Hey y’all, thanks for the comments. I wasn’t sure how well these would go over; I guess I shouldn’t have worried!

My main reason for wanting to translate these was what I felt to be the inadequacy of Lanoue’s translation of kuso, etc. as “poop.” In the case of deer and caterpillars, we have specific words for their excrement that should be used. “Frass” might be a little obscure for non-naturalists, but it seems wrong to use the word “shit” for something so hard and dry (human excrement, by contrast, is 80 percent water) – and as Maria says, the word is as dry as the sound the stuff makes when it falls to the forest floor.

robin andrea – Thanks for the fun comment. I didn’t see any Issa haiku that deal explictly with the link between sex and bowel movements for some men, though homosexuality was certainly not a taboo subject in pre-modern Japan (see, for example, haiku master and novelist Saikaku Ihara’s story collection Comrade Loves of the Samurai).