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Matsuo Bashō Poetry

Matsuo Bashō (松尾 芭蕉?, 1644–1694), born 松尾 金作, then Matsuo Chūemon Munefusa (松尾 忠右衛門 宗房?),[2][3] was the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan. During his lifetime, Bashō was recognized for his works in the collaborative haikai no renga form; today, after ce... Read More

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A field of cotton--
as if the moon
had flowered.


Translated by Robert Hass
Matsuo Basho

A cicada shell;
it sang itself
utterly away.


Translated by R.H. Blyth
Matsuo Basho

Following are several translations
of the 'Old Pond' poem, which may be
the most famous of all hai

A bee
staggers out
of the peony.


Translated by Robert Hass
Matsuo Basho

The petals tremble
on the yellow mountain rose –
roar of the rapids
Matsuo Basho

The shallows –
a crane’s thighs splashed
in cool waves
Matsuo Basho

A snowy morning--
by myself,
chewing on dried salmon.


Translated by Robert Hass
Matsuo Bash

a cuckoo cries
and through a thicket of bamboo
the late moon shines
Matsuo Basho

A caterpillar,
this deep in fall--
still not a butterfly.


Translated by Robert Hass
Matsuo

A cold rain starting
And no hat --
So?
Matsuo Basho

At a hermitage:

A cool fall night--
getting dinner, we peeled
eggplants, cucumbers.


Transl

The passing spring
Birds mourn,
Fishes weep
With tearful eyes.
Matsuo Basho

Don't imitate me;
it's as boring
as the two halves of a melon.


Translated by Robert Hass
Ma

A monk sips morning tea,
it's quiet,
the chrysanthemum's flowering.


Translated by Robert Hass

A man, infirm
With age, slowly sucks
A fish bone.
Matsuo Basho

Matsuo Bashō Poetry

Matsuo Bashō (松尾 芭蕉?, 1644–1694), born 松尾 金作, then Matsuo Chūemon Munefusa (松尾 忠右衛門 宗房?),[2][3] was the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan. During his lifetime, Bashō was recognized for his works in the collaborative haikai no renga form; today, after centuries of commentary, he is recognized as the greatest master of haiku (then called hokku). Matsuo Bashō's poetry is internationally renowned; and, in Japan, many of his poems are reproduced on monuments and traditional sites. Although Bashō is justifiably famous in the West for his hokku, he himself believed his best work lay in leading and participating in renku. He is quoted as saying, "Many of my followers can write hokku as well as I can. Where I show who I really am is in linking haikai verses."[4] Bashō was introduced to poetry at a young age, and after integrating himself into the intellectual scene of Edo (modern Tokyo) he quickly became well known throughout Japan. He made a living as a teacher; but then renounced the social, urban life of the literary circles and was inclined to wander throughout the country, heading west, east, and far into the northern wilderness to gain inspiration for his writing. His poems were influenced by his firsthand experience of the world around him, often encapsulating the feeling of a scene in a few simple elements.... Read More