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Spring 2005, vol 3 no 1

Feature ~ Kimiyo Tanaka, The Beauty of Small Things

akabara ya
moegi no kumo no
hohteiru Shiki

a yellow-green spider
crawling on
a red rose

Once upon a time, Buddha gazed down from Paradise, through a lotus pond, at a man who was nearly drowning in the desperately dark pond of blood in Hell. It was Kandata, who had been a villainous criminal but, one time only, had done a good thing. When he was about to tramp on a small spider, it occurred to him that he should not kill it, because it has its own life. Buddha remembered that and tried to give him a reward for good behavior. Kandata found a fine shining spider thread hanging from heaven toward him, and he began to climb it earnestly and hopefully. When he was exhausted from climbing up, he happened to look down and realized that many other people in hell were following him, climbing the fine thread. Kandata dreaded that the thread might be break. He screamed at those who were chasing him, "Do not climb this thread! This thread is only for me!", and then the thread broke off above him.

This is a summary of the well-known tale, "Spider's Thread" written by Ryunosuke Akutagawa. I have often swatted flies and mosquitoes, and stepped on caterpillars and ants. Even if Buddha tries to save me by the spider's thread, I am too heavy to climb it now. How can I manage to live a life full of hope?--I will have to describe the beauty of those small things' lives and continue writing haiku in Hell, waiting for other haiku friends who also have had the experience of killing insects or other small living things. Good Luck!

a whisper
dangling around me
invisible mosquito

by Kim Komurasaki

Kimiyo Tanaka has taught Japanese at the Foreign Student Center of Ehime University in Matsuyama for more than 10 years and also works as a translator. She enjoys writing haiku in English as well as in Japanese. She is a member of the group that created and maintains the well-known internet haiku projects "Shiki Internet Haiku Salon" and "Shiki Haikusphere". She is also a translator for the Shiki International Haiku Prize Selection Committee.

Kim's website is Haiku World


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