A letter and poems from Kobayashi Issa

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A grateful letter with a thoughtful compilation of poems. The letter is addressed to Kubota Shunko (1744-1850) and his son Ryushi. They both were Issa’s students. But their relationship with Issa went far beyond that. The Kubota family was very close and supportive. Issa had been living in the Kubotas‘ storehouse for many years and Kubota Shunko inherited Issa’s diary about the 35 last days of his father. The original manuscript was handed down from generation to generation until in 1922 it was published as Chichi no Shuen Nikki.

Yesterday I didn’t have any ink left so I could not write any poems. – In the future I will be prepared earlier. And next year I will be back home so I will be prepared early enough. So as for now I am deeply grateful for the consideration from both your families. You really should not have. Thank you so much!

Frost on chrysanthemum
Pine trees are here and there
A horse neighs – autumn has come

Chrysanthemum flowers
In my eyes
Burning flames.

In the woods
Autumn leaves
warm my hands

Autumn leaves.
A father breaks branches,
A child picks them up.

Whom are you attracting,
Chrysanthemum?

These imbecilic verses are for your enjoyment. – Issa

PS
And send my regards to your wonderful families and Master [Nakamura] Kocho.

Kobayashi Issa (1763-1850)
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