Here in Melbourne we are in the first week of winter. After experiencing heavy rains, we are now shivering in crisp sunny cold weather.

Let us celebrate the rain with three haiku by Yosa Buson (1716-1783) translated by W S Merwin and Takako Lento

Is it a winter shower

or a mouse running

across the koto strings


A jig playing

on the old umbrella

winter shower in the moonlight


A winter evening shower

a toad mourns

a voice in hiding

13 thoughts on “Winter

  1. I am bemused. The high in Melbourne today was about 56 degrees, according to the weather service. The high in Homer today was 61, and everyone (including us) said, “Gorgeous! First day of real summer!”

    Coincidentally I got a book of classic haiku today, and here is another winter one by Buson:

    cover my head
    or my feet?
    the winter quilt

    1. That’s right 13 degrees centigrade, very chilly by our standards. I can’t tell you how many layers I am wearing. Love that Buson, something very folksy about him (in a good way!)

        1. I was just remembering being in Iceland in their summer last year and feeling quite comfortable at 10 degrees centigrade. All a matter of expectation.

  2. Fantastic photo. Is it Port Phillip Bay? I have been on my own for a while, and taking Silver the dog to watch the winter sun come up over Port Phillip Bay. The haiku are great too!

  3. Lovely haiku, particularly the image of the mouse running across the koto strings – there is something rather musical about the sound of rain, especially at night.

  4. The koto can be so delicate, but last night I went to a koto concert which was by no means mouselike. The sounds were forceful and dramatic especially when the ten koto were in a kind of contest with a butoh dancer.

  5. I am in the Kimberley in Western Aus right now and unfortunately the word toad summons up the image of the truly revolting Cane Toad lurking round the showers last night. Not a subject for haiku
    Gert 2

  6. After reading your post I had to look up Koto Strings. It’s a very distinctive instrument. Sorry about your winter setting in. It probably isn’t as bad as ours in Canada.

  7. I’m sure our winter is very mild compared with yours Leslie, but Australians do like to complain.
    As for the koto it is a long cumbersome instrument and looked heavy for the tiny Japanese women to lug on and off stage. It is capable of a great range of sound and timbre and provides the classic soundtrack for many Japanese movies.

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