THUNDER AND POPPIES

A summer hokku by Shōritsu, in daoku form:

At the sound of thunder,
Its petals fall —
The poppy.

Well, that’s a rather dramatic hokku.  The thunder must have been boomingly loud.

The verse is reminiscent of Buson’s summer hokku as loosely translated by R. H. Blyth:

The heavy wagon
Rumbles by;
The peony quivers.

But Shōritsu’s verse makes the effect even stronger.

One could change Buson’s verse like this:

At the passing
Of the heavy wagon,
The peony petals fall.

But getting back to Shōritsu’s verse, what we have is a harmony of opposites:  the loud, strong boom of the thunder against the delicate frailty of the poppy petals.

David

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