Selected Senryu

Senryū (川柳, literally ‘river willow’) is a Japanese form of short poetry similar to haiku in construction: three lines with 17 syllables [5-7-5]. Senryū tend to be about human foibles while haiku tend to be about nature, and senryū are often cynical or darkly humorous while haiku are more serious. [Adapted from en.wikipedia.org]

Senryu Poems of the People, by J.C. Brown, Tuttle, 1990

Selected Poems

Notes: A hyphen – indicates a long vowel; hold it an extra count. Double consonants sometimes hold for two counts.

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ne ni hosomu

inochi shinjita

eda no saki

— Sho-ichi

“The tip of the branch believes in the hidden life of the root.”

~~~

samazama no

na o motsu hanabi

mina kemuri

— Keisen

“Fireworks, variously named, are all just smoke.”

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hana saite

itemo zasso-

hiki nukare

— Ko-bo-

“Bloom though they may, weeds are pulled up.”

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nusutto neko

ana no aku hodo

mite nigeru

— Kaishinji

“The thieving cat stares hard, then runs away.”

~~~

massugu ni

yuki ni cho-cho-

hima ga ari

— Kaho-

“A butterly that goes straight has free time.”

~~~

doko e yuku

kumo ka to mireba

kieru kumo

— Gokason

Looking at clouds, “Wondering where they’re going, the clouds disappear.”

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