Today we’ll read another haiku, this time by Miura Chora‧三浦 樗良 (1729-1780), another great haiku poet of the Bashō Revival movement‧中興期俳諧 and a close friend of Buson‧蕪村.
- 梅が香 means ‘the smell of ume’.
- が here is a possessive particle, which is its common meaning in Classical Japanese.
- 梅 is sometimes translated as ‘plum’, but biologically it is a separate species Prunus mume which is related to plums, cherries, peaches, and apricots. The Latin name comes from the alternative archaic spelling むめ.
- 香 is read か and means ‘fragrance’.
- 驚きて is a connecting form comprised of 連用系 with て. It is the very form that became 驚いて in modern spoken language.
- 散日 is read ちひ and means ‘the day when [flowers] fall’.
- Ume blossoms from January to March, and 梅 is also a season word‧季語 for spring.
- This haiku was probably written in late March or early April when the flowers have already fallen.
- Thus, the author is surprised by the fragrance he suddenly felt, wondering if it was the last ume flower of spring.
- My translation:
Fragrance of ume
caught me by surprise. Is this
the day its flowers fell?