hiroshima ya tamago kû toki kuchi hiraku
to eat an egg
I open my mouth
from “Haiku Shiki” (“Haiku Four Seasons,” a monthly haiku magazine) , July 2010 Issue, Tokyo Shiki Shuppan, Tokyo
Fay’s Note: This haiku does not have a kigo, but it is one of 8 haiku titled ‘Famous City’ by Sanki Saito (1900-1962). Soon after an atomic bomb was dropped in Hiroshima, Sanki visited the city. When he started to eat a boiled egg for lunch, he noticed that was the first time he opened his mouth that day. He had been speechless with what he saw.
Fay, when I read these haiku holding the great tragedies of our ages, I dare not comment on them for fear I’ll miss listening to what is being said. Thank you for bringing such dignified and sensitive haiku … in the reserve of the poets the focus is on the enormity of the brutality we behold. You bring us to stand and be there with them.
Certainly there is no traditional kigo in the haiku, but in light of your comment the time is firmly fixed to shortly after August 8, 1945, the day the bomb was dropped. So the word Hiroshima acts as a one-time kigo and carries an enormous impact.
Hi, Richard, (I just saw your photo at HNA)… I’m glad for your comment as I’ve felt for a long time that events of human history that cause their own natural world possibly should be considered kigo. This haiku and the one Fay posts for today 8/8/11 surely give events that alter time itself creating changes we try to incorporate into our understanding through art such as haiku. I am glad for your comment.
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I am grateful for this haiku, your explanation, and every comment that followed. The impact increased with every word. Thank you all.