Mushrooms in Haiku

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Mushrooms have an esteemed history in Japanese Haiku Poetry. Here are a selection of Haiku  both in the original Japanese and in English.                                       Translated by R. H. Blyth

Hatsutake no karoi ni furidasu kosame kana

Coming down the mountain

Through the drizzle

                                   To the scent of the first mushrooms.                        Chigetsu

Takegari ya mikazuki hitotsu torinokoshi

Mushroom gathering;

 Only the crescent moon

                                                        Left unpicked                                          Sanrei

Hahaso ochite matsutake mienu nioi kana

The oak tree falls on them,

And the scent arises

                                                Of unseen matsutake.                                    Gyoji

Ureshisa ni rakuba wasururu kinoko kana

I forgot falling off the horse

With the happiness

                                               Of finding mushrooms.                                    Ukei

Kuchiki to na oboshi mesare so enokidake

Don’t deplore

         The decaying tree —

                                                           Look at the enokidake.                                 Ransetsu

Te no mae ni cho no ikizuku kinoko kana

Before my hand

Stretched out for the mushroom,

                                              A butterfly breathing.                                          Issa

Utsukushii ya ara utsukushii ya doku-kinoko

How beautiful,

Beautiful indeed,

                                            The poisonous mushrooms !                                 Issa

Takegari no heta ya hitodaki kusa no hana

Mushroom hunting ;

Someone not good at it,

                                        With an armful of wildflowers.                                  Issa

Nigemo senu no wo awate kinoko-gari

Mushroom hunting ;

They don’t run away,

                                                  But everyone’s in such a hurry !                             Senryu

Takegari ya kyo wa ki no ne ni korobu made

Mushroom gathering ;

Today let’s go on till we fall over

                                                    The roots of the trees.                                          Kaso

Yume di nashi matsutake ouru yama no hara

It is no dream !

Matsutake are growing

                                                         On the belly of the mountain.                                Shigetaka

Ureshisa no yama wo tsukamu ya kinokogari

Taking hold with the hand

Of the happiness of the mountain,—

                                                         Mushroom gathering !                                          Raisha