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Three haiku by Taneda Santoka

Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2018 9:03 am
by WasoPimeja

I have been working on translating some japanese haiku into toki pona, in order to explore how this language and that literary genre work together. They have many essential features in common. Eventually, I'm hoping to find ways to create my own, original haiku in tp.

Here are a couple of my initial attempts. All these haiku are by Taneda Santoka (1882-1940), whose style is known for brevity, simplicity and sober clarity (despite that he lived as a drunken wandering beggar). I thought such a style would be the easiest to work with in the beginning.

I'd love to know about any thoughts, ideas and corrections you might have. I don't know if I'm stretching tp grammar a bit by using simple noun phrases the way they are used in the originals.

mi tawa kin
mi tawa kin
nena laso

wakeittemo wakeittemo aoi yama (original)

I go in I go in still the blue mountains (Tr. by Hiroaki Sato)

kasi li
tawa anpa
mi tawa kin

konoha chiru aruki tsumeru (original)

Leaves are falling; / I walk and walk. (Tr. by Takashi Nonin)

waso pimeja li kalama
mi kin
wan taso

karasu naite watashi mo hitori (original)

A crow caws, / I too am alone. (Tr. by James Abrams)

Re: Three haiku by Taneda Santoka

Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2018 11:18 am
by janKipo
Nice, but I admit to a preference for tp versions that keep at least the syllable pattern. There is a pile of these in the corpus, as well as a few scattered cases. Most of those in the corpus -- which is currently unsearchable except by looking at each item -- actually come from the musi section of the Forums, which is a bit more searchable. These may give you some further ideas. (I admit that, not being at all poetic, I use sixes in English: old pond/big frog/ker-splash!)

Re: Three haiku by Taneda Santoka

Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2018 12:25 pm
by WasoPimeja

Thanks for looking into this. I'll look around a bit and see what I find of other tp haiku here and elsewhere. I haven't read much tp poetry before. I'm still learning how and where to dig up texts and resources for tp...

As for the syllable pattern, I tend to completely disregard the 17 syllable (or on) pattern of traditional japanese haiku when writing or translating haiku. What works well for japanese does not necessarily work so well for other languages. There are for instance cases where directly translating a 5-syllable line of a japanese haiku gives you a single syllable in English. Adding four syllables to that is not translating, as I see it.

But that's a discussion for another time. As for this case, Santoka himself did not write 17 syllable/on haiku. His form was completely freestyle, mostly very minimalistic. Therefore I feel completely free to follow his example when translating him.

I'll steer closer to 17 syllables when approaching some more conservative ones, like Basho, but I'll put content - and the premises of tp - before form in any case.

Another newbie question... which corpus is it you mentioned? Is it on

janKipo wrote:old pond/big frog/ker-splash!

ni li pona tawa mi.
taso mi wile sona e ni:
kalama telo li seme?

Re: Three haiku by Taneda Santoka

Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:58 pm
by janKipo
Kalama telco is the last line of the 17syllable version of the Basho frog pond poem , here the onomatopoetic "kersplash" (more a stone than a frog). I forget the Japanese. I'm not sure I understood your question.

The fifty cases or so in the corpus suggest tp is fairly adaptable to the strict haiku style.
The corpus in question is the new one, collected since the Yahoo group shut down until last September. I think the address is also in the tomo lipu head article.

Re: Three haiku by Taneda Santoka

Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:22 pm
by WasoPimeja
Ok, thanks!

It's nothing important, I just asked what is the sound of water, because I've seen several translations that use onomatopoetic words like 'splash' etc. for the last line. I think that narrows the haiku down a bit, because mizu no oto / the sound of water / kalama telo doesn't necessarily signify a splash. It could also be silence.

Re: Three haiku by Taneda Santoka

Posted: Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:08 pm
by janKipo
True, but the tradition is pretty clearly in favor of a splash, though maybe not as much a one as “kersplash” suggests. I do like keeping the options open (my tp version uses ‘kalama telo’, of course). “plop”, which is about right, would be hard in tp.

Re: Three haiku by Taneda Santoka

Posted: Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:56 am
by WasoPimeja
Have you posted your version of the frog poem anywhere? I'd be very interested to see how that can be done.

It was the first haiku I tried to translate, but being a complete beginner, I got stuck on both 'old', 'pond', 'frog' (just akesi maybe?) and 'jump (in)'... :P

Kalama telo is clear enough though, a wonderfully sonorous 5-syllable line.

Re: Three haiku by Taneda Santoka

Posted: Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:46 am
by janKipo
It's in the large corpus set