Oriori no Uta : Poems for All Seasons

In coughing

too , I am


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)