20

In my water, having fallen from the neighbor’s peach tree—a hairy caterpillar

我水に隣家の桃の毛虫かな

waga mizu ni tonari no momo no kemushi kana

(Buson 蕪村)

*

1.

The word peach, momo, can refer to the tree or to its fruit, and is an autumn season word.

2.

The poem depicts a yard, with the phrase “my water” indicating water collected there in some form, such as in a basin or a pond.

3.

The literal phrasing of the original is “the neighbor’s peach’s hairy caterpillar”, and it is left to the reader to fill in the rest of the scene—a branch going over the fence and the caterpillar falling off it into the water, where it now wriggles.

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Nippoem

Journal of Japanese Poetry Translation

All rights reserved to Dan Bornstein

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