The world of dew is, yes

Kobayashi Issa

‘The world of dew is, yes’ by Kobayashi Issa should inspire readers to consider the meaning of life and the beauty of nature. 


Kobayashi Issa

Nationality: Japanese

Kobayashi Issa is considered a one of the best Haiku poets of his time, known for his unique and humorous Haiku writing style.

Unlike many other Haiku poets of his era, Issa employed the tools of satire and humor in his works as a way of connecting with the reader.

Key Poem Information

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Central Message: Life is filled with beauty

Themes: Death, Journey, Nature

Speaker: Likely the poet

Emotions Evoked: Contentment, Enjoyment, Gratitude

Poetic Form: Haiku

Time Period: 18th Century

This is a lesser-known Issa poem that is slightly more complex than other haiku by the poet. Despite this, it is still quite beautiful and inspires a great deal of contemplation.

This poem, sometimes known as ‘The world of dew,’ or ‘A world of dew,’ is a good example of the poet’s work but is also incredibly open-ended in a way that haiku usually aren’t. 

While most haiku leave some room for interpretation, it’s often far more clear (than it is in this poem) what exactly the poet is getting at. Readers are more than likely going to feel a little confused after reading the three lines of Issa’s poem. 

The world of dew is, yes
Kobayashi Issa

The world of dew is, yes,a world of dew,but even so


‘The world of dew is, yes’ by Kobayashi Issa is a reflective poem about nature and the beauty to be found within it. 

The poem discusses the world as “of dew.” This is likely alluding to its delicacy. The repetition of the phrase “a world of dew” highlights this fragility and reinforces the idea that life, like dew, is always changing. 

The poet also suggests that there is still significance and beauty to be found within this impermanence. 

Structure and Form 

‘The world of dew is, yes’ by Kobayashi Issa is a three-line traditional haiku that was originally written in Japanese. The poem uses short, powerfully written lines to speak about life and nature, something that’s very common in the haiku form

Literary Devices 

In this poem, the poet makes use of a few different literary devices. For example: 

  • Imagery: can be seen when the poet imbues their descriptions with sense-triggering images. For example, “The world of dew is, yes.” 
  • Allusion: the end of the poem alludes to something that is outside the poet’s grasp. It suggests that there is more to life besides it fleeting qualities. 
  • Repetition: can be seen when the poet repeats an element of their text. For example, “world of dew” is used twice, something that is incredibly significant in a haiku since this type of poem is so short. 

Detailed Analysis 

Line One 

The world of dew is, yes,

The first line of the poem is also commonly used as the title of the poem. The poet suggests in this line that the world, or perhaps the poet’s perception of the world, is characterized by the metaphor of dew. 

Dew is a natural phenomenon that appears briefly in the early morning, forming delicate droplets on surfaces before evaporating as the day progresses. This metaphor implies that life itself is ephemeral and fleeting, just like dew.

The inclusion of the word “yes” after the comma adds emphasis and affirmation. It can be interpreted as the poet acknowledging and confirming the ever-changing nature of the world. 

Line Two 

a world of dew,

The second line is quite short. It repeats the phrase “world of dew.” Therefore, reinforcing and expanding upon the metaphor introduced in the first line. It further emphasizes the notion that life is akin to dew, highlighting its temporary nature. 

The line implies that everything in the world, just like dew, is subject to impermanence and will eventually fade away.

Line Three 

but even so

The last line of the poem is somewhat confusing and leaves readers with an interesting final tone. The line indicates a shift in perspective or a counterpoint to the preceding statements. It suggests that despite acknowledging the delicate nature of the world and describing it as dew, there is something more to be said or considered.

This line can be interpreted as the poet acknowledging that life’s temporary nature does not negate its value or significance. It implies that even though everything is subject to change, there is still meaning and beauty to be found. The line may inspire readers to consider what else there is to be discovered in the world and how one might put that into words. 


What is the tone of ‘The world of dew is, yes?’

The tone of this poem is contemplative and reflective. It may inspire readers to consider the nature of life and the meaning of everyday natural occurrences. 

What is ‘The world of dew is, yes’ about? 

The poem is about the ephemeral and delicate nature of existence. It uses the metaphor of dew to convey the idea that life is fleeting.

What is the theme of ‘The world of dew is, yes?’

The main theme of the poem is that life is delicate, temporary, and incredibly beautiful. The poem explores the notion that despite the brevity and fragility of existence, there is still beauty, meaning, and worth to be found within the fleeting moments.

What can readers interpret about the ending of ‘The world of dew is, yes?’

The ending of the poem leaves room for interpretation. It can be seen as an open-ended conclusion that encourages readers to reflect on their own understanding of life and the significance they derive from it. The ending suggests that there is more to be contemplated beyond the surface-level understanding of life.

Similar Poetry 

Readers who enjoyed this poem should also consider reading some other Kobayashi Issa poems. For example: 

  • Everything I touch– this poem contends with the speaker’s inability to make connections. 
  • O snail’ – celebrates nature while also inspiring readers to take their time to overcome great obstacles. 

Poetry+ Review Corner

The world of dew is, yes

Enhance your understanding of the poem's key elements with our exclusive review and critical analysis. Join Poetry+ to unlock this valuable content.

Kobayashi Issa

This is a good, if somewhat confusing, example of Issa's poetry. His verse often evokes a sense of empathy and connection, showcasing his deep appreciation for the fleeting beauty found in the world. This is something that's seen, in an interesting way, within this poem.
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18th Century

Issa's poem is a good, if not well-known, example of 18th-century poetry. It also celebrates the beauty of nature, grappling with the complexities of existence. Poetry of this period exhibits a heightened awareness of individual experiences and sought to evoke emotional
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This poem is considered a well-regarded Japanese poem. It captures the essence of haiku with its concise structure, evocative language, and introspective tone. The poem invites contemplation and reflection, encapsulating the delicate and ephemeral aspects of existence. Its beauty lies in its ability to convey profound meaning through simplicity, resonating with readers on a deep level.
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Death, though not directly mentioned in the poem, lingers as an underlying theme. The nature of dew serves as a metaphor for the ephemeral quality of life, alluding to its ultimate end. The poem encourages contemplation of mortality and the brevity of human existence.
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The concept of a journey holds a significant place in this poem and Issa's poetry as a whole. It encompasses both physical and metaphorical journeys, symbolizing the progression and evolution of life. The poem hints at the passage of time and the transformative nature of experiences.
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Nature serves as a prominent theme in 'The world of dew is, yes' and many other poems by this poet. The poem symbolizes the cycle of life and the fragility of the natural world. Nature, in this poem, is a source of inspiration, solace, and reflection.
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Contentment arises as a possible response to the fragile nature of life explored in this poem. It suggests that finding peace and satisfaction within the impermanence of existence is attainable. It encourages an acceptance of life's inherent ephemerality.
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Enjoyment is an emotion that emerges from the poem's contemplation of life and nature. It suggests that despite the brevity of existence, there is still room for joy and appreciation. It reminds readers to seek and cherish moments of enjoyment amidst the ever-changing nature of life.
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Gratitude is an underlying sentiment that can be inferred from this poem. The poem encourages a sense of appreciation for the fleeting moments of beauty and meaning found within life's everyday moments, as well as its underlying elements.
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Change is an inherent aspect of life explored in 'The world of dew is, yes.' The metaphor of dew signifies the continual flux and transformation of existence. The poem suggests that in the face of change, one can learn to adapt, grow, and find beauty amid the ever-changing nature of life.
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The theme of the future can be inferred through the contemplation of life's future and eventual end. The poem reminds readers of the ever-changing nature of existence, suggesting that the future holds uncertainty.
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Humanity in this poem encompasses the universal experience of being human. The poem speaks to the shared vulnerability and delicate nature of human existence. It asks readers to use empathy and reflect on the human condition.
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Life is at the core of 'The world of dew is, yes' and pervades much of Issa's poetry. The poem prompts reflection on the delicate and transient nature of existence. It may inspire readers to contemplate the brevity of life.
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This is a haiku poem, adhering to the traditional structure and aesthetic principles of the form. Haiku is a concise, three-line Japanese poetry style that typically juxtaposes contrasting or complementary images drawn from nature. Issa's poem exemplifies the essence of the form if in a somewhat confusing way.
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Emma Baldwin Poetry Expert
Emma graduated from East Carolina University with a BA in English, minor in Creative Writing, BFA in Fine Art, and BA in Art Histories. Literature is one of her greatest passions which she pursues through analyzing poetry on Poem Analysis.

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