. Hagi at My Study Window hagi or bush clover, a symbol of poetry, blooms as summer turns to autumn. Paper shapes the future’s surface, Paperweights the present state. Inkstones hold a scholar’s treasure: Ink, the past in pine-soot sticks. Water droppers moisten motion Brushes pensively perform, Taken from a jade container, Set to dry on ironwork rests. Wit, diversion, labor, pleasure, Sealed with cinnabar clay paste By the writer’s cherished signet Carved in wood or costly stone, Haiku hang from hagi branches; See the scene of leaves breeze-blown. . . The Literary Month seventh lunar month (early August through early September) Through thinnest clothes, fatigue evaporates, To be replaced by verbal stimulants. Old books are aired, and mildew dissipates With sentimentalism’s ignorance. The sight of summer grasses germinates Fresh verses flowing faster, filling sheets To energize whatever militates Against despair at liberty’s defeats. . . Summer Grasses This is one of Basho’s most celebrated haiku, composed in tears while visiting the site where Minamoto Yoshitsune (1159–1189) had lived, but where no building remained. by Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), translated by Margaret Coats Summer grasses grow Where noblest ancient warriors Laid their heads to dream. . Japanese original Natsukusa ya tsuwamono-domo ga yume no ato. . . The Mighty Eel A windbell chimes faint welcome as the air Stirs slightly. In the shop, we take our seats For one of summer’s most prodigious treats: Freshwater eel, sweet, rich grilled meat that beats Down sluggishness—real strength-inducing fare! Here’s roasted barley tea, well chilled, Small glasses colored and engraved; Cut crystal leaves us drinkers filled With cool serenity we craved As incense vile mosquitoes stilled. The lacquer boxes come; we lift each lid, Warm and slick and shiny, to behold Unagi in its sauce of savor bold. The food is fat with stamina untold; Its flexile power edible, yet hid. Brown rice beneath it meets a need For commonplace accompaniments While crunchy pickled carrots feed Weak thews’ and sinews’ competence, Restoring vigor atrophied. Then watermelon sweet, Like eel itself, supplies A seasonal oasis To ably exorcise Lethargic hungry heat. . thews and sinews: manners and muscles . . Margaret Coats lives in California. She holds a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and Language from Harvard University. She has retired from a career of teaching literature, languages, and writing that included considerable work in homeschooling for her own family and others.