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Archive for January, 2015

Its cold and grey outside, so we seek a bit of spring in this selection of peony related haiku. Most of these poems date from the Edo period (1603-1868). Many of the masters of the haiku such as Matsuo Basho, Yosa Buson and Kobayashi Isaa used peonies as a muse and metaphor. As in Chinese poetry, this selection of haikus illustrates the way in which peonies are linked with female beauty and sensuality in traditional Japanese literary culture.

If you garden is looking brown and dreary like ours, we hope that you will enjoy these haikus. They help to remind us that in only a few short months the sleeping beauties that are the peonies will awake and our gardens will once again be aglow!

A bee staggers out     of the peony. Basho

a bee
staggers out
of the peony
~Basho

a rice bowl  filled to the brim  one peony ~ Buson

a rice bowl
filled to the brim
one peony
~ Buson

what peonies!  one poem per flower  will not do ~ Ryumin

what peonies!
one poem per flower
will not do
~ Ryumin

the feeling of  being drunk with tea thanks to peony ~ Chisoku

the feeling of
being drunk with tea
thanks to peony
~ Chisoku

the peony flower:   it's a woman with plenty of meat on her bones ~ hakuo

the peony flower:
it’s a woman with plenty
of meat on her bones
~ Hakuo

the applause   of one and all shower the peony ~ Issa

the applause
of one and all shower
the peony
~ Issa

for peony blossom viewing  a pale kimono is good and chinese tea   ~ Torin

for peony blossom viewing
a pale kimono is good
and chinese tea
~ Torin

half a mind to dress up and bow down to the peony ~ Shiki

half a mind
to dress up and bow down
to the peony
~ Shiki

though mine I hesitate to pluck the peonies ~ Baishitsu

though mine
I hesitate to pluck
the peonies
~ Baishitsu

that peony!  I want to dash cold water on her face ~ Kaken

that peony!
I want to dash cold water
on her face
~ Kaken

If you crave more peony related poetry, see our previous posts on peonies in Japanese, Chinese and English language poetry.

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