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-16


Hospitality

One Basho haiku, 3 renku, 1 haibun, 1 tanka

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

Here are Basho's poems about hospitality in Japanese women: the act, practice, or quality of being hospitable: entertaining guests in a friendly, generous manner.  

 

We begin with Sora's image of village men working together without charge to repair the thatch on each village roof before snow comes; they compete with each other to show how hard they can work, yet all for the common good.

 

Collective roof thatching
autumn in the village

Lowly women
serve nembutsu dancers
cups of tea

 

 From Sora's image of male altruism, Basho praises women for their hospitality which is a form of altruism. 

A troupe of missionaries chanting the nembutsu prayer for salvation, accompanied by drums and gongs, dances along the street in front of the house whose roof is being thatched. Women from the house come out to the road to give the dancers cups of tea.  Basho's patriarchal society considers them “lowly women,” but their hospitality places them higher in Basho’s esteem.

From the vast
turbulence of winter sky
comes the north wind

Convenience on a journey
daybreak lantern is placed

How depressing:
the wisdom of women
is so fleeting

 

Basho takes the traveler from the miserable cold of outdoors into a Japanese inn. (Note that inner rooms at an inn have no windows, so without a lantern are completely dark at night.) The innkeeper’s wife, while Basho was asleep, entered his room and placed a lit lantern by his futon so he could wake up to light.  Basho recognizes and praises the quality of hospitality in women. Kyorai finds it depressing that the wisdom of women, their hospitality, is ephemeral: nobody notices, and everybody forgets, all that women do to make life “convenient” for men and children.

 

“In from the snow
so fire will warm you,
I remove iron pot.”

Still in her nightgown
yet make-up beautiful

 

We are at a home which serves as roadside rest area and teahouse. The kamado, or cookstove, has an iron pot fitting into a hole on top. Sora expresses the consideration of the hostess removing the pot so more heat goes to the guest. Basho shows us her early-morning priorities – and as Dorothy Britton says, he “betrays an intimate knowledge of how women make themselves beautiful" - and they do this whill providing hospitality.

 

Iugen in 1689 was an 18-year-old Basho follower struggling to survive as one of many priests at the Ise Shrine. He and his even younger wife were in financial straits when Basho visited them, though they have inherited a fine house built by the shrine.

 

In the realm of Ise
I am able to stay at Iugen’s house.
His wife, her heart one with his,
sees to everything faithfully,
soothing my heart after my long journey.

 

The teenage wife, as would any Japanese woman, wanted everything to be absolutely perfect for her husband’s Poetry Master, so she used all her teenage skill and care to arrange the flowers in the alcove just right, cook a traditional Japanese meal for Basho, arrange the bathing room so it would be easy for his old tired body to get a relaxing hot soak, and set the futon room for his convenience and restful sleep. He notices her efforts and consideration for his needs, and sees in them her commitment to her husband and the household she has married into.

 

The wife of Lord General Akechi 
cut off and sold her long tresses 
to provide funds for a banquet.
Such devotion comes to mind now.

 

 

Akechi Mitsuhide was a major player in the Warring States period, the hundred years of alliances, betrayals, slaughter, and revenge that occupied the powerful men of Japan from 1467 to 1567. He and his wife, Tsumaki Hiroko, had six children, the most famous being Tama, her Christian name Gracia, the model for ‘Mariko,’ the heroine of James Clavell’s Shogun.

 

Once, when their stronghold was destroyed in battle, Akechi, Hiroko, and the children had to wander about staying in various Zen temples. The impoverished Akechi was expected to cater a poetry gathering for many VIP guests, but lacked the funds to do so in the style required. If the gathering did not go well, Akechi would lose face, which in this fiercely competitive group could lead to the end of his career. Hiroko did the one thing she could do to get the funds: she cut off and sold her floor-length black hair. (In Shogun, Mariko tells Blackthorne this story Basho likes so much.)

 

So Basho has compared Iugen’s wife to this noble, self-determined, and resourceful lady of the past. Imagine the boost this gives to the marriage of these two struggling young people. Imagine the boost it gives to the self-esteem of the wife. Like “Curly’s wife” in Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, Iugen’s wife has no name. Unlike Curly’s wife, however, Iugen’s wife is in control of herself and devoted to the success of the household she has married into. And look what she has managed to do: Basho wrote a haibun about her devotion, and with no name of her own, she has made her husband’s name known through the centuries. A powerful young lady.

 

Moon be sad --
of the wife of Akechi
let us speak

 

The moon with 29-day cycle is a worldwide symbol for the feminine. Basho is asking the moon to be less bright, more subdued, so we can speak of the sadness in women’s lives. Alongside every man who becomes famous is a woman whose life is just as remarkable and certainly more productive. Of the wife let us speak. Basho knows that Iugen’s family will cherish their copy of this haibun, and until the day she dies, the wife will recall the night Basho stayed with them, realizing that he wrote this haibun and haiku to honor her hospitality.

 

The following haiku by Basho's woman follower Uko is the only haiku by a woman to be found in Basho’s published works: here Uko welcomes Basho to Saga where he will stay for two weeks


Come here again
strawberries will brighten
Saga Mountain

 

Uko demonstrates the traditional role of women in Japanese society: providing hospitality. Instead of putting forth her own experience, Uko focuses on Basho, welcoming him to Kyoto and Saga by saying that whenever he comes here, strawberries will redden to celebrate his presence

 

Basho spent 18 days this summer in Kyoto and stayed at Uko and Boncho’s house. The following tanka appears in Basho’s letter

 

Each evening
kettle surely boiling,
how I miss
those three pillows in
the room where we slept

                                                        This is to you
                                                                   Basho

 

Basho recalls the tea ceremony Uko performed for her guest. Kon elaborates Basho’s meaning in the first two lines: “as I think of the kettle boiling in your tea cottage, I imagine your peaceful, settled lifestyle” -- a lifestyle so serene that each evening she has the time and heart to make tea in the formal meditative Way of Tea.

 

In a Japanese home of refinement, the houseguest never puts out his or her own futon and pillow; the wife of the house always performs that role while the guest is in the bath. Because Japanese line things up in parallel as an expression of respect, and because Basho was her teacher and a guest in her house, we can assume that Uko diligently lined the futons and pillows up in three even vertical columns -- like the three strokes of the Chinese character for ‘river,’ 川, which suggest a baby nestled between mommy and daddy, receiving warmth and security from both sides. In the tanka the heat of “kettle boiling” flows into the warmth in Basho’s memory of “those three pillows.”

 

In IN THE REALM OF ISE, Basho speaks of the woman of the house with appreciation for her skill and care in providing comfortable lodgings to a tired traveler. His message is similar in EACH EVENING. He wrote many haiku praising the splendor of Kyoto’s temples and shrines, as well as yearning for Kyoto long ago, however here Basho praises the living humanity in Kyoto, the graceful serenity of his hostess, the intimacy of their friendship.

 

We end this article with a linked verse Basho wrote his follower Kakei in Nagoya on Basho's final journey

in 1694. In May some fields in Japan are covered with tall yellow stalks of barley; once these are harvested, the fields are ploughed and flooded with water, then rice seedlings are transferred to the mud. The host and his guest portray this interface between barley and rice.

Till it’s soft

you must boil this year’s
homegrown barley

Together with rice planters
early rising on a journey

 Kakei begins with an expression of hospitality; he orders his wife or servants to boil the new just-harvested barley (not last year’s leftovers) to a softness Basho’s chronically ill digestive system can manage. Basho replies with a message of consideration to the wife or servants; it is easier to serve breakfast to everybody at once instead of providing the meal to Basho at a later time. Thus the stanza pair portrays the give-and-take of hospitable human relations.

 

basho4humanity@gmail.com 

 


 






<< The Life and Death of Chine (D-15) (D-17) Syllables, Words, and Beats >>


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