Sharing a Childhood Memory With the poet Issa
It is something we do as adults, Issa, squeeze under our houses to check the joists, the bearers. But did you crawl in the thin spaces under your parent’s house; that ghastly step-mother of yours? Did you check your father’s house? But of course you did.
under my house an inchworm measuring the joists
Perhaps you didn't need to crawl under the house. Perhaps you could hear the inchworm by not having to do that. But I have memories of my childhood Issa, and I have written so thinking of you.
under my parent's house near the chimney a nest of duck eggs
skinniest child i am the one who must crawl under the house for duck eggs rich sultana cake ... today my mother bakes with duck eggs
Dear writer from a faraway land. The day grows short now.
well, well, the day is foolishly long ... irises
napped half the day no one punished me
Perhaps you have read my words before. Today I will try to finish my letter to you but excuse me I have guests arriving.
the nighingale not at all concerned little gambling shack
Therefore excuse me from my far distant Prefecture.
spring breeze even a samurai is blown down the slope
Might my letter blow on seasonal breezes to you; writer from a faraway land. Some people call me Chief Beggar of Shinano Province; others, Issa.
Benita H. Kape (c) 11.4.2021
Notes: All haiku by Issa are in Italics.
And now for our (optional) prompt. This is a twist on a prompt offered by Kay Gabriel during a meeting she facilitated at the Poetry Project last year. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a two-part poem, in the form of an exchange of letters. The first stanza (or part) should be in the form of a letter that you write either to yourself or to a famous fictional or historical person. The second part should be the letter you receive in response. These can be as short or long as you like, in the form of prose poems, or with line breaks – and of course, the subject matter of the letters is totally up to you.