Shiki’s Death Haiku

Vol 1-2 August 2001

Shiki’s Death Haiku

Shiki's Death Haiku

The three death haiku poems by Shiki written by his own hand about 13 to 14 hours before his death which occurred around 1 a.m. 19 September 1902.

The one in the centre in the largest letters and in four lines is the first poem he wrote:

hechima saite tan no tsumarishi hotoke kana

snake gourd has gone to flower
a Buddha have I turned
choked with phlegm   
(Version by ST)

The second verse was written within the small space to the left of the first:

tan itto hechima no mizu mo mani awazu

a barrel of phlegm
snake gourd water is
just not enough   
(Version by ST)

The third and last poem is on the right hand space and written diagonally:

ototoi no hechima no mizu mo torazariki

since the day before yesterday
not even snake gourd water
has been collected  
(Version by ST)

This is one of the finest and most moving calligraphy works that have been produced in Japan. 

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