Friday, June 16, 2017

Poetry Friday: Happy Belated Birthday to Issa!

Head over to Carol's blog, 
Carol's Cornerfor this week's
round-up of poetic goodness. 
She's introducing us to Tracy Smith,
our newest Poet Laureate of the United States. 
Thanks, Carol, for hosting this week!

Thanks to Poetry Almanac, I learned that yesterday was the birthday of Issa.  "It's the birthday of Japanese poet Kobayashi Issa, born in Kashiwabara, Japan (1763). He’s one of the masters of the Japanese form of poetry called haiku, which uses 17 Japanese characters broken into three distinct units. He spent most of his adult life traveling around Japan, writing haiku, keeping a travel diary, and visiting shrines and temples across the country. By the end of his life, he had written over 20,000 haiku celebrating the small wonders of everyday life. He’s a big reason haiku became so popular in Japan and around the world."

When I clicked on the Poetry Foundation link, I learned a bit about the sorrow that permeated this poet's life.  This picture book, Cool Melons-Turn to Frogs!  The Life and Poems of Issa, is perfect for introducing children to haiku and this revered master of the form.    
Here's a favorite haiku from the book:
"A child intent
on plucking jewels
of dew in the morning grass."
                          - Issa

That haiku probably inspired this haiku that I composed in my head  while Jack took his morning bottle.
"After rain showers
Raindrops glisten on green leaves
For Jack's morning stroll."
                         - Ramona Behnke

Be sure to read the back notes in the book, especially the section About Haiku provided by the author.


  1. This is a favorite book of mine. I'm so glad you like it, and love that you write about a time with Jack. It's lovely, Ramona. Can you believe that Issa wrote 20,000 haiku? You can sign up for a daily haiku from the person Robyn wrote about today if you'd like. I think she has the link on her post.

  2. Appreciations for making these lovely connections Ramona.
    This book goes on The List!

  3. I love COOL MELONS. I didn't know, though, that Issa's birthday was today. Be sure you stop over at Robyn Hood Black's book and see the Issa book she is giving away. It looks terrific.

  4. Ugh, this is just making me so nostalgic for my time in Japan! :)

  5. This is perfect, I'm on a haiku roll myself and need to check out this text. I bet those raindrops just made your stroll glisten.

  6. I'm thrilled that you both posted about Issa this week. Can't wait to check this book out. My Kindergarten poets have loved learning about haiku this year. Thank you! -- Christie @

  7. Ramona, so happy we're both celebrating Issa this week! I enjoy sharing COOL MELONS with school kids.
    Your little Jack is triple-lucky - he will grow up in the lap of poetry; he gets to spend nurturing time in the great outdoors; and those prism-y raindrops are shining for him! I believe Issa would approve. :0)

  8. 20,000 haiku. Wow! Haiku writing must have been in his DNA by then. I love hearing that poetry can be that embedded in one's life... and how Issa's dewdrop piece inspired yours (which paints such a happy picture).

  9. Even though I have long heard of haiku, I'm just beginning to really appreciate the form and learn more about it. I haven't seen this book of Issa's haiku, but now I want to!