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  >  Praise for Women  >  B-12


Oppression of Women

How women suffer in Basho's vision

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

Basho's renku, or  linked verses, about the oppression of women in this article, as well as those empowering women in article B-13, reveal a feminism in Basho within his misogynistic society.


“Criticism of women’s intelligence, autonomy, and moral worthwas essential to the total subordination of women that society demanded” says feminist historian Tokuza Akiko about Basho’s era. A pretty grim prognosis, however Basho was an exception. In his linked verse he either praises the woman, or observes her without judgment – and in some verses he portrayed the oppressive conditions which stifled women in his time. 


We begin with Basho linked verse about one of the worst forms of oppression, sexual trafficking, which in Japan was indenture of a daughter in exchange for a money loan to the father. Girls before puberty were sent to the brothel, told they were to be maids or waitresses - but when their first period came, they were forced to have sex with a customer ever night. Receiving some of the money paid by the customer, they were told that they could save that money and eventually purchase their contract and go free – but in reality the system was rigged against them so few girls ever did leave the brothel. Most died, usually of syphilis by age 22.  

Now to this brothel

my body has been sold --

Can I trust you
with a letter I wrote?
mirror polisher

 

此 ごろ 室に / 身を売られたる
文書いて / たのむ 便よりの / 鏡 とぎ

 

Kono goro muro ni /mi o uraretaru
Bun kakite / tanomu tayori no / kagami toki

 

She has thoughts she wishes to send in a letter, but no way to get her letter out without the brothel intercepting it, so she asks the man polishing her mirror if he will post it outside (without telling his

employer). The mirror in Japan has for a thousand years been associated with the Sun Goddess Amaterasu. Being round and shiny, a mirror was considered a ‘child of the sun.’ A mirror polisher was a craftsman who ground the surface on a whetstone, and polished with mildly acidic fruit juice. By restoring the original clarity of a mirror, he joins the myth to become a servant of the Sun Goddess, one who can be trusted with a young woman’s private message.


Here is Basho’s genius in all fullness, his deepest penetration into the vulnerable heart: “Can I trust you?”

 

Mountains are burned
grass painted with blood

Only a few years
in this world, betrayed
by a stepmother
Grief on a pillow of waves
in northern harbor town

 

山 はこがれて / 草 に 血を ぬる
わずかなる / 世をや継母も/ 偽られ
秋田 酒田 の / 浪ま くらうき

Yama wa kogarete / kusa ni chi o nuru
Wazuka naru /yo o ya keibo mo /itsuwarare
Akita sakata no / nami makura uki

 

The third stanza, portrays the misery of a young girl from a backward village in the Deep North sold to a brothel in a harbor where she is forced to have sex “on a pillow of waves” with especially rough and dirty men. The second stanza tells us how she got there: her stepmother, while father was away, sold her, an innocent child, to a brothel – although at first only to be a waitress or maid. In the context of the stanzas that followed, Basho’s ”mountains are burned / grass painted with blood” depicts the aftermath of the violent rape of an innocent virgin who now realizes that such loveless sexual encounters will be her grief every night for the rest of her life.

 

Oh my dear! Remember
my name as a baby?

Your flower face
in brothel by the bay
is made to cry

 

我が おさな名を / 君 は しらず や
花 の 顔 / 室 の 湊 に / 泣かせけり

 

Waga osana na o / kimi wa shirazu ya
Hana no kao / muro no minato ni / nakase keri

 

Basho begins in the first person, a young woman surprised to meet another young woman on the street,  one who grew up together with her in their hometown, after so many years have passed. My dear, one so close to me that you know the affectionate name my mother or nurse gave me while I suckled and later called me as a child, together we go back to that paradise of innocence in our shared childhood. Rotsu jumps ahead fifteen or twenty years to reveal where those years have brought “your flower face” ‐ to the misery of slavery in a brothel near a harbor where you have to deal with the filth that comes off boats. You, the sweet little girl I knew as a baby, now as I look into your face, still lovely but fading, I see how often and much you cry.


Unseen by all
now and then I cry
thinking of love

Tonight too boat rocking
shakes me from a dream

 

人の見ぬ / 時 々 は 泣き /もの思い
こよい も ふね に / ゆり おこす

 

Hito no minu / toki-doki wa naki / mono omoi
Koyoi mo fune ni / yuri okosu yume

 

Ordinarily a woman, unless she works on a boat, would not ride on one – so we get that this woman is indentured to a tour boat. Every night she has sex with different men, while only in sleep can she

dream of true love – but the rocking of the boat wakes her to reality, her life as a sex slave on this floating brothel where she will die “thinking of love” but never experience it.


From late night
pillow talk, I realize
he is my cousin –

Our marriage cut off
my grief remaining

 

床ふけて / 語ればいとこ / なる男
縁さま だけ の / 恨み のこりし

 

Toko fukete / katareba itoko / naru otoko
en sama dake no / urami nokorishi

 

Talking with the brothel’s customer in bed, I realize that this man is my cousin; we probably have never met, but he spoke of a relative who is my relative. Basho then takes an amazing leap into improbable coincidence, al la Dickens: this cousin also was the one arranged to marry me, but something happened and my family needed money, so they sold me to a brothel. And now here he is, in bed with me, only for one night.

 

Among pines a low door
closed in by thorns –

His play-woman
hidden seven miles
from the Capital

 

荊 に 閉じる / 松 の 潜りり戸
都 より / 三里 遊女を / しのばせて

 

Ibara ni tojiru / matsu no kuguri do
Miyako yori / sanri yuujo o / shinobasete

 

A rich and powerful man in the Capital has paid off a play-woman’s loan, so now owns her. He keeps her in a shack with a low door that can hardly open because of all the thorns. (Even if she did escape, where could she go? Here she has shelter and food.) “Seven miles from the Capital” is close enough so he can visit her without too much trouble, but far enough – in the 17th century -- that no rumor of her will reach his wife and colleagues.


The traveler’s
greasy smell on the pillow
how disgusting!

Sardines are roasted by
inconstancy of their vows

 

旅 枕 油 くさきや / 嫌うらん
鰯 で かりの / 契り やかるる

 

Tabi makura / abura kusasa ya / kirauran
washi de kari no / chigiri yakaruru

 

Both men and women of the upper classes treated their hair with camellia oil so it would hold the customary styles: This woman at a roadside inn cooks for travelers and also provides sex. She hates the greasy smell customers leave on her pillow. She also hates the degrading pretence of false vows made to satisfy him with no possibility of becoming true love, since she is indentured and can never leave, and this hatred burns hot enough to roast the sardines she prepares for him.

 

 

Startled by clappers
a window in the thicket

Sister cries
for her life married
to a thief

 

鳴子 おどろく/ 方 藪 の 窓
盗 人 に /連れ添う妹が / 身をなきて

 

Naruko odoroku / kata yabu no mado
Nusubito ni / tsuresou imo ga / mi o nakite

 

In this house (or shack) they startle at ordinary autumn sounds in a rice-growing village: the clatter of noisemakers hung over fields of ripening grain to scare away hungry birds. The trees and shrubs around the house grow wild, so from the road only one window can be seen. Is that window an eye watching the road, armed and ready, to defend his freedom? Basho clarifes that the householder is a thief, yet focues on the woman married -- probably without license --- to this creep. Chosetsu’s stanza is profound social realism, but a masculine, anti-social reality. Basho looks rather at the female side of the gender coin. We imagine his lack of concern for how she feels, along with her constant anxiety over her husband’s occupation. When the clapperssound, she startles, wondering what will happen to her when ‘they’ come to take him.

 

My thoughts go to Nancy in Oliver Twist, also married to a thief, the despicable Bill Sikes. Nancy participated in the evil of Fagin’s gang, yet when the time came, she fought courageously for life and decency. Hear her hysterical screaming at Fagin:

 

It is my living; and the cold, wet, dirty streets are my home;
and you're the wretch that drove me to them so long ago,
and that'll keep me there, day and night, day and night, till I die!"

 

Chosetsu’s stanza leads me to the warped humanity of Fagin and Sikes as the police and mob closed in on them, while Basho’s stanza reveals the tragedy of Nancy, but also her liveliness and integrity.

 

Until her hair grows back
she must hide her self

In the bitterness
of betrayal, squeezing out
milk to throw away

 

Kami hayasu ma o / shinobu mi no hodo
偽りの / つらしと 乳を /しぼりすて

 

髪 はやす ま を /しのぶ 身 の ほど
Itsuwari no / tsurashi chi o / shibori-sute

 

He seduced her with promises of love and devotion, but when she gave birth to a son, he took the boy to   be his heir and abandoned her. With no place else to go, she entered a temple which takes in such women. She had to cut her hair and stay in a cell. Only when her hair grows back can she can re-enter society. Her breasts still produce milk which she has to squeeze out and throw away – while she recalls the baby that milk is produced for – such is the bitterness which fills her heart.

 

From emaciated breasts
squeezing tears of dew

In his absence
meal tray placed inside
mosquito net

 

痩せたる 乳 を /しぼる 露けさ
とわぬ夜に / 膳さしいるる / 蚊やの内

 

Yasetaru chichi o /shiboru tsuyu kesa
Towanu yo ni /zen sashi iru /kaya no uchi

 

Still sick and weak from a difficult delivery, she provides sustenance for a new life. As she sits nursing the baby in her arms, “tears of dew” are her tears falling on the baby, the thin watery fluid coming from her malnourished breasts, the summer sweat between two feverish bodies, the utter misery of their existence –

while the father is… She and baby sleep inside the net to keep away bugs; here she sits inside to eat and nurse the baby, her world reduced to the smallest dimensions, as small as her hopes for herself and her baby, as miniscule as his concern for their welfare.


With no power
in her skinny arms
she worries 

No reason to mend
his cotton garments

 

力なく / 腕 ほそりし / うき おもひ
つくろふかひも / なき 木綿 もの

 

Chikara naku / kaina hosorishi / uki omoi
Tsukurou kai mo /naki momen mono

 

Impoverished peasants (i.e. women) make their family’s clothes from fibers in stalks, vines, or under bark. This family is not quite so poor; he at least has cotton clothes – and when he gets home from wherever he went, he expects them to be mended. She worries the eternal worry of wives everywhere: will he return? Here is the reality of male-female relationships in patriarchal society. We may recall Linda Loman, the wife in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesmandarning her stockings while her husband bought new ones for his

mistress.

 

“Weak as green willow”
the wife is despised --

‘Path of blood’
her day-by-day misery
in the spring rain

 

青 柳 よわき / 女房 あなづる
血の道 気 / うらみ 幾日の / 春 の 雨

 

Aoyagi yowaki / nyōbo anazuru
Chi no michi ki /urami ikka no /haru no ame

 

Willow branches are pliant and flexible, submissive to every breeze,so we may think them weak. Women too are flexible, and in a patriarchal society expected to submit to every male desire. Men admire strength and rigidity, despising the flexibility of willows or women, as they despise the ‘path of blood’ from women’s

reproductive organs, and also the sickness that comes with bleeding. During her period the continuous spring rains make this woman feel weaker and more shameful.


Wretched in
distress, wife gazes at
the evening sky

In those clouds, whose
tears are contained?

 

あやにくに / わずらう妹が / ゆうながあめ
あの雲 はたが / 泪 つつむ ぞ

 

Ayaniku ni / wazurau imo ga / yuu nagame
Ano kumo wa taga / namida tsutsumu zo

 

Basho’s question really has no meaning, but may somehow console the heart of the lonely, unfulfilled wife left in her home while her husband goes where husbands go, and does what husbands do when they are away from their wives. . .


Still standing
he leaves his letter
near the door

Coins held in her hand
the grandmother cries

 

立 ながら / 文 書て置く/ 見せの 端
銭 持 手 にて / 祖母 の 泣かるる

Tachinagara /bun kaite oku / mise no hashi
Zeni motsu te nite / baba no nakaruru

 

Ensui gives us very little to work with, and Basho only a bit more, so we must supply details from our knowledge of living arrangements in a patrilocal society. Apparently the husband is deserting his family.    He does not sit down with them to explain or say good-bye, he does not even come into the main part of the shop. He just leaves a letter of exclamation and a few coins inside near the door. We feel his shame and his weakness, there in Ensui’s words. His mother holds the coins in her hand, and cries for her son who is

abandoning his responsibility, for her daughter-in-law and grandchildren who now have no one to support them. So smoothly the mind moves from Ensui’s stanza into Basho’s.

 

To do laundry,
she walks about town:
her lowly work -
She resents the snarling
cries of cats fighting

High on top,
low on bottom, so
love is done

 

洗濯 に / やとはれ ありく / 賤が業
猫 の いがみの / 声 も うらめし
上 は かみ / 下 は しも とて / 物 おもい

 

Sentaku ni / yatoware ariku/ shizu no waza
Neko no igami no / koe mo urameshi
Ue wa kami / shimo wa shimo tote / mono omoi

 

With no position in society, no family ties, no education, no beauty or sex appeal, nothing to offer but hard work in cold water, she walks to the houses where she washes clothes, and encounters male

cats fighting for access to a female. Cats and humans do it the same way: males fighting to dominate a female. Not only in sex, but in every aspect of life, those on top stay on top – having fun and sex

and leisure -- while those on bottom remain there for life – so impoverished old women do laundry for low pay.


Vulgar words to insult
the wife and daughter

All the guests
sit there cold, frozen
at the kotatsu

 

嫁 と むすめ に / わる 口 を こく
客 は 皆 / さむくて こおる / 火燵 の 間

 

Yome to musume ni / waruguchi o koku
Kyaku wa mina / samukute kōru / kotatsu no ma

 

Father (who may be drunk) insults his wife and daughter (or an old woman harasses her daughter-in-law and granddaughter), saying the most horrible, vulgar things. We recall Tokuza’s statement that

“criticism of women’s intelligence, autonomy, and moral worth wasessential to the total subordination of women that society demanded.” In a misogynistic society, abuse of women is so commonplace no

one pays attention to it.

 

Shiko, though he is a Japanese man, does pay attention, however his portrait of oppression has no context, no situation in which the oppression occurs and that can help explain it. Basho could have followed with more about the father, the wife, or daughter, but this is NOT what he does; instead he creates an environment and other people around that oppression.


A kotatsu -- a heater (charcoal in Basho’s time, electric in ours) with a table on top and blanket to hold the warmth around the lower body -- is square and provides seating for four people, so we imagine the father sitting with three guests. The mother and daughter – in this society – would not be at the kotatsu, but rather prepare or serve food and drink to father and his guests. Father (or grandmother) insults the females even when visitors are over, while the guests sit there shocked by what they are hearing; frozen in

place, even at a warm kotatsu: their silent disapproval of father’s behavior is suggested. They and we imagine how abusive he becomes when no one outside the family is watching. Basho thus completes and fulfills Shiko’s feminist vision, yet leaves us room to imagine more of this family.

 

To join with a widow,
he pounds cloth of love

Man who left
cared only for money,
autumn passes

 

後家を相手に / 恋衣うつ
去男 /かねにほれたる / 秋更て

 

Goke o aite ni / koromo utsu
Saru otoko /kane ni horetaru / aki fukete

 

Pounding cloth with a mallet is woman’s work – so here means the man’s constant repetitive effort to gain her trust and access to the wealth she inherited from her husband. He seems to have enjoyed summer and autumn with her, but has other plans for winter.


Company boss
got our chrysanthemums,
what a pain!!

Strict not to let his

daughter meet people

 

御 頭 へ / 菊 もらはるる / めいわくさ
娘 を 型う / 人 に あわせぬ

 

O-kashira e / kiku morawaruru / meiwakusa
musume o katau / hito ni awasenu

 

A teenage girl speaks: “We carefully cultivated those chrysanthemums in a vase, but the boss come to visit and made such a fuss about how beautiful the flowers were, that father had no choice but to give them to the jerk! Losing the flowers is not a big deal, but I hate the way he lorded over papa. Just because he’s the

boss, he thinks everything belongs to him!!” -- the pushy behavior of a man used to getting his own way.

Basho continues the theme of patriarch versus teenage girl: “and look how he treats his own daughter, keeping her inside, not letting her go out and be with people. He tries to cultivate her the way we

did those chrysanthemums, giving her everything she wants but making her grow in a single place where no problems can occur.” The Japanese call this hako iri musume, “daughter in a box.”

 

Akiko Tokuza says: “Parents protected their daughters’ chastity and morality by isolating them both from men and from rational and critical thought…” Japan at this time was ruled by a government which forbid anyone from leaving the country and anyone or anything foreign from entering; this father is doing the same to his daughter. He cannot be king over his nation, or his city, or his neighborhood, and even his

son rebels, but father expects his daughter to be weak and allow him to can rule over her. His treatment may not include abuse or deprivation or hard work, but is still oppression. Without the same

freedoms and opportunities boys receive, she cannot develop her mind. She is just a pretty flower in poppa’s house.

 

basho4humanity@gmail.com

 






<< She Walks in Beauty (B-11) (B-13) Empowering Women >>


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