H  A  I  K  U     S  P  I  R  I  T
Shuson Kato


I crush an ant
I am the one my three kids

It is a winter tree
that attracts my eyes

When I ask for the way
the lane fills up
with half naked kids

The eyes of the pheasant
at the market

Sleeping insect
I would love death
to have this face

Temple in the wind
a coin resounds
in a collection box

When I take off my hat
the blue night spreads
winter sky

In the fire
this walking ant
will end

Clouds banking up
city of ashes
as far as the eye can see

Winter seagulls
no roof for the living
no grave for the dead

Tax man pouring with sweat
the penniless teacher
burst out laughing together

On this atomic bomb picture
like me the dead are gaping
I am cold

Dead leaf
finally touches the ground
time in slow motion

After death
six foot under the frost
will be enough for me

What fits my children
no longer fits me
new calendar


Until it has become
a floorcloth
my old summer kimono

Fishermen laying
a shark
in the snow

Pine branches removed
faces badly shaved
all over the place

Midwinter thunder
shaking the pane
in the heart of the night

Men and sheep
put on weight again
millet is ripe!


Translation: Gilles Fabre

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