yagate shinu
keshiki wa miezu
semi no koe

Of its approaching death
The cicada speaks
Not a word

~Matsuo Bashō, translated by Hart Larrabee, from Haiku: Classic Japanese Short Poems © 2016

Does Bashō think the cicadas are frivolous, or does he admire their ability to live solely in the moment?

We don’t know.  Because of the brevity of the form, the poet simply shows us a scene.  It’s up to us to attach meaning.


  1. oh! i love this!


  2. markonit

    …and whatever meaning is found by the reader, there it is…


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