A Dragonfly Haiku

I thought I’d share this beautiful haiku that I read in a book, “Fireflies, Honey, and Silk” by an entomologist Gilbert Waldbauer. This haiku was written originally in Japanese and this is a translated version.


Female Blue Skimmer in Chinese Gardens

The shadow of the bamboo-fence, with a dragonfly at rest upon it, is thrown upon my paper-window.

Look at the bamboo hats of the cotton pickers! There is a dragonfly perched on each of them.

Lonesomely clings the dragonfly to the underside of the leaf-Ah! The autumn rains!

-Lafcadio Hearn

The Japanese have admired and loved dragonflies and damselflies for thousands of years, one of the old names of Japan being Akitsushima, meaning the “Island of the Dragonfly”. Still today, young Japanese poets compose verses on more than two hundred dragonflies and damselflies that the Japanese have traditionally named. We should learn a thing or two about their appreciation for these graceful creatures that we often ignore and forget to stop and admire.


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