Goose, geese (kari)


Goose, geese (kari, gan)

***** Location: Japan, worldwide
***** Season: various, see below
***** Category: Animal


............................... kigo for late autumn

goose, geese, kari 雁 (かり)
..... gan がん
..... かりがね , カリガネ" lesser white-fronted goose、Anser erythropus, flying in "chevron shape"
This refers to the wild geese.

first goose, first geese, hatsukari 初雁(はつかり)

white-fronted goose, magan 真雁(まがん)
hishikui 菱喰(ひしくい)

"sake face goose", sakatsuragan 酒顔雁(さかつらがん)

small goose, kogarigane 小雁(こかりがね)
black goose, kokugan 黒雁(こくがん)
gray goose, hai irogan 灰色雁(はいいろがん)

Shijuu karagan 四十雀雁(しじゅうからがん)

"swamp goose", numa taroo 沼太郎(ぬまたろう)
nogan 鴇(のがん)

"mountain turkey", yama shichimenchoo 山七面鳥(やましちめんちょう)
another name for the
wild goose, nogan 野雁(のがん)
"Princess goose", himegan 姫雁(ひめがん)

row of geese, gan no retsu 雁の列(かりのれつ)
formation of geese flying, flight of geese
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

"geese like a pole", kari no sao 雁の棹(かりのさお)
one row of geese, line of geese, ganji 雁字(がんじ)
..... ganjin 雁陣(がんじん)、gankoo 雁行(がんこう)

sound of the geese, kari ga ne 雁が音(かりがね)

geese crossing over, kari wataru 雁渡る(かりわたる)
geese coming, kari kitaru 雁来る(かりきたる)、
geese in the sky, amatsukari 天津雁(あまつかり)
geese in the clouds, kumoi no kari 雲井の雁(くもいのかり)
The geese come to Japan in autumn and spend the winter here.

geese in a small field, oda no kari 小田の雁(おだのかり)
a flock of geese in a field

goose falling down, rakugan 落雁(らくがん)
ill goose, byoogan 病雁(びょうがん) -

. byoogan no yosamu ni ochite tabine kana .
Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - more hokku about - kari 雁 goose
yamukari 病雁(やむかり)used by Basho


............................... kigo for winter

"white goose", hakugan 白雁(はくがん)
Snow Geese
Anser caerulescens

geese in the cold, kangan 寒雁
Geese in winter, fuyu no gan 冬の雁 fuyu no gan


............................... kigo for mid-spring

. ganburo 雁風呂 がんぶろ "bath for the wild geese" .
..... kari kuyoo 雁供養(かりくよう) memorial service for wild geese
In Tsugaru, Aomori


............................... kigo for late spring

spring geese, haru no kari 春の雁
nokoru kari 残る雁(のこるかり)geese still left over

geese going back home, kigan 帰雁
lit. "geese going home"
The geese are leaving Japan now and go back to Northern regions.

good by for the geese, kari no wakare 雁の別れ(かりのわかれ)

geese still here, nagori no kari 名残の雁(なごりのかり)
..... imawa no kari いまわの雁(いまわのかり)
leaving geese, yuku kari 行く雁(ゆくかり)

geese returning home, departing geese
..... kaeru kari 帰る雁(かえるかり)
They are off to their Northern breeding habitats.


Goose (plural geese, male gander(s))
is the general English name for a considerable number of birds, belonging to the family Anatidae. This family also includes swans, most of which are larger than geese, and ducks, which are smaller.

Goose in its origins is one of the oldest words of the Indo-European languages (Crystal), the modern names deriving from the proto-Indo-European root, ghans, hence Sanskrit hamsa (feminine hamsii), Latin anser, Greek khén etc.

In the Germanic languages, the root word led to Old English gos with the plural gés, German Gans and Old Norse gas. Other modern derivatives are Russian gus and Old Irish géiss; the family name of the cleric Jan Hus is derived from the Czech derivative husa.

In non-technical use, the male goose is called a "gander" (Anglo-Saxon gandra) and the female is the "goose"; young birds before fledging are known as "goslings". A group of geese on the ground is called a gaggle; when flying in formation, it is called a wedge or a skein.

Read more in the © WIKIPEDIA

Worldwide use

Canada, North America

Geese heading north
kigo for spring

Geese heading south
kigo for autumn

Canadian SAIJIKI Canadiens



ach du dumme Gans!

Eine sehr bekannte und häufig angewandte Redensart, um die geistige Beschränktheit weiblicher Personen zu bezeichnen. Die Gans steht bei uns ebenso allgemein in dem Rufe der Dummheit wie der Esel. Auch führt sie den Namen Alheit = Adelheit, abgekürzt Alke. Man leitet diesen Namen ebenfalls aus der Dummheit und Geschwätzigkeit her, durch welche die Gans charakterisiert wird.

More is here :
© www.operone.de

In other cultures, we have other associations with these animals.
For example the
"The Golden Goose" in Grimms Fairy Tales.
and Mother Goose.



Light-bellied Brent Goose
Branta bernicla hrota

Winter migrant from high-Arctic Canada. Most occur in Ireland between October and April.
Mostly found on coastal estuaries during the autumn and early winter, and also on grasslands from mid-winter, until departure for the breeding grounds begins in late April.
source : www.birdwatchireland.ie

pale bellies..
almost time
for goodbyes

- Shared by John Byrne -
Haiku Culture Magazine , 2013

Things found on the way

The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white.
Neither need you do anything but be yourself.



Goosie goosie gander where shall I wander,
Upstairs, downstairs and in my lady's chamber
There I met an old man who wouldn't say his prayers,
I took him by the left leg and threw him down the stairs.

Obscure morality Nursery Rhyme
© www.famousquotes.me.uk


Kobayashi Issa 小林一茶

the rear goose--
well, well
a sore foot

ato no kari yare-yare ashi ga itamu yara

by Kobaylshi Issa, 1812

Shiniji Ogawa notes that ato in this haiku, though it is spelled with the kanji for "footprint," in fact means "rear": ato no kari = "rear goose."

kita kari ya kata ashi agete isshian

the newly arrived goose
lifts one leg...
deep meditation

Tr. David Lanoue

. Why Ducks Sleep Standing On One Leg .

nenbutsu ga urusai tote ya kari kaeru

even if their Amida prayer
is so noisy today -
geese departing

Tr. Gabi Greve

I feel the parting geese and their honking are the "urusai nenbutsu"
that Issa hears in the fields.
To him the honking before departure sounds like the noisy nembutsu Amida prayer done by the geese to pray for their safe return home

nenbutsu, nembutsu : 南無阿弥陀仏
. Namu Amida Butsu, the Amida Prayer .


yuuzuki ni shiri tsunmukete oda no kari

in a small paddy
wild geese point their tails
at the evening moon

Tr. Chris Drake

This hokku was written at the end of the 8th month (early October) in 1812.
Wild geese have flown south to Japan for the winter, and a group is now in a small dry rice paddy that's mostly empty following the recent rice harvest. As the geese bend over and forage in the grasses and stubble that remain, their tail feathers point up toward the moon. In Issa's time an evening moon (yuuzuki) was usually a waxing moon going down in the west late in the afternoon or in the twilight, so the tails of the geese are pointing upward and westward.
Perhaps Issa feels it's uncanny that the tails of the geese are pointing in the direction of the Pure Land even though they don't seem to be aware of it.

Chris Drake


deru tsuki ni kadota no kari no gyoogi kana

at moonrise geese
in the field by the gate
remember their manners

Tr. Chris Drake

This autumn hokku was written in the 7th month (August) in 1810, when Issa was traveling around in the area to the east of Edo. The gate does not belong to a typical farmhouse, and this is no ordinary rice paddy. Most paddies were located some distance from the farmer's house, but this paddy is located directly in front of the large front gate of a temple or shrine or the gate of a mansion owned by a rich landlord or samurai, and it is choice land, probably with high yields.

Wild geese usually return to the Edo-Tokyo area in October and stay until spring, but Issa is writing in August, so this seems to be a hokku based on a memory. In October the paddies have been drained and harvested, and the wild geese go through the now dry fields looking for straw and stray grains of rice. They have been enjoying themselves and making quite a racket in the dark, but when the moon rises they realize they can be seen, and they suddenly become more polite, presumably quieter and less conspicuous. Issa seems amused, and the geese apparently remind him of humans who suddenly become restrained and polite when they visit a temple or pass by the mansion of a powerful person.

Chris Drake


oriyo kari ichimokusan ni waga mae e

geese, hurry down
as fast as you can
right here to me

Tr. Chris Drake

This hokku was written in the 9th month (October) of 1819, the year Issa recorded in Year of My Life (Oraga haru).
Looking up, Issa sees another line of wild geese flying south for the winter. Since wild geese fly south to Japan in order to winter in warm places, they tend to fly right over Issa's hometown or stay there only for a short time, since it's on a high plateau that's very cold and snowy in the winter. To get their attention, Issa addresses them strongly. It's almost as if he's shouting up at the birds in the sky as they pass over him. Don't look anywhere else -- look straight ahead and land right here in front of me as quickly as you can. Do the birds feel the depth of his desire to meet them?

Chris Drake


yuku kari ya kinoo wa mienu oda no mizu

the geese go north --
today they see rice fields
full of water

Tr. Chris Drake

This spring hokku was written on 1/21 (March 2) of 1804, when Issa was living on the outskirts of the city of Edo. All winter wild geese from Siberia have been foraging the dry, stubble-filled rice paddies in this farm village near Edo. Even though the area gets a bit of snow in the winter, the geese find enough food to stay alive. However, the local farmers have today turned their rice fields into shallow ponds so they can begin to prepare them for rice planting in late May or early June, and suddenly the geese have lost their main places to forage and their favorite places for hanging out. They seem to get the message and set out the same day for their northern summer home.

Because there is a cutting word at the end of the first line, no viewers are explicitly connected to the verb in the second line. This is normal procedure in Japanese poetry, in which syllable space is limited and suggestion is a main means of reference. Usually this simply indicates that the author feels there are enough details in the waka or hokku to allow the reader to infer who is doing what. In Issa's hokku, "weren't visible" implies that yesterday neither humans nor birds could see any wet paddies in the area, but today they all can see them. Since the first line makes the returning geese the focus of the hokku, however, the most important eyes are those of the birds. It's the geese who are shocked to see their temporary winter foraging grounds now covered by water, and it's the same geese who leave (yuku) for the north the very same day. The two verbs are linked: it's what the geese see that makes them head back north. To the villagers and to Issa, the now wet fields are a normal change and not a special sight. Still, to Issa the sudden departure of the flock of geese is no doubt a moving experience, and in the previous hokku in his diary he wistfully says that it has at last become time for the wild geese to return north and leave the area outside his door.

Chris Drake


kaeru]kari ware o kainaki mono to yo wa

returning geese,
have you completely
given up on me?

Tr. Chris Drake

This hokku was written in the 2nd month (March) of 1810, when Issa was traveling around visiting students in the area east of the city of Edo. It seems to be a humorous hokku using personification and tinged with longing. The wild geese are all leaving Japan now and flying back to their summer homes in the north, and not one stops to say goodbye to Issa. Writing of the geese as if they were his friends, Issa asks them a question with an ending, ya wa, that is usually ironic, and refers to himself as useless, a failure, and a good-for-nothing even though he is able to at least survive by teaching haikai and has gained enough confidence in his own haikai to begin his Seventh Dairy at New Year's in 1810. It seems likely that Issa's strongest sense of failure at this time was his continuing inability to move into his half of his natal house in his hometown.

After negotiating hard, he finally signed an agreement with his half brother in 1808 to split half his father's property, but in reality his brother and stepmother continued to refuse him entrance to his half of his father's house. Yet Issa was trying to do something about it. About three months after this hokku was written, Issa made still another trip to his hometown, so he was probably planning the trip at the time the hokku was written. With irony Issa seems to playfully scold the returning geese for giving up on him too soon and leaving him behind, since he is planning to return to his hometown again and again until he, too, can truly call it home.

Chris Drake

. Kobayashi Issa 小林一茶 in Edo .


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ikkoo no gan ya hayama ni tsuki o in su
ikkou no kari ya hayama ni tsuki o in su
ichigyoo no kari ya hayama ni tsuki o in su
(The correct reading is ichigyoo for animals. ikkoo is for human beings.
The last line could also read tsuki o shirusu. )

Calligraphy of geese
against the sky --
the moon seals it.

Tr. Robert Hass

Into a line they wheel,
The wild geese; at the foothill
The moon is put for seal.

Tr. Harold G. Henderson

A line of wild geese;
Above the foothills,
The moon as seal.

- snip - Buson is likening a passing line of wild geese on a moonlit autumn night to a vertical scroll on which there is a line of black writing, and he is likening the bright autumn moon above the foothills to the reddish-orange round seal mark of the painter. He thus pulls the mind of the reader in two directions — one a real scene, the other the work of a calligrapher-painter. Hokku, in my view, should not do this. It leads, as I have said, not only to artificiality, but it also does not allow a thing to simply be what it is, to stand on its own merit and power.
source : David Coomler

. Yosa Buson 与謝蕪村 in Edo .


railroad tracks; a flight
of wild geese close above them
in the moonlit night

Masaoka Shiki
Tr. Harold G. Henderson


spring morning -
a goose feather floats
in the quiet room

Bruce Ross

Related words

***** fuyu kamome 冬鴎 winter sea gull, winter sea mew

mizu samuku ne-iri kanetaru kagome kana

a seagull
unable to sleep
in this cold water . . .

("I am like a sea gull on the river Sumidagawa, which can not sleep in the cold water. Thanks to your sake, I am now warm and can sleep well.")

Written for priest Genki 元起, who had given him some rice wine as a present.
Basho age 43. The cut marker KANA is at the end of line 3.
(For a more natural flow in English, I put the "kamome" in line 1.)

- - - - -

. anagachi ni u to seriawanu kamome kana .

. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .


***** Eagle(washi) Japan

..... including other birds of winter, fuyu no toriWater birds (mizudori 水鳥) ; Hawk (taka 鷹), Winter skylark (fuyu hibari 冬雲雀), Midwinter sparrow (kan suzume 寒雀) , Midwinter crow (kan garasu 寒烏)
Owl (fukuroo 梟) , Duck (kamo 鴨), Plover (Chidori 千鳥) , Hooded gull (miyakodori, yurikamome ユリカモメ), Wren (misosazai ミソサザイ),
Crane (tsuru 鶴)Swan (hakuchou 白鳥) ,
Grebe (Kaitsuburi カイツブリ)

***** Turkey 七面鳥 shichimenchoo
Meleagris gallopavo

Wakare - Parting with friends
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .



Anonymous said...

How do the geese know when to fly to the sun?
Who tells them the seasons?
How do we, humans, know when it is time to move on?

As with the migrant birds, so surely with us, there is a voice within, if only we would listen to it, that tells us so certainly when to go forth into the unknown.

Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross

Anonymous said...

goose, wild goose
when did your
journey begin?

kari yo kari ikutsu no toshi kara tabi o shita


by Issa, 1816

Tr. David Lanoue

Happy Haiku Forum said...

blowing snow
turkeys forage through
corn stubble

first day of spring

Gabi Greve - Issa said...

Two hokku by Koabayashi Issa
(Tr. Chris Drake)

noisy geese,
is the year really ending
where you are?

sawagu kari sokora mo toshi ga kururu kayo

noisy geese,
do years really end
where you are?

sawagu kari toshi wa soko kara kururu kayo

Read the comments by Chris!

Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

Matsuo Basho

kari kiki ni miyako no aki ni omomukan

to listen to the geese
in the autumn of the capital
I will set out

Written in autumn of 1690 元禄3年秋.
It is not clear weather this is a hokku by Basho himself.

In a letter to
. Takahashi Dosui 高橋怒誰 .
Basho and Kyoto

Gabi Greve said...

yawarakaku meguru ketsueki kari watashi

my blood
flows so gently -
geese crossing over

Oda Kaori 小田かをり

Blood Type Amulets

Gabi Greve - Issa said...

Kobayashi Issa

kari okiyo yuki ga tokeru zo tokeru zo yo

hey geese,
wake up! snow's melting,
it's melting!

This hokku is from the first month (February) of 1810, when Issa was living in and around the city of Edo, though he hoped to return to his hometown soon. In fact, in the fifth month of 1810 Issa went back to his hometown and tried to negotiate with his brother about their father's house, but his brother completely refused to discuss the issue, so when Issa wrote this hokku, he already must have been thinking about making the trip home. He seems to be very happy for the wild geese, almost to the point of envy, since they have their own home in the north to return to when spring comes. The geese faithfully return home year after year, but today Issa seems to have gotten up very early, while the geese are apparently still sleeping. Snowfall in the Edo/Tokyo area wasn't and isn't nearly as heavy as in Issa's hometown, and in February many of the plum trees in Edo must already have been blooming. Issa asks the geese to realize how lucky they are and urges them to make the best of the warm weather and fly home.

Chris Drake

Gabi Greve - Issa said...

Kobayashi Issa

kari no kubi nagaku shite miru toguchi kana

long neck extended
a wild goose looks at me
through the doorway

This hokku is from the ninth month (October) of 1811, when Issa was in Edo and the area just to the east of Edo. The goose has only recently flown south to Japan for the winter, so it's interesting to imagine what it might have seen with its wild Siberian eyes when it looked inside the house where Issa was staying. Presumably Issa's eyes and the goose's eyes meet, and perhaps for a moment the doorway is more than a utilitarian space.

At least one of the wild goose's motives seems clear. In the hokku following this one in Issa's diary, the goose and Issa find they have something in common:

wild goose at the door
honk all you want
but there's no rice here

kado no kari ikura naite mo kome wa naki

For the readings in the first hokku I follow Maruyama Kazuhiko, Issa's Seventh Diary 1.194.

Chris Drake

Gabi Greve - Issa said...

Kobayashi Issa

amatsu kari ore ga matsu ni wa orinu nari

celestial geese--
none of them come down
to my pine

Tr. David Lanoue

Gabi Greve - Issa said...

Kobayashi Issa

meoto kari hanashite yuku zo are yuku zo

Ms. and Mr. Goose
talking as they leave --
yes, they're actually leaving!

This hokku is from the second month (March) of 1816, when most of the wild geese that have wintered in Japan fly back north to Siberia. Issa's hometown was not located in a warm area where wild geese wintered when they came south to Japan in late fall, so this goose couple must have stopped briefly in the mountainous area near Issa's hometown on their way back north in spring. They seem to Issa to be having a very serious conjugal conversation as they prepare to leave, talking back and forth as if, perhaps, they were discussing the merits of staying longer versus continuing to fly north even while they are taking off. Finally, like any other married couple, they do manage to make up their minds, though they continue to cry loudly they disappear into the northern sky.

Issa uses an old Japanese word for a married couple that puts the wife (me) first and the husband (oto) second.
Later Japanese words for a married couple such as fuufu usually, in good Confucian fashion, put the husband first and wife second.

Chris Drake

Gabi Greve said...

Kodenmacho in Edo

Kodenmachoo biru zatsuzen to kari wataru

the buildings at Kodenmacho
in no particular order -
geese crossing over

轡田進 Kutsuwada Susumu