Basho's thoughts on...
• Introduction to this site
• The Human Story:
• Praise for Women
• Love and Sex in Basho
• Children and Teens
• Humanity and Friendship
• On Translating Basho
• Basho Himself
• Poetry and Music
• The Physical Body
• Food, Drink, and Fire
• Animals in Basho
• Space and Time
• Letters Year by Year
• Bilingual Basho 日本語も
• 芭蕉について日本語の論文
• Basho Renku, 芭蕉連句
• Women in Basho
• BAMHAY (Basho Amazes Me! How About You?)
• New Articles


Matsuo Basho 1644~1694

The only substantial
collection in English
of Basho's renku, tanka,
letters and spoken word
along with his haiku, travel
journals, and essays.

The only poet in old-time
literature who paid attention with praise
to ordinary women, children, and teenagers
in hundreds of poems

Hundreds upon hundreds of Basho works
(mostly renku)about women, children,
teenagers, friendship, compassion, love.

These are resources we can use to better
understand ourselves and humanity.

Interesting and heartfelt
(not scholarly and boring)
for anyone concerned with
humanity.


“An astonishing range of
social subject matter and
compassionate intuition”


"The primordial power
of the feminine emanating
from Basho's poetry"


Hopeful, life-affirming
messages from one of
the greatest minds ever.

Through his letters,
we travel through his mind
and discover Basho's
gentleness and humanity.

I plead for your help in
finding a person or group
to take over my 3000 pages of Basho material,
to edit and improve the material, to receive 100%
of royalties, to spread Basho’s wisdom worldwide
and preserve for future generations.

Quotations from Basho Prose


The days and months are
guests passing through eternity.
The years that go by
also are travelers.



The mountains in silence
nurture the spirit;
the water with movement
calms the emotions.


All the more joyful,
all the more caring


Seek not the traces
of the ancients;
seek rather the
places they sought.



Basho Spoken Word


Only this, apply your heart
to what children do


"The attachment to Oldness
is the very worst disease
a poet can have."


“The skillful have a disease;
let a three-foot child
get the poem"


"Be sick and tired
of yesterday’s self."


"This is the path of a fresh
lively taste with aliveness
in both heart and words."
.

"In poetry is a realm
which cannot be taught.
You must pass through it
yourself. Some poets have made
no effort to pass through, merely
counting things and trying
to remember them.
There was no passing
through the things."


"In verses of other poets,
there is too much making
and the heart’s
immediacy is lost.
What is made from
the heart is good;
the product of words
shall not be preferred."


"We can live without poetry,
yet without harmonizing
with the world’s feeling
and passing not through
human feeling, a person
cannot be fulfilled. Also,
without good friends,
this would be difficult."


"Poetry benefits
from the realization
of ordinary words."


"Many of my followers
write haiku equal to mine,
however in renku is the
bone marrow of this old man."


"Your following stanza
should suit the previous one as an expression
of the same heart's connection."


"Link verses the way
children play."


"Make renku
ride the Energy.
Get the timing wrong,
you ruin the rhythm."


"The physical form
first of all must be graceful
then a musical quality
makes a superior verse."

"As the years passed
by to half a century.
asleep I hovered
among morning clouds
and evening dusk,
awake I was astonished
at the voices of mountain
streams and wild birds."


“These flies sure enjoy
having an unexpected
sick person.”



Haiku of Humanity


Drunk on sake
woman wearing haori
puts in a sword


Night in spring
one hidden in mystery
temple corner


Wrapping rice cake
with one hands she tucks
hair behind ear


On Life's journey
plowing a small field
going and returning


Child of poverty
hulling rice, pauses to
look at the moon


Tone so clear
the Big Dipper resounds
her mallet


Huddling
under the futon, cold
horrible night


Jar cracks
with the ice at night
awakening



Basho Renku
Masterpieces

With her needle
in autumn she manages
to make ends meet
Daughter playing koto
reaches age seven


After the years
of grieving. . . finally
past eighteen
Day and night dreams of
Father in that battle


Now to this brothel
my body has been sold
Can I trust you
with a letter I wrote,
mirror polisher?


Only my face
by rice-seedling mud
is not soiled
Breastfeeding on my lap
what dreams do you see?



Single renku stanzas


Giving birth to
love in the world, she
adorns herself



Autumn wind
saying not a word
child in tears


Among women
one allowed to lead
them in chorus


Easing in
her slender forearm
for his pillow


Two death poems:


On a journey taken ill
dreams on withered fields
wander about

Clear cascade -
into the ripples fall
green pine needles




basho4humanity
@gmail.com




Plea for Affiliation

 

Plea For Affiliation

 

I pray for your help

in finding someone
individual, university,

or foundation - 
to take over my

3000 pages of material,   
to cooperate with me 

to edit the material,
to receive all royalties 

from sales, to spread

Basho’s wisdom worldwide,
and preserve for

future generations.


basho4humanity

@gmail.com

 



Home  >  Topics  >  Introduction to this site  >  A-04


Preface



Legend:
Words of Basho in bold
Words of other poets not bold

Here is information about Jeff Robbins, the translator and interpreter,  long-time research assistant Sakata Shoko, and the four volumes of the Basho4Humanity Quartet: 

 

Take Back the Sun: Basho Tells Herstory

 What Children Do: Basho Praises the Young

 Dear Uncle Basho: Poet of Humanity

 Letters from Basho: Journey through his mind

 

I am an American who has lived in Japan for three decades; the company I created, Asabo Workshop, designs, builds, and sells developmental play equipment for children. I have studied and translated Basho for more than thirty years as a hobby, without university affiliation.

 

I am amazed that Basho is the most famous of all Japanese poets, yet so, so much of his work is unknown both in Japan and the West. It appalls me that his magnificent observations of humanity are unknown to humanity, are not taught in schools, do not appear in books and journals, are not cited by historians, sociologists, anthropologists worldwide. In this world of so much negativity and sensationalism, we need Basho’s positive, life-affirming works to remind us of what Sam (Sean Astin) said in the Lord of the Rings:

 

There’s some good in the world and it’s worth fighting for.

 

There is much good in Basho and it’s worth fighting to overcome the judgments of Basho -- “literary”, “impersonal”, “old,” “lonely” -- by people who have no knowledge at all of his works on humanity. I hope you will communicate with me any ways you can help distribute the material in the 158 articles of Basho4Now.

                                          Jeff Robbins
                                  basho4humanity@gmail.com

 

Sakata Shoko is a certified Instructor in Japanese Language, and mother of two small daughters, She corrects my countless misunderstandings of her language, helps me recognize the meanings only a native Japanese can see, searches for information on the Japanese Internet and in her electronic encyclopedia, and in Professor Kon’s commentaries.

 

One day she said, “When I was in high school. I knew Basho was great, but I never thought his haiku had anything to do with my life.” So I asked her, after all her recent study and translating of Basho, what does she think now? Shoko replied:

 

“Students learn Basho and some other poets as part of History of Japanese Literature, then recite some of their famous verses for an exam. We have nothing more than this. We don’t appreciate it, don’t see where and how they lived. And haiku was just an art, not part of life.

 

Now I know some of his background and feel a sort of affinity. He was a human being like me, who lived with passion for literature. My image has changed from Haiku Saint Basho to dear Uncle Basho. I think this is important to appreciate the verses. Now I feel one verse is funny, the others are serious, and some are interesting. I can sympathize with his works. I say to high school teachers, should we understand the Haiku Saint’s humanity, not only for exams, but also for diffusing haiku towards younger people?

 

Now some flowers, trees, weather, foods, and people too, remind me of his connected haiku. Basho has become a familiar part of my life, which is just fun.”

 

The Basho4Humanity Quartet

Here are 1000 pages in four introductions and four collections,

Items by Basho number 635 (some appearing multiple times):

250 haiku 3 tanka poems

360 stanzas of Basho linked verse

passages of Basho prose, sections from his letters

45 passages of spoken word recorded by followers–

Of these 700 items, only about 300 -- just the haiku, many of the prose passages, a few bits of letters, a few stanzas of linked verse -- appear elsewhere in English.

 

The Yellow Volume offers 270 items about a woman or women, including three poems on breastfeeding,

15 pages of letters to women, and a 20-page chapter on brothel slavery.

 

The Green Volume: 210 items about children, teens, and caregivers, including many poems the smallest reader can learn to read from, Basho’s prose and poem of blessing to a newborn baby girl,and a dozen poems about the experience of teenagers.

 

The Red Volume contains a chapter of Basho’s comic parodies, followed by one with 35 verses about love and lust, then five chapters exploring men and masculinity, and many more about countless aspects of maleness as well as humanity in general. 

 

The Purple Volume contains 60 Basho letters -- some in full, some in sections -- selected to reveal Basho’s profound sense of humanity, compassion, and caring for others.  The letters, like the prose, are presented in poetic lines, and may be read as a form of poetry. 

 

 

Donation of Royalties

To die without dying out is to live long

                                                                                  Basho translating Lao Tzu

 

             When you can’t take it with you,
             all that really matters is what you leave behind

                                                                                        Howard Lyman

 

To ‘leave behind’ Basho, to bring these vital life-giving works to world consciousness, to pass this amazing legacy of deeply personal poetry about women onto future generations – this is my mission --but I believe that I can better spread consciousness of Basho’s works on women by linking them with the empowerment of women now.

 

The author hopes to transfer rights to the Basho4now trilogy to a person, organization, university, or foundation who will spread Basho’s life-giving and inspirational works to ALL of humanity while using part of the royalties to assist women and children in need.

 

The organization or person to which I give rights and royalties can set the price for future editions, find a different publisher, put its name on the cover, further edit the book, and add material about their work helping women to the next page: I pray that such a person or organization will come forth.

 

basho4humanity@gmail.com

 

 

…the astonishing range of social subject matter and compassionate intuition that Basho reveals in his links.

                                                           Michele Root-Bernstein Ph.D

                                                            Department of Theater

                                                            Michigan State University

 

The casual, often irreverent humor and utterly likeable voice of the narrative make it irresistible reading. It is easy to imagine intelligent readers of many ages and walks of life enjoying this loving meditation on Basho.

 

“ (this book) welcomes us into…a deeper understanding of this great poet’s humanity, and in particular, of his clear respect, affection, and even reverence, for women.”

 

Your fresh treatment of Basho’s poem, paired with the upstart voice that welcomes us to relax and enjoy their tenderness, should easily find audiences who appreciate your quirky,

stream-of-consciousness approach.

                Ceci Miller

                 Editorial Consultant

                  Seattle Wash.

 

I particularly enjoyed Jeff Robbins’ insightful new translations of some of Basho’s haiku. I have always felt haiku to be a uniquely Japanese form of expression which I have just not been able to understand. However through Robbins’ careful and beautifully thought-out translations and explanations, the art has suddenly become more animated, which was a surprising and unforeseen outcome when I first picked up the book.

 

                Harry Martin

                Japan Society of the UK

 

 

                                   Basho4humanity@gmail.com

 






<< Three Basho Quotations (A-03) (A-05) Take Back the Sun: Basho Tells Herstory >>


The Three Thirds of Basho

 

 

I plead for your help in finding a person or group to take over my 3000 pages of Basho material, to edit and improve the presentation, to receive all royalties from sales, to spread Basho’s wisdom worldwide and preserve for future generations.

 

basho4humanity@gmail.com
Basho's thoughts on...
• Introduction to this site
• The Human Story:
• Praise for Women
• Love and Sex in Basho
• Children and Teens
• Humanity and Friendship
• On Translating Basho
• Basho Himself
• Poetry and Music
• The Physical Body
• Food, Drink, and Fire
• Animals in Basho
• Space and Time
• Letters Year by Year
• Bilingual Basho 日本語も
• 芭蕉について日本語の論文
• Basho Renku, 芭蕉連句
• Women in Basho
• BAMHAY (Basho Amazes Me! How About You?)
• New Articles


Matsuo Basho 1644~1694

The only substantial
collection in English
of Basho's renku, tanka,
letters and spoken word
along with his haiku, travel
journals, and essays.

The only poet in old-time
literature who paid attention with praise
to ordinary women, children, and teenagers
in hundreds of poems

Hundreds upon hundreds of Basho works
(mostly renku)about women, children,
teenagers, friendship, compassion, love.

These are resources we can use to better
understand ourselves and humanity.

Interesting and heartfelt
(not scholarly and boring)
for anyone concerned with
humanity.


“An astonishing range of
social subject matter and
compassionate intuition”


"The primordial power
of the feminine emanating
from Basho's poetry"


Hopeful, life-affirming
messages from one of
the greatest minds ever.

Through his letters,
we travel through his mind
and discover Basho's
gentleness and humanity.

I plead for your help in
finding a person or group
to take over my 3000 pages of Basho material,
to edit and improve the material, to receive 100%
of royalties, to spread Basho’s wisdom worldwide
and preserve for future generations.

Quotations from Basho Prose


The days and months are
guests passing through eternity.
The years that go by
also are travelers.



The mountains in silence
nurture the spirit;
the water with movement
calms the emotions.


All the more joyful,
all the more caring


Seek not the traces
of the ancients;
seek rather the
places they sought.



Basho Spoken Word


Only this, apply your heart
to what children do


"The attachment to Oldness
is the very worst disease
a poet can have."


“The skillful have a disease;
let a three-foot child
get the poem"


"Be sick and tired
of yesterday’s self."


"This is the path of a fresh
lively taste with aliveness
in both heart and words."
.

"In poetry is a realm
which cannot be taught.
You must pass through it
yourself. Some poets have made
no effort to pass through, merely
counting things and trying
to remember them.
There was no passing
through the things."


"In verses of other poets,
there is too much making
and the heart’s
immediacy is lost.
What is made from
the heart is good;
the product of words
shall not be preferred."


"We can live without poetry,
yet without harmonizing
with the world’s feeling
and passing not through
human feeling, a person
cannot be fulfilled. Also,
without good friends,
this would be difficult."


"Poetry benefits
from the realization
of ordinary words."


"Many of my followers
write haiku equal to mine,
however in renku is the
bone marrow of this old man."


"Your following stanza
should suit the previous one as an expression
of the same heart's connection."


"Link verses the way
children play."


"Make renku
ride the Energy.
Get the timing wrong,
you ruin the rhythm."


"The physical form
first of all must be graceful
then a musical quality
makes a superior verse."

"As the years passed
by to half a century.
asleep I hovered
among morning clouds
and evening dusk,
awake I was astonished
at the voices of mountain
streams and wild birds."


“These flies sure enjoy
having an unexpected
sick person.”



Haiku of Humanity


Drunk on sake
woman wearing haori
puts in a sword


Night in spring
one hidden in mystery
temple corner


Wrapping rice cake
with one hands she tucks
hair behind ear


On Life's journey
plowing a small field
going and returning


Child of poverty
hulling rice, pauses to
look at the moon


Tone so clear
the Big Dipper resounds
her mallet


Huddling
under the futon, cold
horrible night


Jar cracks
with the ice at night
awakening



Basho Renku
Masterpieces

With her needle
in autumn she manages
to make ends meet
Daughter playing koto
reaches age seven


After the years
of grieving. . . finally
past eighteen
Day and night dreams of
Father in that battle


Now to this brothel
my body has been sold
Can I trust you
with a letter I wrote,
mirror polisher?


Only my face
by rice-seedling mud
is not soiled
Breastfeeding on my lap
what dreams do you see?



Single renku stanzas


Giving birth to
love in the world, she
adorns herself



Autumn wind
saying not a word
child in tears


Among women
one allowed to lead
them in chorus


Easing in
her slender forearm
for his pillow


Two death poems:


On a journey taken ill
dreams on withered fields
wander about

Clear cascade -
into the ripples fall
green pine needles




basho4humanity
@gmail.com




Plea for Affiliation

 

Plea For Affiliation

 

I pray for your help

in finding someone
individual, university,

or foundation - 
to take over my

3000 pages of material,   
to cooperate with me 

to edit the material,
to receive all royalties 

from sales, to spread

Basho’s wisdom worldwide,
and preserve for

future generations.


basho4humanity

@gmail.com