We've updated our Terms of Use. You can review the changes here.

Nine Haiku of Ry​ō​kan

by Marnen E. Laibow-Koser

supported by
  • Streaming + Download

    Includes high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more. Paying supporters also get unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app.
    Purchasable with gift card

      name your price


はちたたき 昔も今も 鉢叩き hachi tataki mukashi mo ima mo hachi tataki banging my bowl then as now banging my bowl
木枯しを 馬上ににらむ 男哉 kogarashi wo bajō ni niramu otoko kana cold winter wind glaring upon a horse a man!
新いけや かはずとびこむ 音もなし
 araike ya kawazu tobikomu oto mo nashi a new pond; a frog jumps in no sound at all
山は花 酒や酒やの 杉ばやし yama wa hana sake ya sake ya no sugiyabashi the mountain is flowering “sake! sake!” sounds in the cedar grove
人の皆 ねぶたき時の 行行子 hito no mina nebutaki toki no gyōgyōshi when everyone is drowsy reed-warblers
さわぐ子の 捕る知恵はなし 初ほたる sawagu ko no toru chie wa nashi hatsu hotaru chattering children will not be able to catch the first firefly
ぬす人に 取り殘されし 窓の月 nusubito no torinokosareshi mado no tsuki the thief left one thing behind: the moon in the window
いざさらば 暑さを忘れ 盆踊 iza saraba atsusa wo wasure bon’odori come on! forget the heat Bon dance
裏を見せ 表を見せて 散る紅葉 ura wo mise omote wo misete chiru momiji showing its back showing its front maple leaf falls


These songs were composed for a recital that also included Samuel Barber’s famous Hermit Songs. Since the Barber texts were written by medieval Irish hermits, I chose to set texts that were also written by a hermit, but in a different part of the world.

The hermit whose texts I used here was Ryōkan Taigu (良寛大愚, 1758–1831), a Japanese monk who was also a well-known haiku poet. Following Japanese tradition, I set the poems in seasonal order, ending with Ryōkan’s death poem, as follows:

Winter: 1 and 2
Spring: 3 and 4
Summer: 5 and 6
Autumn: 7–9

The score for this work is available at drive.google.com/open?id=117uQRW3-s7hHSjEJGnet1CKXNSbGAJe8 .


released June 4, 2018

Katie O’Reilly, soprano
Marnen E. Laibow-Koser, piano

Recorded live at St. Mary’s Church, Charlestown (Boston), Massachusetts, 25 February 2018


all rights reserved



Marnen E. Laibow-Koser Randolph, Massachusetts

contact / help

Contact Marnen E. Laibow-Koser

Streaming and
Download help

Report this album or account

If you like Marnen E. Laibow-Koser, you may also like: