BUSON’S BARE MOUNTAIN: A SUMMER HOKKU

Buson wrote an effective hokku that, like many good summer hokku, deals with the heat of the season:

higaeri no hageyama koyuru atsusa kana
Day-trip ‘s bald-mountain crossing heat kana

A day’s journey
Across a bare mountain;
The heat!

The elements of the verse go together well.

We could be a bit looser with the translation, like this:

A day’s journey
Over a treeless mountain —
The heat!

We feel the weariness of the traveller and his discomfort in that high place with no shelter from the hot summer sun.

David

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