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  >  Food, Drink, and Fire  >  F-13


Ganja Basho

One Basho haiku, 6 renku, and one letter to inspire users and growers of the sacred weed

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

From ancient times Japanese smoked cannabis for both medicine and recreation. Basho, in the 17th century, records the use of hemp for clothing fabric as well as shrine offerings. He left a few intriguing bits of evidence that he smoked. I also include a few Basho verses about growing rice – because they work for cannabis as well.

 

Musk melon so large
both of us can enjoy

Having fun with

scraps of hemp fabric

mother has cut 

 

After eating the sweet luscious fruit, the kids play with scraps mother cut away from the fabric she needed to make an article of clothing, scraps of no interest to adults, but fascinating to the pure, naturally high mind of a child. So from the munchies to having fun.

 

In letter to his childhood friend Ensui, Basho recalls a cherry blossom viewing picnic in their hometown long ago

 

Within the wireweed a wild cherry tree
on a ridge beside vegetable fields;
a thin hemp rope for laundry attached,
thatch on the eaves starting to collapse;

 

We pass through a fence covered with the climber wireweed to an old favorite cherry tree in full bloom. Between the tree and a dilapidated old house a thin yet strong rope of hemp fibers holds nothing. We see hemp is part of everyday life.

 

Miracles from
offerings to the Goddess
shining on blossoms

Bird of good fortune
builds her nest with hemp

 

Basho sees the Sun Goddess Amaterasu in sunlight shining on cherry blossoms. One type of offering to this diety is called taima, the same characters and pronunciation as for the hemp plant, as well as the psychoactive cannabis. On YouTube you can see a Shinto priest fold a sheet of paper, traditionally of hemp fibers, in a zigzag pattern and attach to a wooden stick. The Ise Shrine, dedicated to the Sun Goddess, produces these in great numbers for houses who have been supportive of the shrine. People wave one before their household shrines to purify the space so their prayer reaches the Goddess. The bird steals the paper from the offerings; hemp fiber is strong, so makes a good nest for the bird of good fortune. We go from blossoms to bird, from hemp offered to the gods to hemp stolen by birds, from Sun Goddess to female nesting bird, from miracles to good fortune.

 

Heat shimmers
tying knows with
the smoke

 

Heat shimmers” are movements in the air over a blazing fire, so things behind appear to sway and shift,  like your mind when the high hits.

 

“Hey, man, look. Heat shimmers tying knots with the smoke.”
“Wow! man! Far out!”

 

Today again
on the stone to worship
the Rising Sun

She bumps her forehead 
on peak of Mlount Fuji 

 

 

Someone climbs onto a boulder to get a good view of the rising Sun (Goddess) and meditate. “

If you want to give that word "stone" another meaning, go ahead.  The verse belongs to you.

The Sun (Goddess) has a female face, and as She bumps Her forehead on the peak of the ultimate mountain of Japan.  Ouch!  

 

Fresh and green
the tranquility of a rock
that never moves,

Drinking then sleeping
here on this bridge

 

The chilly weather of early spring has passed, the day is warm and comfortable, the plant world green and alive. Basho recognizes that the “tranquility of a rock that never moves” is a drunken (or stoned) perception, so he gives that perception a location: on a bridge looking down at the stream, focusing on one particular rock that stays still while all that water goes rushing by; he watches for a while, drinks or smokes, falls asleep, wakes up to take another hit and watch some more.

 

When Basho in 1691 stayed for three weeks in the cottage owned by his follower Kyorai in Saga, west of Kyoto, here he wrote:

 

It is a convenient place for leisure,
a place where the heart can clear.
This Kyorai is a really lazy guy
and the grass stands high before the window,
while persimmon trees stick out over the roof.
Summer rains leaking everywhere,
tatami mats and paper doors smell of mold,
and finding a place to sleep is not so easy.

 

That smell of old tatami mats under a leaky roof, the mold and crud -- however, according to one Basho letter, Kyorai fixed the place up before Basho came here in 1694. On July 15, during Basho’s stay in this hippy cottage, he sent a letter to his follower Shiko:

 

The two things you sent with your best wishes
will be most valuable, especially on a journey.

 

One of the presents Shiko sent was a kiseru, a long thin pipe with bamboo shaft and metal mouthpiece and bowl. The bowl is tiny, only big enough for two or three puffs. Wikipedia says “Kiseru were used for smoking a fine, shredded tobacco, as well as cannabis.”

 

According to lunar calendar, this was in the 5th Intercalary Moon. an extra month added in the lunar calendar to fit the solar year.

 

Today Kyorai was cleaning the pipe for me,
and this being the first time he did this,
“pipe cleaning” shall refer to Intercalary 5th Moon.

 

A momentous event may become a seasonal reference for later poets to use; Basho suggests we make ‘pipe cleaning’ a reference to the Intercalary 5th Moon because the illustrious non-smoker Kyorai cleaned a kiseru for the very first time during this Intercalary 5th Moon. So, when the next Intercalary 5th Moon comes in thirty years, we will recall the day Kyorai cleaned the kiseru. How ridiculous! but that’s par for the course in this letter.

 

Kyorai was cleaning the pipe for Basho to smoke. Imagine that. Tobacco smokers clean their pipes occasionally, but (as my readers probably know) cannabis leaves a thick sticky resin (yeah! resin) so without regular cleaning, the air passage clogs up and stops the flow of smoke. Bummer.

 

You sent your other present in the wrong season,
so from now on, it too will refer to this season.
Always remember what you have learned here.
This evening why don’t you come visit me?
p.s. In fact, by chance, at this time
last year in Bufu, I forgot my gaiters,
so now shall “gaiters” set the season?

 

“Bufu” is a funny-sounding alternate pronunciation for this location. Gaiters are not vicious reptiles, but rather made out of straw or cloth and worn to protect the lower legs while travelling; their support of the leg is said to make walking easier. Westerners think of gaiters for holding trouser legs in place, but under his robes Basho’s legs are naked. In any case, “gaiters” sounds funny after “Bufu.” If Basho smoked cannabis in the rundown cottage of that “really lazy guy” Kyorai, this helps to explain his bizarre sense of humor.

 

In the following stanza-pair the poets mean rice, but say nothing specifying that grain, so we are free to see the “treasured grass” as cannabis.

 

Seeds start to sprout
for our treasured grass

Giving birth to
love in the world, she
adorns herself

 

The lovely infant rice plants look like ordinary grass with no hint that four months later they will yield the staple food of Asia -- just as the infant cannabis plants show no signs that they will produce buds that connect us to the divine and show us the light. “She” may be the female cannabis plant which adorns itself with large resinous buds, or “Mother Earth in spring putting on green make-up, or any woman who makes herself beautiful before and while giving birth.

 

We watch Basho’s mind go from seeds sprouting to a woman giving birth to the child she loves, then return to Mother Earth giving birth to countless billions of plants. Woman merges with Earth and with Goddess.

Cannabis has been continuously cultivated in China since Neolithic times. Magu, the "Hemp Maiden" (the character ma 麻 for "cannabis" depicts plants drying in a shed) is a legendary Taoist immortal associated with the elixir of life, and a symbolic protector of females in Chinese mythology. Some say Maguism, the worship of the Hemp Maiden as “creatress, progenitress, and sovereign," was the archaic gyno-centric cultural matrix of East Asia.” (see Wikipedia, “Magu: diety).” Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

 

Evening dusk,
going back for the pipe
he left behind

Rice maidens for fun
throw mud at each other

 

A traveler took a break to sit and smoke his pipe; the verse does not say what he was smoking, but when he got up, he left the pipe behind. Down the road a piece, he realized and went back to get it –but evening had fallen so pipe was hard to find. (Sounds like me.)

 

A rice paddy is “a pond of knee-deep sludge, the consistency of a malted milkshake.” Air passages within rice stalks carry oxygen from the leaves to the water-logged roots, so this plant sustains dense populations wherever water is abundant. In June, water from irrigation ditches is let into the paddies already flooded from the summer rains. Traditionally rice was planted by the teenage girls and young women of the village in hope that their fertility would magically transfer to the fields.

 

From the absent-minded single man at leisure, Basho jumps to a merrymaking crew of young women at work in the chocolate milkshake paddy. He records them flinging mud at each other, not to hurt or humiliate, but for the childlike “fun” of the entire group – like young women today at the beach flinging water at each other. He portrays women laughing and having fun by themselves, for themselves -- rather than together with men and for men’s enjoyment. 

 

In this stanza-pair, as in many Basho verses, men enjoy leisure while women work –

but here both genders appear to be stoned.

 

 

basho4humanity@gmail.com

 






<< High on Sake (F-12) (F-14 ) Deer Alive >>


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