When haiku are good, or very good, they are multifaceted. They don’t have just one simple translation.
In this haiku by Buson
”ba-sa” it goes — a moonlit night
and the first rain of the season
we hear the rain hitting the old umbrella — “ba-sa, ba-sa” — an onomatopoeic word that is used to evoke a rustling, flapping, or fluttering sound. We see Buson himself, whom his friend Kitto refers to as Basa, at once a fop, an old woman, and a dancer. It’s a moonlit night, but there are clouds too, and it suddenly starts to rain.
So we have basa the sound: rain hitting the old umbrella;
and we have a further implication: 婆娑羅 basara: foppery or dandyism.
Buson is clearly being self-deprecating here. His umbrella my be battered; he may look like an old woman; but he’s enjoying himself in the moonlight and rain.
from Buson’s Collected Haiku #680
Follow me on Instagram: @turnipdiary