Yosa Buson, “The mad girl”

The mad girl (tr. Robert Hass)
Yosa Buson

The mad girl
in the boat at midday;
spring currents.


At first: even the insane can appreciate a fine spring day. But that is literally a cruel joke; the poem commences deconstruction. Spring should be a time of rebirth, renewal. One who most needs change should not be caught in a cycle. Yet she’s isolated in a boat. “At midday” brings to mind suspension in time. Her insanity is permanent, resisting the flux. What most needs to change is not in spring’s power to effect.

1 Comment

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