Corrado Aiello (Italy)

sense of life:
eating some cherries
with their worms

Comment: a metrically balanced haiku with several possible readings. The ‘sense of life’ in the opening ku could both refer to the proactive concept of ikigai 生き甲斐 (the ‘purpose in life’, ie the set of values that makes one’s life worthwhile) or most likely to the notion of mujōkan 無常感, ie the perception of the evanescence of life and its transiency. In both cases the word ‘life’ is associated with the worms (mimizu みみず) that have penetrated the pulp of the fruits and which are now eaten by the protagonist, closing the endless cycle of life and death. There is also a subtle, unspoken irony in this poem, since the man will, in turn, be ‘eaten’ by worms as soon as he dies. The cherries (sakuranbo 桜ん坊) in line 2 are a symbol of pleasure and delight, but in this case they conceal a much more complex background (note the possessive adjective ‘their’, stressing this link).

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