Oriori no Uta : Poems for All Seasons

 Into the village
ventures a deer
―so tall
in the snow-light!

Tan Taigi

From Taigi Kusen. A starving deer comes down from the snowbound mountains to forage for food. The poem captures it, visible in the light reflected off the snow, as it enters the village and cautiously edges near a house. Because it looks surprisingly tall, the sight is almost heart-wrenching. Taigi excelled at haiku about human events, but he was also superb at descriptions of the natural world like this one. Another haiku, about autumn leaves beneath flowing water, has the same extraordinary acuteness of observation: “How clear the river―/five inches of water / above fallen leaves” (kawa sumu ya / ochiba no ue no / miza gosun).

 

(Sato)(e)出る(deru) 鹿(Shika)(no)(se)高し(takashi) 雪明り(Yukiakari)

炭太祗(たん たいぎ)

『太祗句選』所収。雪に埋もれた山中から餌を求めて里に出てくる飢えた鹿。用心深く人家の周辺に近づいてくる鹿の様子が、雪明かりの中にとらえられている。意外なほど背が高いので、痛々しいような思いさえ誘われる。太祇は人事句の名手だが、こういう自然界の描写でも実にいい目をしていた。「川澄むや落葉の上の水五寸」などでも、水底の落葉をとらえる俳人としての目の鋭さは群を抜く。