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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 9, Number 4, December 2015

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Mary P. Myers
Tucson, Arizona, USA


Gazing at Flowers

A snail is climbing the wall behind the flower bed. I wonder if it has a goal in mind.

Issa's were such tenacious creatures, going bare-chested, taking on straw fences, and singing till the end.

Of the one slowly ascending Mt. Fuji, some say it was inch by inch. But what would a Japanese snail know of inches, let alone any unit of measure?

Are all sacred pilgrimages broken into increments?

road to hell
good intentions
every few feet


Author's Notes:

The title of this haibun is from Issa’s: In this world / we walk on the roof of hell / gazing at flowers

Other poems by Issa used to compose this haibun are from translations found at David G. Lanoue's Issa website:

in evening moonlight / going bare-chested . . . /snail

straw fence – / coming down skillfully / a snail

evening moon – / pond snails singing / in the kettle

Several translations of the slow ascent on My. Fuji may be found in the article, "Haiku by Issa".

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