Success