Oriori no Uta : Poems for All Seasons

In coughing

too , I am

alone

Ozaki Hōsai

From Taikū, 1926. Together with Taneda Santōka, Hōsai was one of the leading poets of the colloquial free-form haiku which Ogiwara Seisensui pioneered. The fact that both Santōka and Hōsai were mendicant priests who had rejected the world may have been closely connected to their abandonment of the traditional 5-7-5 haiku form: When one is “alone,” ther is no longer any need for the poem to keep a fixed form. And yet, as in the poem above, which is 3-3-3 in the original, the free-form haiku was not completely formless. It was a poetic shape created for someone tho could endure a life in which “In coughing/too,” hi was “alone”.

咳をしても一人Seki wo shite mo hitori

尾崎放哉(Ozaki Hōsai)

『大空』(大十五)所収。放哉は種田山頭火と共に、荻原井泉水を先導者とする口語自由律句の代表作者だった。二人が世捨て人だったことと、伝統的な五七五の俳句形式を離れてしまった事とは、たぶん密接に結びつく事柄だろう。「一人」であるとき、句は定型を順守する必要がなくなるのだと思われる。だがたとえばこの句が三・三・三からなるように、全くの無形式ではない。彼らの自由律は「咳をしても一人」の境涯に耐えうる人のための詩形だった。