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Translating Basho : matsutake pine mushrooms

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Larry Bole:
Thanks, Gabi. It helps to know that the similarity is not only to the shape of the tree, but also to its bark. And now I get that kabureta is from yabureru, meaning "be torn; be ripped."

And I like your translation. Since Japanese haiku are often written in what I like to call Japanese 'shorthand', and are not always grammatically proper (or correct), I think the comparison can be implied in English without stating it with the words "they look (like)" So I would shorten your translation to:

pine mushrooms -
the more ragged their tops,
the more like red pine

One problem is that without the reader knowing what the bark of the red pine looks like, the reader might not get the connection to the bark. The question then becomes, does one save information like that for an explanation of the haiku, or does one add it to the translation, even though the word "bark" doesn't appear in the original?

pine mushrooms -
the more bark-like their tops,
the more like red pine


Gabi Greve:
Thanks for sharing your versions, Larry!

The translator is in a difficult position indeed.
I prefere to add footnotes to explain what is implied in the poem and if possible some background.

Greetings from a warm spring morning in Japan.


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