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  >  Basho Himself  >  E-04


Chuang Tzu to Basho

7 Basho haiku, 8 renku, one bit of speech, 5 prose and 4 letter passages, and two discourses by Chuang Tzu

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

Whether or not the statements and parables in the ancient Chinese text Chuang Tzu were written by a man named Chuang Tzu, they had a profound effect on Basho 20 centuries later. We examine four areas in which Basho followed Chuang Tzu:


Reality vs. Dreaming
Life vs. Death
Usefulness of uselessness
Tearing up involvements
and one where he diverged from that sage:
Compassion for others

 

Reality vs. Dreaming

Chuang Tzu’s most famous parable tells of waking up from dreaming he was a butterfly to wonder whether if actually he was a butterfly dreaming of being Chuang-Tzu. Basho rearranged Chuang Tzu’s butterfly parable in many ways, for example, the next three haiku:

 

Wake up! wake up!
wouldn’t you be my friend?
sleeping butterfly

 

The Japanese here is child-like: innocent, simple, and profound. The small child wants a playmate、and speaks to a butterfly motionless on a rock -- who then becomes Chuang Tzu.


Praying to an image of Chuang Tzu:

 

Butterfly! Butterfly!
will you ask of the poetry
of ancient China?

 

Basho calls out for a butterfly to teleport through 2000 years and ask Chuang Tzu about poetry, and bring his answers back to Basho. The butterfly needs no time machine; it can travel through dreams.

 

Basho shared with Dosui, a young samurai in Zeze, an enthusiasm for the ancient sage.

On May 18, 1690 Basho writes to him:

 

Your kindness of spirit, without delay, shame, or fear;
a conversation with you about the Great Way of Nature,
truly nowhere else can I be at such peace.

 

“Delay, shame, or fear” – a summary of the barriers we set up between us and living fully.

The “Great Way of Nature” means the Taoism of Chuang Tzu. In the letter appears this haiku:

 

You the butterfly
and I, Chuang Tzu’s
heart of dreams

 

]This poem does not simply stand alone. Stephen J. Wolfe in his article Using the Usless: Chuang Tzu’s Influence on Basho notes that “if the reader is not familiar with the butterfly passage in Chuang Tzu…the poem makes little sense.” This is true, but we must go further: only if we know the context of the letter, the relationship between Basho and Dosui, can we understand the full meaning of this haiku in Basho’s thought. Kon Eizo, preeminent authority on both Basho haiku and Basho letters, sees Basho’s personal message to Dosui in this haiku:

 

“You and I are one in our attraction to Chuang Tzu.

 We can give up all notions of distinction between us.”

 

Life vs. Death

For two years, from winter of 1689 to autumn of 1691, Basho stayed in the Kansai region, and spent much time in Zeze (Otsu) on the shore of Lake Biwa where the samurai widow Chigetsu lived. On June 21, 1692, seven months after he left Zeze to return to Edo, Basho writes in a letter to her:

 

For one year a dream has been like reality.
On each of us old age presses.
The day may not be as far as today or tomorrow.

 

In this time old age is said to begin at 40. Young people still think this. Basho suggests: “The time since we parted has been been either reality or a dream, I cannot tell which. We are both close to death, and that too can be either dream or reality.”

 

In 1693, after learning that his long-time friend Ranran had died, Basho wrote to Ranran’s brother:

 

I was shocked by the news you sent me.
Still I know not whether it be dream or reality.

 

Behind every one of these thoughts about life, death, dream and reality we see Chuang Tzu.

 

When a pilgrim dies
shimmers rise from path

Even more so,
the butterfly’s reality
is pathetic

 

When a pilgrim, who travels to approach the divine, dies on the road, the spirit rises to heaven in “shimmers.” Such shimmers appear when moisture evaporates through air, causing refractions of light so things behind seem to waver and shift – a fine illustration of how transient is our existence. The butterfly, without a care in the world, unaware that soon it too will be dead (the typical butterfly lives for just two weeks) flutters about the corpse lying on the road, mingling with the shimmers of the deceased being.

We, as did Chuang Tzu, keep on shifting back and forth between dream mode and reality mode.

 

In the following haiku Basho transfers the question of reality vs. dreams to a somewhat different creature: the bush warbler, known as the Japanese nightingale; the bird sings throughout spring when willows have fresh new leaves.

 

Is the bush warbler
your soul while you sleep?
lovely willow

 

The bird calling somewhere in the thicket of willow branches, the soul of a woman somewhere in the thicket of her long hair, either may fly off in reality, or in a dream..

 

In a haibun, Basho refers to another Chuang Tzu story in which the medium for transport is neither butterfly nor bird, but rather a human skull the sage found lying beside the road.

 

The Noh actor Honma Shume has a picture
of skeletons dancing to flutes and drums;
It hangs on the wall of his stage.
Truly the frolic of these skeletons is the play
of a lifetime. As when Chuang Tzu used a skull
for this pillow and then could not tell dream
from reality, this too shows what is a lifetime.

 

In renku or linked verse, we find Basho’s most Chuang Tzuian visions:

 

Watch Master Basho
swat at butterflies!

This rotten
verse even a dog
will not eat

 

Kikaku teases Basho for his obsession with Chuang Tzu’s butterfly dream, the point beginning that Basho is too clumsy to catch the insect midair. Maybe he could hit one in his dreams, but dreams are not reality. Basho responds that Kikaku’s stanza is so “rotten” that a dog, who will eat garbage or shit, passes on this one.

 

Basho’s follower Yaba records Basho spoken words:

 

Link verses the way children play. so it is with Chuang Tzu.

 

When we look, really look at Chuang-tzu                                                renku resembles the Way of Chuang-tzu


Children in play leap across the boundaries of space and time to change reality however they please – as Chuang Tzu does in shifting between reality and dream, as the renku poet does from one realm to another.

“Give up your single sold reality; enter another reality, another identity, another location or time, just like that.”

 

In 1681, when Basho was studying with the Zen Priest Butcho, Kikaku begins and Basho follows:

 

The Mouse and the Ox
entrusted to the Tiger

Chaos rides
on Green, at play with
The Energy

 

Kikaku begins the show with three mammals. The mouse and ox are given to the care of the tiger; does that mean the third and most vicious of these is going to kill and eat the other two? Or will the animals live in harmony? Nonsense! These three animals are the first three signs of the Oriental zodiac, and usually represent two-hour periods of the Oriental clock. The Hour of the Mouse is from 11:00 pm to 1:00 a.m., the Ox from 1:00 a.m. to 3:00, and the Tiger 3:00 to 5:00. So this story of three mammals occurs between 11:00 pm and 5:00 am, the time when most people are asleep, and the whole mini-drama occurs in a dream. The stanza is a metaphor – a weird one for sure – for the passage of time; each passing hour absorbs the one before, like the serpent eating its tail, in a 24 hour repeating cycle.

 

From Kikaku’s trip – maybe a dream, maybe nonsense –through deep night time, Basho flies off into an acid trip of cosmology: the primal origins of life as conceived by Chuang Tzu after his wife died. Someone criticized him for not crying at the funeral. Chuang Tzu replied,

 

“Of course I cried just after she died, taken over by grief,
but then I thought deeply about the origins of Life
At first there was no Life, not only no Life, but also no Form;
not only no Form, but no Energy to produce Form,
the element for 10,000 things, the energy of the Sun.
Within chaos -- a featureless, indistinguishable state –
from the mixture of disorder came Energy. Energy changed into Form,
and Form changed into Life, and finally Life returns to Death.
The changes from Chaos to Energy to Form to Life to Death
is like the orderly cycle of spring, summer, autumn and winter.

 

Now my wife is at rest in a giant room.
As Chaos she sees all the world of heaven and earth.
If I chase after her, raising a cry of lamentation,
I merely reveal my lack of knowledge of divine will
and the inevitability of natural law under heaven.
So I stopped howling.”

 

Some translators have Chuang-Tzu speaking of the origins of the woman who became his wife, while I take it to be the origins of life itself billions of years ago. Not either, both.

 

So, within this, what does Basho’s stanza mean?

 

Chaos rides
on Green at play with
the Energy

 

Basho plays with the first two steps in Chuang- Tzu’s vision of creation -- Chaos and Energy– and adds a new element, “Green,” the primal invigorating force of Spring and plant life which “Chaos” rides on while playing with “Energy.” Since all Energy comes from the Sun, if “Green” is the vehicle for playing with Energy, can we say that “Green” is chlorophyll?

 

So we have a spectacular metaphor for the glory of photosynthesis all over Earth. The first photosynthesis occured more than 3 billion years ago in microscopic cyano-bacteria (often called blue-green algae, although not algae at all) which lived in a world without oxygen, getting their energy from sunlight. Too tiny to be seen, and able to reproduce forever without dying. we might say they had no Form and no Life. Millions upon millions of years of photosynthesis by the “green” in these bacteria produced oxygen which enabled larger, multi-cellular oxygen-breathing forms of life to evolve. Life dependant on oxygen must eventually burn out, so we come to the final stage in Chuang Tzu’s cosmology.

 

Kikaku’s stanza THE MOUSE AND THE OX concerns the passage of time, and Basho follows with the nature of Creation from Chaos through Energy to Form. Scientists tell us the key to evolution is Time, millions of years for successful stepping stones to be selected. Chaos plays with Energy through Time.

 

“Playing with the Energy” is sorcery, or magical thinking -- the ability imagine your imagination becoming real. Magical thinking is normal in children aged 2 to 7. Susan A. Miller, Ed D. says, “the most amazing part of magical thinking for young children is their belief that they can make life be anything they want it to be.”

 

Basho’s very first renku stanza, #1 of 1700 stanzas, written in 1665 portrays magical thinking. The previous two stanzas are about a little girl holding onto a worn out doll until the annual Doll’s Festival, obviously the highlight of the year for a doll. Basho writes and another poet follows:

 

Till  twilight crrescent
shall ladle peach wine

Calm peaceful
magical thinking cannot
be surpassed

 

The peach tree is sacred to Taoism; the word “peach” suggests Chuang Tzu’s favorite goddess, The Queen Mother of the West, who served Peaches of Immortality to her guests, making them immortal. À world where the crescent moon becomes a ladle serving us sweet wine would be a world of “magical thinking,” a world in which when we want something, we magically call it forth – as a little girl gives her dolls thoughts and feelings, and even has one doll interact with another – manipulating the Force, like Yoda lifting the space shuttle from the swamp, so it cannot be surpassed.

 

Again in 1681:

 

Water jewels
falling into a dream,
realm of magic

Sun bumps Her forehead
on peak of Mount Fuji

 

There is no sorcerer here; the magic is in the nature of the place, not in a person. The sparkling droplets of the cascade fall from reality into a dream. Basho switches from this vision of magical transformation to another vision of transformation: the sun rising behind the peak of Mount Fuji, so the golden orb magically appears to emerge from inside the volcano.The Sun has a female face, and She bumps her forehead on the jagged peak: Ouch!

 

Usefulness of Uselessnes

Wolfe says, “Throughout Chuang Tzu, the quality of ‘uselessness’ is revered and set as a cherished goal.” Chuang Tzu tells of someone complaining about an enormous but useless tree so gnarled and bumpy, with branches so twisted and bent, “carpenters do not so much as glance at it.” Chuang Tzu defends the honor of the tree:

“ Axes will never shorten its life,nothing can even harm it.
  If there’s no use for it, how can it come to grief or pain?”

 

In the autumn of 1684, Basho visited Taima Temple near Nara:

 

In the garden I saw a pine tree nearly one thousand years old.
“Big enough to hide an ox,” is what I say too.
Though inanimate, this pine with ties to Buddha
seemed happy to have been spared the sin of the ax

 

Chuang Tzu also wrote of a tree big enough to cover an ox. The tree owes its long life to having no use for any purpose -- thus proving the usefulness of uselessness.” In an essay Basho wrote of his useless occupation:


My poetry is like a stove in summer, a fan in winter.

 

A bicycle underwater.

 

Wolfe points out that the pen-name Basho which the poet chose for himself is an expression of Chuang Tzu’s uselessness. The basho, or banana plant, in the tropics produces edible bananas, however in temperate Japan, only enormous flabby useless seven-foot-tall leaves which are torn by the early autumn typhoons leaving the plant looking like hell –just a ragged mess no good for any purpose. Both basho plant and Basho man are altogether useless.

 

Tearing Up Involvements

Wolfe tells us

“The text of Chuang Tzu is riddled with brazen, bombastic, shocking, argumentative, enigmatic, intentionally confusing, and paradoxical assertions and parables…Chuang Tzu screeches, screams, and squeals, ‘Me, me, me!” Chuang Tzu tore up involvements with people, so he could follow his own inner nature.

 

In the winter of 1680, Basho followed the ancient sage by parting from involvements with ordinary society, moving to a hut in rural Fukagawa across the Sumida River from downtown Edo to become a hermit-poet.   A few minutes away by foot, an eminent Zen priest Butcho was staying while he petitioned the Shogunate for a land grant to his temple in Chiba. For the next 18 months, until Butcho left the area in summer, 1682, Basho probably studied with him – but what did they study?


Kon notes that Zen priests introduced the teachings of Chuang Tzu to Japan, and books on Zen contain much of Chuang Tzu -- so the Priest Butcho was also an authority on Chuang Tzu. Zen contains both the self-discipline of Zen meditation and the free-thinking philosophy of Chuang Tzu. Because Basho speaks so often of that ancient sage in his works, and because at no time in his life does Basho show any sustained self-discipline, it is likely that Basho studied with the Zen Priest Butcho not to learn the discipline of Zen, but rather the non-discipline of Chuang Tzu.

 

In the winter of 1692 Basho’s nephew Toin came down with tuberculosis, and Basho took him into his hut to nurse him until he died in spring. Basho describes in two letters how devastated he was by this experience. That summer of 1693 was oppressively hot and Basho suffered. At the end of summer, he went into seclusion for one full month, not going outside and allowing no one to visit him.  In his “Explanation for Closing the Gate” he explains:


To, as did Chuang-tzu, simply tear up involvements,
and by forgetting both youth and old age, find leisure,
this I say is the pleasure of growing old.
People come here for useless chatter. I go out
only to suffer at interfering with others’ business.
Sun Ching shut the door, Tu Wu-lang barred the gate.
Friendlessness shall be my friend, poverty my wealth.
A stubborn man at fifty years, for myself I write
and for myself I prohibit.

 

So for this one month at the end of summer,1693, Basho did “tear up involvements”—closing his gate to all visitors and refusing to go out -- and yet after that one-month period ended, Basho returned to his involvements with the world. “Tearing up involvements” was only a phase he passed through. “Tearing up involvement” is one side of the coin; on the next two pages is the other side of the same coin.

 

Compassion for Others

A monk in Kyoto named Unchiku drew a picture
of a monk facing away. About this, I said
“You are more than 60 years old and I nearly fifty.
Together we are within a dream,
and you have drawn the form of a dream.”
To his picture, I added these words of sleep talk:

 

Turn this way
I too am lonely
autumn nightfall

 

“Autumn nightfall” is that cold miserable time at the end of autumn when we both darkness and cold loom ahead. Like a Russian nesting doll, this haiku can be appreciated on many layers. Basho could be speaking to the monk in the picture, requesting that he turn toward Basho, so they can share stories and console each other in old age – however the poem does not limit us to the world of Basho and Unchiku’s picture.

Anybody can be speaking to another person whose back is turned. Turn this way, Connect with me. Together we can face the darkness and cold.

 

Chuang Tzu screeches, screams, and squeals, “Me, me, me!” -- but has little to say about you and me,  while the following haiku shows Basho’s interpersonal concerns.

 

Basho’s follower, 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. In 1687 Basho and Etsujin went to visit him, and Basho wrote:

 

We visit Tokoku living in hardship at Cape Irago
where at times we hear the cries of hawks.

 

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

 

Hawks fly high up, 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. We can rely on hawks, though not on butterflies flittering about. Basho gives Tokoku an image to focus on -- the soaring flight of hawks often seen on Cape Irago -- 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. Basho does more than “screech, scream, and squeal, ‘Me, me, me!” He cares for people, and offers us hope.

 

In a daydream
boiling rice until
evening comes

No concern for life
only waiting to die

 

This person experienced boiling the rice, but only in a dream, so it provides no nourishment. “No concern for life” could be no concern even for one’s own life, so merely living life away in a daydream. Renku scholar Shimasue Kiyoshi says it means “no concern for others, devoid of altruism” – and with this meaning, Basho is saying that living without concern for others is merely boiling rice in a daydream; not really living, but living in unreality, merely waiting to die.

 

At the very end of his journal A Narrow Path in the Heartlands are four words which express Basho's ideal for humanity:  katsu yorokobi katsu itawaru

           

                  All the more joyful. all the more caring

 

Basho writes about caring for people in many ways: for instance in a letter to Kyoroku, he tells of caring for his dying nephew Toin.

 

The splendor of cherry blossoms dwells on my heart,
and thinking this the sick person’s final blossom season,
I took him to see them, and he was joyful.

 

Thank you, Basho, for your compassion.

 

Dozens of Basho poems of caring for others appear in the article D-4 COMPASSION. Here are one stanza pair which reveals his consciousness of women as caregivers:


The aged nun has
 a story to tell 

Filled with pity,
her message to rescure

abandoned child

 

The old nun tells, with enthusiams, a story of long ago, of a moment when human feeling overrode her Buddhist detachment, and she reached out to rescue an abandoned child from the cold night.

 

Wretched in the dew
my wife’s fallen hair,

Speaking of love,
in the mirror her face
still I can see

 

Fallen hair” means the wife has died – for hair contains the life force. “Dew” is the forces of wetness that rust, corrode, and wear out all things. “In the mirror” is another world which is not quite real, more like a dream. She looked in the mirror so often it holds a copy of her face – or maybe the husband and wife were so in tune with each other that part of her remains in his face – and here we recall Chuang Tzu crying just after his wife died, then coming to terms with her death.

 

                      Basho4humanity@gmail.com

 






<< Lightness (karumi) (E-03) (E-05) Friends in Zen >>


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