Very often I find stuff in my pockets. Usually it’s receipts or old tickets. Sometimes I extract a crumpled piece of paper I can no longer decipher but which I know is a now unidentifiable idea which I tried to jot down while tripping over a dog or avoiding a motorcycle.
There are pockets in my mind as well. Mostly I find junk there too, but every now and then I come across something which makes me smile mysteriously while I am waiting to cross the road or just as they announce that my flight has been delayed again.
For example there are three or four haikus by Kobayashi Issa which I keep on coming across again and again:
Pissing in the snow
outside my door–
it makes a very straight hole.
The holes in the wall
play the flute
this autumn evening.
In a dream
my daughter lifts a melon
to her soft cheek
Visiting the graves
the old dog
leads the way
I first encountered Issa’s poems while reading an anthology of Haiku edited by Robert Hass (The Essential Haiku), so when I noticed a clip of him reading some of his translations of Issa I thought I would share it with you. Perhaps some of them will end up in your minds’ pockets too.
(here’s a link to the video in case you can’t see the embedded version.)
If you want to read more Issa, there is a website with all of his poems http://haikuguy.com/issa/