Basho's thoughts on...
• Women in Basho
• 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
• 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  >  Humanity and Friendship  >  D-01


Hope Emerging

10 Basho renku, 5 haiku, 2 haibun, 1 tanka of Hope

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

Basho’s messages of Hope could inpsire millions of people worldwide, if only we could get rid of ideas that Basho was “impersonal, detached ... at times, cold-hearted, inhuman...to have spent much of his time in a state of perpetual despondency.”   To recognize these poems shining with Hope, as well as those of Joy and Fun (article D-2), and his hundreds of works about women and children, would render such judgements meaningless. We need to take Basho away from those who degrade his vision, to introduce him to ordinary folks searching for inspiration. So here are 18 gifts of Hope Basho left for us, in particular for women and children, though for three centuries the mail has not been delivered.

 

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow

                                                      Albert Einstein

 

We draw hope from nature's cycles -- here from plant growth:


Spring rain -
sprouted to two leaves
eggplant seed

 

 春雨や / 二葉に萌ゆる / 茄子種
Harusame ya / futaba ni moyuru / nasubi tane

 

Schools commonly provide an eggplant seed with a cupful of dirt for small children to observe the miracle of life. Why not also give the haiku SPRING RAIN? Can there be a more perfect way to teach first graders reading along with science, as well as instil Hope in tiny hearts?

 

Seeds start to sprout
for our treasured grass

Giving birth to
love in the world, she
adorns herself

 

早苗はじめて /得し寶草
世の愛を /産みけん人の /御粧


Sanae hajimete /eshi takara kusa
yo no ai o /umiken hito no /on-yosoi

 

A woman make herself beautiful before giving birth – as in this season Mother Earth puts on green make-up.  The lovely infant rice plants look like ordinary grass, showing no sign that four months later they will yield the staple food of Asia. We watch Basho’s mind go from rice sprouting to a woman giving birth to the child she loves, then return to Mother Earth giving birth to countless billions of plants. Both woman and Mother Earth adorn themselves  with Hope.

 

Basho’s most feminine vision of hope may be these two renku stanzas  he wrote in a single sequence in 1692  (#15 and #12); I have put them together to make a tanka

 

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

 

顔ばかり/早苗の泥に /よごされず
乳をのむ膝に / 何を夢みる

 

Kao bakari / sanae no doro ni /yogosarezu
chi o nomu hiza ni / nani o yume miru

 

This young peasant woman’s entire body is soiled and roughened by everyday exposure to dirt and mud, with only hard mineral-laden water for washing. Still, she tries to keep her face clean and pretty, for baby to behold. She emerges from fertile mud to nourish her child from her breasts. As the tiny mouth sucks her nipple, she gazes into the eyes and forehead, searching to see the dreams within.

 

Has any other male poet produced so exquisitely feminine a poem? Feminine in concern for facial beauty and cleanliness, the femininity of women at work, women with breasts, women nourishing life, and women’s hopes for children’s future, all wrapped up in five short lines.Basho gives hope to all the young girls in Asia who plant rice in the deep mud, hope that they too can someday realize their dreams, or at least the children they nurse will realize those dreams.

 

With her needle
in autumn she manages
to make ends meet

Daughter playing koto
reaches age seven

 

お針して /秋も命を/緒を繋ぎ
琴弾く娘 /八ッになりける

 

o-hari shite /aki mo inochi o/o o tsunagi
koto hiku musume / hachi ni narikeru

 

This woman has enough work sewing before winter comes. She may “make ends meet” in autumn, but has to survive the rest of the year. Into this poor struggling home, Basho introduces a daughter and a koto, or 13-string harp, an instrument of refinement played only by women. If the mother owns a koto, she must have been well-off in the past, but fallen on hard times. Notice the link between the form of needlework and the strings and frets on the harp. Both stanzas convey the diligence and constant effort of the female, the action of her hands producing order, rhythm, and beauty.

 

The daughter plays her mother’s koto here and now -- and also plays it through the months, years, decades of practice required to master the instrument. Basho praises the young girl in the early stages of her discipline. Cultures worldwide have found that age seven is the onset of wisdom and moral understanding. We imagine the pride the hard-working mother feels hearing her seven-year-old daughter produce such beauty. With utmost subtlety and grace, through the powerful effect music has on the brain, Basho portrays the bond between mother and daughter, the hope for a better future that the growing and learning girl evokes in her mother, hope rising on the lovely notes emerging from her seven-year-old fingers on the harp.

 

Rotsu begins and Basho follows:

 

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

 

Rotsu states reality: young village girls were sold to the brothel for a money loan –the system set up so she can never pay off the loan, and will remain in slavery till her death – which, with no defense against venereal diseases, might be soon. Basho gives her a message she wishes to send in a letter -- and renku scholar Miyawaki Masahiko notes that our appreciation for Basho’s stanza deepens if we imagine the letter is to her guy back in the village, the boy she knew since childhood and just began to love when she was taken away. She has no way to get her letter out without the brothel seeing it, so she asks the man who polishs her her mirror if he will post it outside (without telling his employer).

 

The mirror in Japan has been for a thousand years associated with the Sun Goddess Amaterasu. Being round and shiny, a mirror was considered a ‘child of the sun.’ When the Sun Goddess sent her grandson down to Earth, she gave him her Sacred Mirror, and told him that whenever he looked into it, he would see Amaterasu. That Sacred Mirror, kept in the innermost and holiest sanctum of the Ise Shrine, is the absolute center of Shinto worship. Shinto teaches that sin is not original or ingrained. We are clear inside, but accumulate sins like dust on a mirror. To restore the original purity, all we must do is wipe the dust from the mirror.

 

In Basho’s day, mirrors were bronze-plated with an amalgam of mercury (as in the dental fillings of my childhood). In time the plating got cloudy. Mirror polishers were craftsmen who grinded the surface on a whetstone, and polished with mildly acidic fruit juice, to restore the original clarity – so the mirror polisher becomes a servant of the Sun Goddess, one who  can be trusted with a woman’s private message. Every time she looks into the mirror he polished, to do her hair or make-up, she will see him, the carrier of her message; she will see her beloved reading the letter, and she will see the holy Sun shining with Hope. Here is Basho’s genius in all fullness, his deepest penetration into the female heart: “Can I trust you?” – the question women ask silently every day.

 

Alexander Pope said "Hope springs eternal in the human breast” and so we imagine Hope as water springing from Mother Earth

.

Sunshiny day
celestial maiden caresses
the rock spring

Chant of Lotus Sutra
at the window elegantly

 

はるる日は /石の井なでる/天おとめ
艶なる窓に /法華読む声

 

haruru hi wa / ishi no i naderu /ten otome
en naru mado ni / hokke yomu koe

 

In the Noh play The Feather Mantle a celestial maiden caresses the world as the splendour never ceases. Seifu recreates her caressing the rock spring that never ceases to flow. Basho responds with an elegant female voice chanting the Lotus Sutra which for many East Asians contains the ultimate and complete teachings of Buddha, declaring that women need not reincarnate as men to reach Nirvana; rather they can do so from their female life. In both stanzas, the material and spiritual blend through the female.


Buddhism usually emphasizes the negative; that all things and all people must die and fade away – but the woman in Basho’s stanza reinvents Buddhism as a feminine religion, a religion of Hope springing from the rocks. She meditates not inside a temple, or inside her mind, but rather beside the window watching the world in sunshine. She chants not in the masculine tones of priests, but rather elegantly, as a celestial maiden caresses a spring of clear water. Hope rises on her beautiful voice chanting divine words.

 

Hope emerging from the women in Basho - the woman breastfeeding, the daughter playing koto, the brothel slave lookking into her mirror, the woman singing the Lotus Sutra - brings to mind Pandora, the first woman in Greek mythology, whose name means“All Giving.”  In the oringinal myth, she had a jug, round and curvaceous like her, containing all things good, including Hope, which she gave to humanity.  Misogynists changed that to a "box" from which evil and sickness emerged, though they allowed Hope to finally come forth. 

 

We have seen Hope represented by plant growth, breast milk, music, a mirror, and water; for the next four pages, Hope rides on sunlight.

 

New Year's Day -
Sun on every field
is beloved

 

元日は /田毎の日こそ /こいしけれ
Ganshitsu wa /tagogto no hi koso / koishikere

 

At New Year’s rice fields are barren expanses of mud and frost with row after row of cut-off stubble; the Sun weak and cold yet shining with the promise of better things to come. She gives us Hope for warmth and growth to come, so we love Her.

 

In 1689 Basho and Sora visited the Toshogu Shrine in Nikko (“Sun-Light”) dedicated to Ieyasu as a manifestation of the Sun Goddess bringing Peace to Japan. Here Basho wrote this haibun:

 

His Honorable Light shines everywhere under Heaven,
benefits overflow to the Eight Corners of the Land,
so in the lives of the four classes of citizens
there is reassurance and calm.

 

The ‘light’ of Ieyasu now (in 1689) shines in the current Shogun Tsunayoshi, Ieyasu’s great-grandson, two years younger than Basho. The peace and social order established by Ieyasu has lasted for seven decades, so people feel hopeful that it will continue. Basho affirms his readers’ hopes for their personal, local, and national peace and prosperity.

 

How glorious
young leaves, green leaves,
light of the Sun

 

あらたふと /青葉若葉の /日の光
Aratau to /aoba wakaba no /hi no hikari

 

The glory of photosynthesis in countless leaves all over the Earth. Tsunayoshi told his grand councillor to govern as “the sun that sends its light to even the most wretched corner of the land.” He inherited that idea from his great-grandfather Ieyasu who brought Peace to the land and is enshrined in a place called “Sunlight.”

Today again

on the stone to worship
the rising Sun

 

今日も又 / 朝日を拝む/ 石の上

Kyou mo mata /asahi o ogamu /ishi no ue

 

Through Basho poetry, we take back the Sun (Goddess).  In 1653 George Fox, founder of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and a contemporary of Basho, wrote:

                 
The first step to Peace is to stand still in the Light

 

Basho was only nine years old when George Fox wrote this on the other side of the world, yet he too “stood still in the Light” to conceive his poetry. Fox meant the Inner Light in our hearts, whereas Basho worships the Rising Sun, yet both tell us to find in Light the Way to Peace.

 

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.
                                                                                             
                                                                                         Desmond Tutu

 

Plum blossom scent
Behold! the Sun rises
on mountain trail

 

梅が香に/ のっと日の出る /山路かな
Ume ga ka ni / notto hi no deru / yamaji kana

 

In the February cold and early morning cold of windy mountains, wild plum blossoms still smell sweet. A bit of red appears on the horizon, then gradually swells, as in a musical crescendo, to a blazing red orb.

 

Heat shimmers,
the Sun-Carpenter building
Lord’s mansion

Brides blossom within brides
a hundred years of grain

 

陽炎の  /   具 殿屋    作る /  日 の  大工

         /    百年    

Kagerou no / gu tonoya tsukuru / hi no daiku

Yome ni yome saku / hyakunen no zoku

 

The air "shimmers" as light is refracted through moisture evaporating from the earth warmed by the sunshine;  Basho sees these shimmers  as the "Sun-Carpenter" -  the Sun Goddess Amaterasu who builds many things, such as all plant life, with her light - building a mansion for the daimyo, a very important person who gets to live in such a magical house. The next poet makes her divine work even more splendid: brides creating life within themselves, The tiny eggs blossoming inside brides’ bellies are future brides who will carry life forward – the BRZ says “generation after generation, individual after individual, brides welcomed into households, descendants in prosperity” -- while Sun and Earth work together to produce edible grains, so in the storehouse we stockpile enough to feed all those children.

 

Tokoku, a wealthy rice dealer in Nagoya, got caught in some shady deal speculating on rice futures. His wealth was confiscated and he was sent into exile in a village at the end of a peninsula, a place so isolated only hawks come here. Basho and Etsujin went to visit him, and Basho wrote:

 

We visit Tokoku living in hardship at Cape Irago

where at times are heard the cries of hawks.

More than a dream
the reality of a hawk
we can rely on

 

夢よりも / 現の鷹ぞ / 頼もしき
Yume yori mo /utsutsu no taka zo / tanomoshiki

 

Hawks fly high up in the sky, with no flapping of wings, floating for hours on the updrafts. There is nothing to catch      up there. They are flying for the joy of it, and their flight brings us on the ground Hope. Basho gives Tokoku an image to focus on -- the soaring flight of hawks -- to inspire his friend. The verse had a clear distinct purpose – to reassure Tokoku, to give him hope and help him pull together his shattered life.

 

Japanese has words for “hope” – nozomi and kibou –however Hope does not “spring eternal” in the Japanese breast, and so the Governor of Tokyo, Koike Yuriko, said, “The thing which Japan lacks is Hope.” Japanese are more concerned with ephemerality, things passing away, how sad it is. Basho however is no ordinary Japanese – his genius transcends the negativity of his culture to discover something altogether new in Japanese literature: Lightness, an affirmation of ordinary Life going on and on for generations, another word for Hope. The next time you watch a hawk soar, you may recall this verse to lift your spirit – as I use it to lift mine.

 

Making love to young lord
clouds over hunting ground

Our first princess
in headman’s household
shall be nurtured

 

狩場の雲に/若殿を恋/
一の姫 /里の庄家に /養はれ

 

Kariba no kumo ni /waka dono o kou
ichi no hime sato no shouka ni / yashinaware


The image of a young lord of noble birth at the hunting grounds has a long romantic tradition which Kikaku suggests in his stanza; in this context, “clouds” suggest sex. Basho makes the “young lord” the oldest son of the village headman. Our oldest daughter, our “first princess,” is marrying, or dreaming of marrying, the future head of the most prosperous family in this village. The word “nurtured” is well-chosen to express Basho’s good wishes for her future in her new family, wishes that everyone in the household will support her in her roles as wife and mother. Basho gives Hope to the young female that everyone in the family she marries into will “nurture” her throughout the decades to come. Throughout the world, women will understand this hope.

 

Western books on Japan emphasize the mother-in-law’s cruel oppression of the yome who lived in misery until she could pass the misery onto a younger yome -- as if nowhere in Japan did in-laws get along with each other. People cannot be generalized in this way. In the film Ballad of Narayama directed by Shohei Imamura, the old woman having reached age 70 will follow village custom by going to the mountain to die in the snow. Her final act before her son carries her into mountains is to show her son’s new wife a special place in the stream near their house where fish like to rest, so anytime she reaches in, she will find one – thus insuring that her grandchildren will have something to eat during famine. The love between the two women standing in the rushing stream, the hope for the future shared by old and young, is palpable. Certainly in reality, some Japanese mother-in-laws of old welcomed the future into their household.


For a moment
bridge of clouds straddles
harvest moon

This year’s rice carried
on his back, he is happy

 

名月に /雲井の橋の /一またげ
 今年の米を /背負う嬉しき                                      
 
Meigetsu ni / kumoi no hashi no /ichi matage  
kotoshi no kome o / se-ou ureshiki

 

In the night sky clouds appear to form a bridge over the bright full moon. We can imagine our hopes carried by that bridge to reach fulfilment -- then suddenly the “bridge” is gone and we have nothing. From that transient glimmer of celestial inspiration, Basho returns to earth with solid, substantial hope; the weight of rice on shoulders through his body to his walking feet. Before rice is harvested, furious early autumn typhoons may destroy the crop in one night. Here is the satisfaction of a man with his harvest safe on his back, knowing he will have food this winter.

 

In spring of 1690, Basho was asked to name a newborn baby girl; he wrote this haibun and tanka to express his hopes for his god-daughter’s longevity and prosperity

 

During my pilgrimage to the Deep North,
in one of the villages there was a little girl
who looked no more than five years old.
She was so small and indescribably charming
that I asked her name and she said Kasane.

 

“Kasane,” not ordinarily a personal name, but rather a commonly used verb with one meaning in space, “to pile up in layers,” and one meaning in time “to occur again and again, in succession.”

 

What an interesting name!
In Kyoto rarely is it heard
so I wonder how has it passed down
and what is that “layers, again and again”?

 

The farmer and wife wanted a special name for their daughter, not just a name fashionable in the capital city. What were they thinking of when they linked her heritage and destiny to this lovely multi-faceted word?

 

“If I had a child this name she would receive”
I said in jest to my traveling companion
and now, unexpectedly, through an acquaintance
I have been called on to be Name-giving Parent.

 

我, 子あれば、此名をえさせんと、道づれなる
ひとにたはぶれ侍しを思ひいでゝ、此たび
思はざるえんにひかれて名付親となり。

 

Ware, ko areba, kono na o esesen to, michi-zure naru
hito ni tawabure haberishi o omoi-idete
kono tabi ni omowazaru en ni hikarete na-zuke oya to nari

 

Without being biological parent, Basho gets the magical opportunity to give life through a name, and through a poem. Basho named her Kasane and wrote this tanka (poem in 31 sounds) of Hope to his god-daughter:

             
Blessings unto Kasane:


Spring passes by
again and again in layers
of blossom kimono
may you see wrinkles
come with old age

 

行く春を/かさねがさねの /花ごろも
しわよるまでの /老もみるべく

Iku haru o /kasane gasane no / hana goromo
 shiwa yoru made no / oi mo mirubeku

 

 The repetition of  "kasane" (kasane-gasane) emphasizes that double meaning – so as you read the verse, think back and forth between space and time: from the two layers of kimono fabric over an under robe to the succession of generations, and the passing of the kimono on the next generations; from the wrinkles in the fabric to wrinkles in her face -- alll overlapping to form a web of blessing and Hope for Kasane and all female children.

 

Kasane, now your time begins, stretching to infinity before unfocused eyes. Soon you’ll be laughing and playing in the sunshine – that is, if no wars come and natural disasters, fatal illness, and financial ruin stay away too. One spring in youth, you shall be given your first blossom-kimono. A formal kimono is a two layer silk robe meticulously folded and tucked around the body in flat, even layers. The colors and pattern are chosen in harmony with the woman’s age. A blossom-kimono for a girl entering womanhood might be a soft pink with bold cherry blossom design on the lower portion. A thick brocade sash of a darker contrasting color encircles her waist. The red inner robe, suitable for a party, shows at the neckline, and where the left side of the skirt covers the right, margins of the kimono lining appear and disappear as she walks.

 

Basho has given newborn Kasane the Hope that someday she will wow everyone in her gorgeous kimono. (Remember, guys, this is a poem of Hope to a little girl – so while it may not register as Hope to you, it does to her.) The springs shall come and go with clouds of pink blossoms filling the treetops to fall in a shower of petals as you blossom into a young lady. Each year as you sit with legs folded under you on the straw mat under the trees, creases shall form in the fabric. Carefully, as your mother shows you restore its silky smoothness for another year. – again hoping that there is no war, famine, fires, or death -- I pray the day comes for you to pass this youthful kimono onto your daughter, the next “layer” of yourself, while you wear one more moderate in color and pattern – and this too passes onto her, and you to the dark sedate kimono of an older woman.

 

So Kasane, may our nation remain at Peace and the happiness in your family pile up layer upon layer until wrinkles in the fabric no longer smooth out and you see wrinkles of old age cross your face. Do not despair, my child, for you live again as spring passes by and your granddaughters laugh and chatter in their blossom kimono.

 

The verse offers Hope to the smallest females—Hope for a childhood without misfortune, hope that she will grow into womanhood and see grandchildren. In his few simple words Basho speaks of what concerns women: the succession of life, the happiness of children—the conditions of Peace, both social and family, in which little girls can dress up and party with relatives and friends, and life goes on generation after generation. The poem in five short lines encapsulates the existence of one woman from newborn to old age. It transcends the boundaries of literature to become something greater, an ode to Life.

 

I know of one poem that compares to Basho’s verse in utter simplicity with profound expression of hope: it was written by a four-year-old Russian boy in 1928. In the 1960s when nuclear war between America and Russia seemed imminent, the little boy’s poem was set to music and became the refrain to a song. The lyrics never caught on in translation, but the refrain became an internationally known prayer for Peace:

 

May there always be sunshine
May there always be blue sky
May there always be mama
May there always be me

                                                                    Kostya Barannikov

 

Both the poems of 46-year-old Basho and 4-year-old Russian boy make a wish from destiny – not the wish for a million dollars or a movie star lover—but rather the wish for something infinitely more precious: that our current Peace will continue. The boy speaks only of hopes for the environment, mama, and himself, while Basho looks ahead to future layers of hope.

                                       

           basho4humanity@gmail.com

 






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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...
• Women in Basho
• 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
• 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