winterhaiku Nov 8, 2011
Since I first read AABS's writeup, I was intrigued. No Japanese? Questionable authorship? Had it been misattributed to a prolific haiku artist, as many quotes are to famous figures like Shakespeare, Einstein, and Jesus? I employed Google to no avail. I asked other noders to no avail, although mauler informed me that Basho didn't live in the 14th century. And so a note sat deep in my writing folder---until today. Google came through this time, and the author was named Nakamura Kusatao:
rohyō ni magau
mistaken for a signpost,
a solitary tombstone1
He is most famous for "Furu yuki ya Meiji wa toku ni narinikeri" (Snow falls and Meiji is all but a distant memory). He visited his old school, and was struck by what had changed and what had remained the same: "Although he was relieved to find it unchanged, when he saw children in overcoats fastened with golden buttons appear in the school yard as the snow started to fall, he nevertheless felt the passing of time from when he was a boy in kimono and wooden sandals."† A monument at the school now bears the verse.
1. Translated by mauler.
2. The haiku handbook: how to write, share, and teach haiku. William J. Higginson, Penny Harter.