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image: Carole MacRury :: haiku: Ume Shukishi (Shushiki) (1668-1725)

Portrait of Ume Shukishi by Buson

We end with Shushiki, who was very well known and one of the few female haiku poets to write a death poem. She died on the fifteenth day of the fourth month, 1725 at the age of fifty-seven. Most of my photographs are dark, spectral, death like. In contrast, for this haiku I choose the vibrant sensual center of a bearded ruffled iris.  The reason for my choice is that her words reflect a viewpoint of the Mahayana branch of Buddhism that recognizes the void (nirvana) as awakening to a world of truth and color. I find the fact that she was dreaming of iris as she lay dying very poignant.