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  >  The Physical Body  >  F-05


Sickness and Health

7 Basho haiku, 13 renku 7 letter sections, 4 bits of speech

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

Basho portrays sickness in renku, haiku, and letters, and especially on his final journey as he approached death, he wrote about health and energy.

 

“How’s it going?”

who’s at the window?
a face appears

After having measles

traces are a benefit

 

Kyorai creates a person at the window asking about someone inside. Basho says the latter is recovering from measles. With no scientific knowledge of physiology at all, he recognizes the essence of immunology: disease leaves “traces” (antibodies) to prevent that disease from reoccurring in this body.                

The earliest Basho verse on sickness may be this autobiographical renku stanza-pair, both stanzas written by Basho, which is undated, but was written before 1676, and probably occurred in reality before  1672 while Basho still lived in his hometown of Iga (now Mie Prefecture) about 50 km. southeast of Kyoto and traveled to Kyoto to study.


River wind so cold
midnight to the outhouse
Leaving Kyoto
today on southern plain
belly painful

 

Walking from Kyoto to Iga, apparently he spent the night in Mika no Hara, a place in Kizugawa south of Kyoto, alongside the Kizu River which leads east to Iga. “Hara” is both “plain” in the place name, and also “belly.” Already in his twenties he suffered from the bowel disorder that ended his life more than two decades later in 1694.


Deciding not to take
the doctor’s medicine

As cherries bloom
wandering place to place
in Yoshino mountains

 

The subject has decided to “go with the flow,” to let the disease run its course, either to decline or to recover on the body’s own healing resources. The body goes on a journey, “wandering place to place” in the hills of Yoshino where everywhere you go cherry trees are in full bloom.

 

Beauty of her voice
when she has a cold

Sliding back
her tray with lunch
untouched

 

Her voice is always beautiful, but the respiratory hoarseness of a cold adds a different beauty. Though her voice is so pretty, Basho makes her silently return the tray with the lunch she has no appetite to eat. Her immune system is weakened by a cold, and food will only make it worse.  This stanza-pair belongs to teenage girls; they can tell us what it means.


Withering gusts –
cheeks swollen and painful
infant’s face

 

Winter brings savage winds from the North to rip the last leaves from the trees, withering whatever they touch. Hohobare, (swollen cheeks) is the old way of saying the mumps, an acute communicable disease of small children that causes swelling of the salivary glands below and before the ears and a high fever as the

immune system works to kill the mumps virus. Why is this infant with the mumps outside in the cold winter wind? Mther has to shop for food and the baby has mumps. With a zukin or hood over the head, she straps baby to her back with a kimono sash. Then she pulls a nen-neko hanten, an oversized thick padded jacket over both of them, and goes outside into the bitter wind. The little body is snug and warm next to the mother’s back, and the steady walking rhythm soothes the feverish baby to calm down and maybe fall

asleep. Everywhere is covered by jacket and hood, except for around the nose and mouth, so baby can breathe – this is when Basho sees the “cheeks swollen and painful.”

 

Gradually
helped to sit up, she
combs her hair

Cat fondly caressed
by the one I adore

To stop blossoms
from falling, if only
there was a way

 

Recovering from a long illness, with help she lifts herself to a sitting position on the futon. As she runs the comb down the full length of smooth black hair, she takes in its power. Then she caresses her adorable furry pet so kawaii! Watching her cuddle and pet this small living being, so soon after her-near death, makes me love her all the more. To keep the young and healthy from growing old and sick, if only there was a way.


The disease smallpox was caused by a virus in the blood vessels of skin producing a rash with small bumps which became blisters, leaving scars on the face of those who survived.


All the children
I see have this year’s
smallpox scars

 

Paying attention to the children, Basho sees smallpox scars still raw and unhealed by time, indicating that earlier this year there was a local epidemic -- but it is over and the children who survived now go around outside where Basho can see them. Another writer would focus on children dying from smallpox; Basho shows us the ones who live through it.

 

Sick wild goose
drops in the night cold
sleep on a journey

 

The goose needs strength to stay in the sky. We watch the elegant V formation cross the sky when suddenly one member drops down to somewhere we cannot see. Basho is portraying his own sickness which came upon him in the cold night.


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

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

She drops a tea bag
in steam from her chest

 

This is sickness Basho could not possibly have experienced in himself, although he may have seen in his mother or four sisters. Willow branches are pliant and flexible, submissive to every breeze, so we may think them weak. Women too are flexible, and in a patriarchal society expected to submit to every male desire.

Men admire strength and rigidity, despising the flexibility of willows or women, as they despise the ‘path of blood’ from women’s reproductive organs, and also the sickness that comes with bleeding. During her period the long spring rains make this woman feel weaker and more shameful. For some relief, she boils the herbal tea bag in the steam rising from her inflamed heart. 

 

In passages from Basho’s letters to close friends and his older brother, we learn his consciousness of sickness and health: here from a letter to Chigetsu, a widow in her sixties, he writes 

 

My sick bowels for 53 days now have felt fine 
and this spring I will take care of my health                                               and become fierce as a demon.
Needing no cushion in the palanquin,
shoulders and hips painful, I entered Iga.

 

Basho counts the days he is free from his chronic disease –Exactly 53! In a letter to a woman, he tells the condition of his bowels; now that’s personal! “Fierce as a dream”? No comment. He rode into Iga in a palanquin carried by four bearers, but his butt was so pain-free he did not need a cushion underneath those cheeks - however the space within the palanquin was confining so after many hours his hips and shoulders hurt. So much body consciousness.


In a letter to his old friend Ensui, April 28, 1692:

 

So you are without misfortune
and how is your whole family?
The pain you describe must be unsettling.
Though my disease is said to be “chronic”
the New Year has passed to Third Moon’s end.

 

Millions throughout time have suffered and died from tuberculosis: the chronic cough with blood-containing sputum, fever, night sweats,and weight loss which led to the term "consumption" -- the infection consumes the body, although memories continue in a fading physique.

 

“Lingering on…”
I take down the doll and
look at her face
Again starting to weep
the cough of consumption

 

The flow of images make this one of Basho’s most heart-rending verses. He begins with a single word of speech or thought to open the mind without specifying content. The second and third lines portray the physical actions that evoke memories. The fourth line adds deep and reoccurring emotion, and the fifth provides the sad context for the entire scene: tuberculosis.


At the end of 1692, Basho’s nephew Toin, a fugitive from the law in Iga, came down with tuberculosis, and Basho brought him into his hut to nurse him. Here from a letter to his older brother in Iga:

 

If this goes on, it will be all over;
more and more distressful it becomes.
Maybe you can guess the hardship.
It seems like misery is all there is.
For now I will send no word to Hisai.
To inform would cause worry and benefit no one.
No matter what happens,
I am in no hurry to tell her.

 

In addition to dealing with Toin’s suffering, Basho has to make the difficult decision whether or not to inform his sister has not seen or heard from her son in 17 years. He decides that it better to let her remain unaware of Toin’s disease and go on with her present life.

 

On June 3, 1694, Basho, along with his grandnephew Jirobei, began his final journey. They spent about four hours with friends and followers at the Shinagawa post station, the start of the Tokaido Road to Kyoto. The farewells went on, and on, and on, so the old man and teenage boy did not leave until afternoon. Kon explains that Basho was quite able to walk, but Sampu and Old Kosai insisted he and Jirobei ride a palanquin and paid the cost. Considering that Basho was 50 years old with a chronic bowel problem, I would be most surprised if the wealthy and generous Sampu did not so insist – however the palanquin would only carry

them seven miles to the next post station, and then they walked.

 

In the fog of translation, this palanquin has become a “litter” Basho was “strapped to” because he was so sick he could not walk. Sam Hamill is very specific about the symptoms -- “chills, fever, and headaches” -- he says Basho suffered throughout June and July, although Japanese scholars report no such symptoms at this time. Kon tells us Basho was “weakened by old age and his chronic bowel

disease,” but without symptoms.

 

Grabbing onto
the strength of barley
at our parting

 

Barley planted in winter rice fields is harvested just before plowing to prepare for rice-planting. Some have taken this verse to mean Basho was so sick and weak he could not walk by himself andgrasped the barley stalks like an old man’s cane – however Ueda translates this commentary by Konishi Jin’ichi:


In fully grown barley ears reside the forces of health and life.  The goodwill of my friends, who have come to see me off, is as encouraging to me as those barley ears. On the strength of that encouragement I start on this long journey.

 

                                                           Letter To Sora, June 8

 

Jirobei has learned a bit, and is doing well, but by
and by, his body gets exhausted, again and again.

 

Evidence suggests Jirobei was about 15 years old, able to move about nimbly and quickly, but without much endurance – untilbpushed by day-after-day of exertion he develop endurance.

 

My chronic disease has not arisen so I have no doubt we will
arrive safely in Kansai, though I have been feeling restless
and my mental part is tired.

 

Hamill, Barnhill, and Reichhold seem to have gotten the idea thatbBasho was sick on the early part of this journey from Ueda whobdoes not indicate where he got it. They all suggest that Basho wasbdepressed about being sick and close to his death, but in his lettersbBasho seems tired, but still confidant about his health.


                                                   Letter to Sora, July 13

 

The wide Oi River was flooding from heavy summer rains, so they had to stay for three days in Shimada

 

For three days Jirobei rested his legs
and my energy too was nourished,
so in happiness we encountered the water.
I wrote you before that Jirobei got exhausted.
Well, after his three-day rest
he became robust and really makes an effort.

 

Basho focuses on the nature of good health

 

Then, just as we came upon the turnoff to Nagoya,
both his legs and shoulders became strong together,
His first journey continues to be praiseworthy.

 

Basho has noticed something very important about children and even teenagers: that they develop. They are not stuck with yesterday’s self. Given a few days of concentrated input, they change. In a few weeks of natural communication with local children, a “foreign” child will learn their language and speak itwithout an accent. After just ten days of Basho’s Boot Camp (even with a three-day furlough), Jirobei discovered an energy no one knew he had. He changed from being a wimpy 15 year old to a “robust” young man, who can just walk and walk, carrying a backpack, without tiring.


Also, in a letter to Sampu, Basho says:

 

On the road as far as Shimada,
I had some hindrance but gradually became robust.

 

We know he left Shinagawa in the south of Edo mid-afternoon the 3rd, and he did arrive in Shimada before dark on the 7th. That’s 110 miles in 3 1/2 days of travel. Basho said he had some “hindrance” from his chronic bowel disease, but not enough to prevent him from doing 30 miles a day.


For the sake of my health, we walk 5 to 7 miles a day,
sometimes, according to the day, 12;
and when horses are convenient we ride horses,
so by doing this and that, we arrived in Iga.
Rainy weather, mostly drizzle, so not really hot.

 

Riding a horse or palanquin are easier than walking, but if Basho had any actual sickness in his bowels, they would get most uncomfortable on a horse or in a palanquin. If Basho were as sick as Hamill claims, he simply would not have been able to make this journey. They left Edo after noon June 3rd and arrived in Iga June 20th. The basic distance is 240 miles, however their side trip to Ise and Hisai added 60 miles. Also, they stopped for three days at Shimada and two days and three nights at Nagoya -- so 300 miles in

12 days on the road, 25 miles a day. Not exactly an invalid!

 

My exhaustion has not stopped
but without proceeding to my chronic illness,
though as it gets hotter and even hotter,
how will it turn out? Since before, the doctor
who gives me medicine has not changed,
and he says I need not worry.

 

So we have the opinion of a doctor who actually treated Basho for a while, and he said Basho “need not worry.” We have Basho’s own statement that his chronic illness did not arise all the way from Edo to Zeze – though he did get more exhausted than he did on previous journeys. (I know just how he feels) Certainly an acutely sick man could never have made this journey. Hamill says, “Basho was pleased to be celebrated in his hometown, but was far too weak to participate in any festivities.” Basho, however, in the Letter to

Sora said,

 

My old friends Doho, Ensui, and Hanzan delighted
to talk with me for days and nights.

 

In this letter to Sampu he says the same. Basho had a great time socializing with his old buddies in Iga, and he obviously had enough energy to write long, long letters – though scholars in the West say Basho was near-death on this journey. Who do we believe?

 

From Iga Basho and Jirobei traveled to Zeze and then Saga west of Kyoto where Basho wrote a letter to his neighbor in Fukagawa, Ihei:

And Ofu, with summer coming on,
is she without misfortune? Please write
and tell me the details of her condition.

 

Kon believes that the younger of Jutei’s daughters is 11 at this time. Basho only mentions Ofu in his letter, not Masa, so it appears the younger girl suffers from some health problem her sister is free of. The Japanese summer is mushi atsui, day after day of sultry, muggy heat which makes all health problems worse. Basho cares about his prepubescent grandniece’s delicate health.


In a letter to his older brother, November 11th:

 

Once we arrived in Osaka, starting on October 28th,
I had fits of shivering along with chills, fever,
and headaches each evening from four o’clock to eight.
I thought I had malaria and was taking medicine
but suddenly on November 7 the symptoms went away.

 

Such intermittent fevers, called ague, are usually malarial. Here may be one origin of the Western myth that from June Basho was sick with “chills, fever and migraines.” Hamill translates the symptoms accurately, but has the date five months off. I assume he did not do this consciously or deliberately. The information he received must have been somehow scrambled so that symptoms Basho described in a letter in November were attributed to Basho in June.

 

Two days later he wrote:

 

This autumn
oh how I have aged!
a bird in the clouds

 

Basho told Shiko,

 

the phrase ‘a bird in the clouds’ tears my bowels to pieces


Basho feels the power of words in his body. His chronic disease is in his bowels, so literally will tear them to pieces.


Two nights before this disease became acute, Basho wrote the second stanza:


Wind from the east
blows from the west, then
from the north

The pulse in my wrist
is my great concern

 

According to traditional Chinese medicine, the wind gets inside the body to cause disease – so in Japanese both “wind” and “a cold” are pronounced kaze. A wind that changes direction produces disharmony in the body, so disease defeats the body’s defenses. Diagnosis of the pulses at the wrist gives the doctor detailed

information on the state of the internal organs and the whole complex of yin and yang energy. Basho, a month before his death, knows that any disharmony or disease in his body could accumulate to his ending.

 

Late at night, November 16th, Basho woke up with severe pain and diarrhea. Realizing he could not attend the gathering the next evening, he asks Shiko to bring the following verse to open the sequence.


Deep in autumn
my neighbor, oh what
do you do!

 

“Deep in autumn, the loneliness of the journey closing in on me, I lodge in a corner of the city. Someone resides in the next room, making no sound. There is something my neighbor does to pass through the world. I wonder what it is.” (Kon)


Basho knows that the wonder of human activity in harmony with the seasons goes on all the while he lies dying, and will continue after he is dead. Robert Aitken says,


“On his deathbed… in the loneliest circumstances the human

spirit can experience, Basho’s mind goes out to his

neighbour… Even the pain and isolation forced by his illness

did not turn his energy to his smaller self.”

 

Even as the infectious sores “tear his bowels to pieces”, Basho maintains his Lightness and sense of wonder for human (male, female, or child) activity.On his deathbed, after midnight of November 24th., Basho dictated:

 

In sickness:

 

On a journey taken ill
dreams on withered fields
wander about

 

“Fields” may represent the body while dreams are the spirit which animates the flesh for a while and then passes on. In the spring and summer and autumn of life, dreams wander about fields bright in the

sunshine and alive with birdsong. But then comes winter, time for dreams to wander off into eternity.


When he awoke the next day, he told this verse to Shiko:

 

Clear cascade
into the ripples fall
green pine needles

 

Instead of an old man sadly dying on a withered field, we gaze in wonder at young green life flowing away in the mountain stream. CLEAR CASCADE is a rejuvenation in Basho’s spirit, a casting off of the sickness of ON A JOURNEY TAKEN ILL, reaffirming Lightness and Liveliness as the Way of Basho -- even on his deathbed.


November 27, Basho turned toward Bokusetsu, his doctor, and said,

 

I do not want to end up quibbling over this medicine or that medicine.
I shall not look back on this disease to like or dislike.

(Points to Bokusetsu)

This sage’s medicine shall until the end wet my lips.

 

The next day, November 28th, was a warm early winter day

 

“So far the old man had without fail eaten
every dawn and dusk but yesterday,
from morning to evening he took no food.
Realizing that today would be Basho’s final moments,
the followers stay in the next room saying not a word,
while attending to the left and right of his sickbed
are only Donshu and Jirobei.

 

The day is warm as if the sky of a small spring were returning
and Basho is annoyed by flies gathering around the white shoji panels,
so they go to catch them with bird-mochi stuck to bamboo poles.” 

 

All other insects have died from the night cold, but flies are somehow tougher.

Early in the afternoon, he spoke his final words with a smile:

 

“These flies sure enjoy having an unexpected sick person.”

 

basho4humanity@gmail.com

 






<< Sing the Body Electric (F-04) (F-06) Breath >>


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