Corrado Aiello (Italy)

summer stillness…
the cucumber
blows up its seeds

Comment: as the author states in his own note, the plant in question is the ‘squirting cucumber’ or ‘ecballium elaterium’, the fruit of which possess such a strong hydraulic pressure to throw the seeds at a considerable distance. This makes the contrast between the first and the second ku even clearer: the calmness (seijaku 静寂) and the torrid stillness (seishi 静止) of a typical summer day contrasts with the sudden and unexpected ‘explosion’ of a cucumber. It’s in fact a spontaneous maturation that –even if initially hidden from view– is then vehemently revealed, filling the air with many droplets and seeds. This poem also suggests an implicit combination of dryness (kansō 乾燥) and fertility (hōjō 豊饒), where the former one is represented by sunny fields and the latter one by the fresh, regenerating reproductive activity of those fruits.

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