the hawk’s eyes now, dim that it is dark, so the quail sings
鷹の目も今 や暮れぬと 鳴く鶉
taka no me mo / ima ya kurenu to / naku uzura
Early in 1691 Matsuo Bashō stayed for a time in Saga (southern Japan, near Nagasaki), with his disciple Mukai Kyorai, who like Bashō had been born into a Samurai family. In late fall or early winter, he returned to Edo to stay in his third banana hut. The anthology, Monkey’s Raincoat (Sarumino 猿蓑) is published.
Another Hawk haiku
In 1678, on a visit to the Atsumi peninsula and Cape of Irago (Iragosaki), Basho wrote this haiku:
By a stroke of luck, I saw
A solitary hawk circling
Above Iragosaki (Cape Irago)
taka hitotsu mitsukete ureshi Iragosaki
Notes on translation of a Quail Sings
Line one. Taka no me mo, literally the “Hawk eyes now”.
Hawks have excellent eyesight. They can see 8 times better than we be-speckled humans. But like humans, the hawk’s vision dims in the night. And the quail hiding in the tall grass during the day, waits until it is dark, to sing.
Line two. Ima ya kurenu to. Ima, now, Kurenu, that it gets dark, also meaning to come to an end. The hawk’s hunting must end for the quail to sing.
Line three. Naku uzura. The quail (uzura), it sings, it cries, its voice resounds now that the hawk is in its nest. Naku also means to sob, which is what the hawk must me doing.