Basho's thoughts on...
• What Children Do: Basho Honors the Young
• 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  >  Love and Sex in Basho  >  C-04


Men Like Sex

11 Basho renku and 2 prose passages on getting horny, then replete, then horny again.

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

The days pile up 

getting used to a woman 
who floats along 

The grass of love weakens 
his arm for archery.

 

This samurai neglects his responsibilities to be with a play-woman who “floats along” – doing no real work (according to men’s idea of work), just riding the waves of sexual desire and fulfillment. All his manhood poured into her has left him unable to shoot thousands of arrows in 24 hours in the archery competition at the Sanjusando in Kyoto.  He who discharges too many of one sort of arrow cannot shoot so many of the other sort.

 

Male puberty: the process of physical changes by which a boy's body matures into a man capable of sexual reproduction. In response to hormonal signals from the brain, the testes produce hormones that stimulate the growth, function, and transformation of the brain, bones, muscle, blood, skin, hair, and sexual organs, while also stimulating the libido. The major landmark of puberty for males is first ejaculation, which occurs on average at age 13.


Spring arrives late in
sacred Nachi Mountains,

New Year’s Arrow:
all the young sons try
to shoot the best

 

The Nachi mountains near Kumano in Wakayama-ken are famous for warrior disciplines such as archery in freezing cold weather. Archery competitions are a New Year’s ritual, and for boys coming of age, a manhood ritual. (Sort of like "who can pee the furthest?")  In the link between the stanzas, we may discover the nature of male puberty. Sexuality is conceived as a type of “heat.” Children, because they lack this “heat,” are winter. New Years (In February) is like puberty, when we start to feel that heat in some places, though other places are still cold and non-sexual. We look forward to Spring when that heat becomes pleasant, but beware of things getting too hot in summer.

 

Basho and Sora climb Mount Yudono to the famous shrine where the kamisama reside inside a large, reddish rock, shaped like a man’s testicles, with hot water gushing from the side. Pilgrims can climb the rock or enjoy walking barefooted through the hot stream flowing from the massive rock.

 

Restrictions set for pilgrims to Mount Bathhouse
forbid telling the details of one’s experience here,
so now my brush stops and I give no account.

 

On Mount Bathhouse
of which I may not speak
we wet our sleeves

 

We see why this shrine forbids telling one’s experience on themountain: the place is so charged with sexuality that it cannot be discussed in polite Japanese. Translators show no awareness of the eroticism; they say that you are not supposed to reveal your experience because the place is so "sacred" and "spiritual." Sato Hiroaki says this haiku expresses “gratitude for being able to be in such a spiritual place” and notes that some commentators consider the verse “to contrived and force to be good.” This, of course, is what someone would think without an awareness of the masculine sexuality of this shrine. If we open our minds to Basho making a risqué joke, imaging the testicle-shaped rock with water gushing out, the whole spiritual façade washes away. I’m not so sure what the joke means, but that just makes it funnier.

 

At the end of summer in 1693, overcome by the death of his nephew Toin and the especially hot and oppressive summer , Basho went into seclusion for a full month、refusing to go outside or allow visitors to see him, The story of Toin is so well hidden that we know almost nothing about him before he died at age 32. Because of the evidence in Letters 22 and 147 to Hanzaemon, I believe it possible that 15 year old Toin committed some “indiscretion” in Iga, maybe involving his emerging male sexuality, and had to hide out for the rest of his life in the vast  population of Edo where people could survive without the government knowing. Basho was not in complete seclusion; his 15 year old grandnephew Jirobei stayed with him part-time and did light cooking. With his father dead, and his hormones getting in on the act, Jirobei probably needed a break away from his dying mother and two younger sisters.

 

 The following essay, An Explanation for the  Gate Being Closed,  written during this period when Jirobei was nearby, may have been indented for Jirobei, to help him understand his parents' sins, so he will not reproduce them.

 

In the section below, Basho refers to the words of Confucius:

“When young, do not let your future be decided by hot blood.”

 

Sexual passion was despised by Confucius, 
and Buddha placed abstinence from sexual misconduct
as first among his Five Precepts,
however such feelings are difficult to discard
for they involve much emotion.
Beneath plum blossoms on the dark mountain
unknown to people, unexpectedly
we may be stained by the fragrance.
On a hill of deep longing,
with no one to guard the gate,
somehow indiscretions occur.
Many have wet their sleeves on a pillow of waves
with a mermaid, selling home and ruining life
however to torment the soul for rice or money
or for the aged self to crave the future
is to misjudge the pathos of existence,
a far greater sin, so let us forgive the sins of lovers.

 

Writing a letter
to his first beloved,

his hand falters

Accustomed to the world
the monk makes it risqué

To intimately
entrust paper lanterns
to a hot spring girl

 

Adolescent sexual urges have confused his motor coordination, so he cannot manage to write the elegant phrases and calligraphy that will impress her. Basho has a monk write the letter for the youth, but the monk, being experienced in these matters, writes in sexual allusions that the boy cannot understand -- though the girl might.


The next poet Kyoshi says, “Okay, Basho, if you are going to show us a monk with sex on the brain, I’ll really make it risqué.” The monk speaks to a hot spring girl who provides sex to guests at a resort. Paper lanterns are round, white, and have a light inside. Get the point? Intimately? Basho’s stanza is the bridge that connects the adolescent writing his first love letter to the “paper lanterns” and hot spring courtesan.

 

Along with his tears
hillbilly’s dumb poem –

He combs his hair
with bear grease, oh what
a horrible name!

 

This hick from the boonies tries to express the depth of his love in a poem to her, but he is no Shakespeare. Bear's grease was a popular treatment for men with hair loss from at least as early as 1653 until

about the First World War. The myth of its effectiveness is based on a belief that as bears are very hairy, their fat would assist hair growth in others. He wants more than just his hair to grow like a bear’s.


Young guys are drawn to
waves of doorway curtain

Bloated faces
drowned in the watery
pool of love

 

Doorway curtains are often seen in Japan today in the entrance to a shop or restaurant, where you walk through the vertical slit between two side flaps. Here the curtain is in the doorway to a brothel. Yes,

sex does lead men into some pretty miserable “pools.” We see their drowned, waterlogged faces through the flaps of doorway curtain (like the faces Frodo and Sam saw in the Dead Marshes).

 

One of Basho’s early renku links, in 1676, suggests considerable knowledge of male sexuality in this 32 year old man.


Like a navel cord
his visits to Yoshiwara
shall be cut off

He resents the thunder
of the midnight drum

 

Heso no o o / Yoshiwara ga yoi / kire hatete
Kaminari no taiko / urameshi no naka

 

Money is getting tight, so tonight is the last time he can afford to rent a woman in the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters; he has enjoyed her body and spirit for one evening but cannot stay the night. Parting from this woman who has allowed him inside her body, he feels like the navel cord connecting him to his mother’s inner organs is being cut. What other male poet would make such a comparison? What other man besides Basho would come out and say that entering a woman sexually is like returning to mother’s body?


A taiko, or great drum, sounds at midnight telling men they must leave. Being born, hearing for the first time sounds of the world unmuffled by the womb, must sound like thunder.

 

Watching by lantern
at entrance to town

Taking a wife
rice merchant pretends
to be young

 

The watchman holds up lantern to see clearly the faces of people entering the town. Here is a man getting married; he must have some years behind him, since he has attained the position of boss – and the watchmen can clearly see how fake his youthfulness is. In the context of Basho’s stanza, that phrase “at entrance” may take on a sexual meaning. If you like it that way, go for it.


From his seclusion
he comes to peak in on
his wife and kids

With one song in his ears
the pleasure-quarters linger

 

He abandoned his family long ago to join the fun and games in the pleasure-quarters; he no longer goes there, but has not returned to them. Instead he stays in seclusion, without responsibility for anyone but himself. Sometimes he peaks in on them and wonders what would of happened if… then he returns to his

seclusion. Sometimes in his auditory brain he recalls a particular merrymaking song along with memories of the place where he heard and sang it.

 

Going to see traces
of a house washed away

Dojo loach soup
makes him do it better
than young men

Drop in price of tea
to sell out the stock

 

When we see a place where a tidal wave or typhoon has washed away a house with all the possessions of a family, we exclaim, “how weak and vulnerable is man against the forces of nature!” Dojo loach are slender eel-like fish, bottom-feeding scavengers, with some unique strengths: they can stay alive in poor-quality

water, or cold water, or even periods of no water. Dojo loach are survivors, and soup made from then is considered an aphrodisiac. So old man, forget about that house washed away, have some dojo loach soup and be strong, strong in the loins, stronger than nature and time.


If we read the third stanza by itself, we would consider it merely in a business sense, opening shelf space by selling at a discount, however in the context of the second stanza, “drops” takes on a clear sexual and geriatric meaning. Let’s have fun with Basho.

 

Walking about
offering to do laundry,
her lowly work --
She resents the snarling
cries of cats fighting

High on top,
low on bottom: how
love is done

 

As she walks about the town announcing her services, she encounters male cats fighting for access to a female. She resents their snarling fury scratching and spitting at each other because it is so damn noisy,

but also because no males are fighting for access to her. No one wants a poor, old, unattractive launder woman. She observes that cats and humans do it the same way: males fighting to dominate a female. Not only in sex. 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.

 

 basho4humanity now@gmail.com

 






<< The Beast with Two Backs (C-03) (C-05) My Body has been Sold >>


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...
• What Children Do: Basho Honors the Young
• 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