(hitohachiru totsu hitohachiru kazenoue)
This is a farewell haiku composed by Ransetsu Hattori. He was one of Basho’s top-three disciples.
This haiku can be translated in the following two ways, because “ひとはちる” can mean either “a leaf falls” or “man dies”.
As you may know, “ひとは” reads “hitoha” or “hitowa”, that is, “一葉” or “人は”. The word “咄 (totsu)” is a kind of onomatopoetic word, which is similar to “喝 (katsu)” used in Zen meditation. It is assumed that Ransetsu used this unique word in order to make readers to pay attention to the metaphor indicated by the refrain of "ひとは". The words "風の上" (i.e., "above wind") may imply "heaven".
(A) Literal translation
a leaf falls
Totsu! a leaf falls_
above the wind
(B) Free translation
man dies as if a leaf falls_
Basho passed away,
now, me too.
(Note) Both (A) and (B) are translations by Satoshi Kinoshita.
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