Nietzsche and Senryu

Clown School Professors

Can ya take a joke?

< At left, jokes by Nietzsche // Senryu jokes on right >

My Roses

Yes, my joy wants to amuse,
Every joy wants to amuse.
Would you like to pick my roses?

You must stoop and stick your noses
Between thorns and rocky views,
And not be afraid of bruises.

For my joy -- enjoys good teases.
For my joy -- enjoys good ruses.
Would you like to pick my roses?


   	        	           As far as his mouth is concerned,
	        	                He could climb
	        	           Kanchinjanka.    --Kenkabu

Medicine for Pessimists

Nothing tastes good to you, my friend?
I'm tired of your belly-aching.
You spit, rage, slander without end;
My patience and my heart are breaking.
I have a remedy; just follow
My good advice and rest assured:
A toad is what you need to swallow,
And your dyspepsia will be cured.


	  	                   On the cooling bench;
	  	                        Behind them
	  	                   A toad is listening.    --Santaro

Consolation for Beginners

See the child lost among swine,
Helpless, he can't even talk.
He is always, always cryin' --
Will he ever learn to walk?
Don't despair! Soon he will treat
You to dances. It is said,
Once he can stand on his feet,
He will soon stand on his head.


	              	           Four or five people,
	                           By the horse farting
	                                on the ferry-boat.


Yes, at times I do make ice,
For it helps us to digest,
If you had much to digest,
You would surely love my ice!


	              	           Having grumbled at his wife
	                                Too much,
	                           He lights the cooking stove.

The Thorough Who Get to the Bottom of Things

A seeker, I? Oh, please be still!
I'm merely heavy -- weigh many a pound.
I fall, and I keep falling till
At last I reach the ground.


	                           Falling downstairs, --
	                                There is a mortal

Lost His Head

Why is she clever now and so refined?
On her account a man's out of his mind,
His head was good before he took this whirl:
He lost his wits -- to the aforesaid girl.


	                           When the hand-cart puller
	                                Sees a girl,
	                           He puts on a spurt.

Writing with One's Feet

Not with my hand alone I write:
My foot wants to participate.
Firm and free and bold, my feet
Run across the field -- and sheet.


	                           When the teacher turns
	                                to the blackboard,
	                           He yawns.    --Isan

To My Reader

I am the cook.
Good teeth, strong stomach with you be!
And once you have got down my book,
You should get on with me.


	                           Somebody says,
	                                "You've got a bit of rice
	                           On the end of your nose."    --Kenkabo

Poet's Vanity

Give me glue and in good time
I'll find wood myself. To crowd
Sense into four silly rhymes
Is enough to make one proud.


	                           More than learning it,
	                                Getting rid of that appearance
	                           Takes time and trouble.

Choosy Taste

If it depended on my choice,
I think it might be great
To have a place in Paradise;
Better yet -- outside the gate.


	                           Having caused the neighbours
	                                A great deal of trouble,
	                           He will never eat globe-fish

Ted Willi 27-Jan-08
Selections from: Friedrich Nietzsche, "The Gay Science" (Trans. Walter Kaufmann), NY: Vintage Books, 1974.
"Senryu: Japanese Satirical Verses" (Trans. R.H. Blyth), Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1971.
Clown art by Mervyn Peake; published in "Circus: A World History" by Rupert Croft-Cooke & Peter Cotes, NY: Macmillan Pub., 1977.