Monday, June 6, 2011

the big haul (misuzu kaneko series #1)

I recently became a fan of poet and songwriter Misuzu Kaneko. I had long been aware of her poems for children, but until recently I had never wondered about the poet herself. Now that I know more about her, I am hit harder and more deeply by her works than I was before.

Like the butterfly in the previous post, this was painted on a double-sized washi card that I've been experimenting with lately. It doesn't have the same bleed factor as my usual brand, but I'm trying to learn how to use it to its full potential.

I've tried to translate the short poem that inspired today's etegami, but I haven't been able to capture the rhythm of the Japanese words, or convey the unsentimental pathos of the original. I will keep working on it. But the meaning goes something like this:

The Big Haul
Beneath a glowing sunrise,
the fishing boats return,
loaded with Ooba Sardines.
On shore, villagers celebrate like it's a festival.
In the sea, sardines hold a funeral
for their tens of thousands of mates.


  1. This is wonderful! I'm going to look her up.

    I used to live in Monterey, California where it once was a huge sardine fishing area. Of course you've heard of "Cannery Row", both the novel and the place.

  2. Debbie, your paintings are little gems.

  3. Oh my goodness-- the sardines missing their mates and holding a funeral as the fishermen are cheering. That is really very deep.
    And your fish paintings always look -- well-- like real fish! Kind of detached from the world. 😁