mizugame ni ukaberu ari no kage wa naku
floating in the water vat
without its shadow
from “Yamaguchi Seishi Kusyu” (Haiku Collection of Seishi Yamaguchi), Modern Haiku Self-selected and Self-interpreted Series Vol. 5, Hakuhosha, Tokyo, 1995
Fay’s Note: In his self-interpretation of this haiku, Seishi Yamaguchi wrote:
An ant walked on the rim of a water vat. Accidentally, or by a force of the wind, it fell into the water. Its body floats on the surface. For a living creature, losing its shadow and floating in the water is the extremity of sadness.