Basho's thoughts on...
• What Children Do: Basho Honors the Young
• 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  >  Space and Time  >  G-03


Mount Fuji

4 Basho haiku, 4 renku, 1 haibun, 1 letter about the ultimate mountain of Japan.

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

Sun hits Her forehead / on peak of Mount Fuji. 日に額をうつ / 富士の 峰 上げ / Hi ni gaku o utsu / fuji no mine age. The Rising Sun has a female face, and She bumps Head on the stony peak.  Ouch!  

 

Basho left his hometown in 1672 to move to Edo (Tokyo). In mid-summer of 1676 he passed by Mount Fuji on his way to Iga, and presented this haiku to his hometown buddies as an expression of their friendship. In the muggy heat any cool breeze is welcome.

 

Wind of Fuji
my souvenir from Edo
upon folding fan

 

Basho opens his fan and waves it at his friend.

 

Snow on Fuji
the dream of Rosei
there is formed

 

A poor man named Rosei at an inn, waiting for dinner to be prepared, fell asleep on a magical pillow and dreamed he was emperor of a fantasy land. After 50 years of glorious rule, he awoke to find dinner ready for him. Like the dream of Rosei, the countless tons of snow on the vast form of Mount Fuji are merely a dream.

 

From a 1691 letter to his childhood friend Ensui

 

Nowadays I am staying in Kyorai’s cottage in Saga,
being at peace and eating bamboo shoots…
Morning and evening, I view Mount Arashi
and wonder “how is Mount Fuji?”

 

With his eyes on the summit of Mount Arashi across the river,  Basho sends his spirit 300 miles to the vastly greater Mount Fuji, linking the two mountains across the barriers of space.

 

Fog and rain
A day of Fuji unseen
rather nice

 

Again passing by Fuji in autumn of 1684, the mountain is hidden in fog and rain, but Basho does what he so often does: he “sees” through the barriers, seeing the mountain in spirit.

 

That night Mount Fuji
with Mount Tray-on-legs

Lit by a torch,
pine shavings burst
into flames

 

Mount Fuji is a single symmetrical cone with no other mountains nearby –except Ashitaga to the south. Fuji is nearly 13,000 feet, and Ashitaga less than a third of that. The two truly seem connected, and separate from all other mountains. Legend says Fuji magically formed in a single night, and Ashitaga must have been created together. Basho sees Fuji as the form of a person sitting on his heels, straight, symmetrical, and dignified, to eat a meal, and Ashitaga as the “tray on legs” where the individual’s meal is arranged on a number of plates.

 

Shinsho notes that a meal tray is wooden so, to make one, the carpenter has to plane wood. Eventually the shavings pile up, so have to be burned. The torch lighting and flames rising from the shavings suggests the volcanic nature of Mount Fuji, the mythology of Tree Blossom Princess that arose from that nature, and the torches for the Fuji-Yoshida fire festival, where hundreds of men carry enormous torches through town, to celebrate that mythology.

 

“Aspire to be like Mt. Fuji, with such a broad and solid foundation that the strongest earthquake cannot move you, so tall that the greatest enterprises of common men seem insignificant from your lofty perspective. With your mind as high as Mt Fuji you can see all things clearly. And you can see all the forces that shape events; not just the things happening near to you.”

 

                                                                                                              Miyamoto Musashi

Sorcerer in Kyoto
may heal my tumor

Base of Fuji
wearing a conical hat
riding a horse

 

The man with the tumor is riding past Mount Fuji to Kyoto (so he has a long way to go) where the well-known sorcerer will wave his hand – like Obi-Wan Kenobi extracting suspicion from the storm trooper’s mind – to remove the tumor. This is at sorcerer does: shift to another reality where his commands are effective.

Basho’s stanza is deliberately ambiguous; the subject can be either me or the mountain. As I ride past the base of the conical mountain with a conical hat on my head, either I bounce up and down from the movement of the horse, or the multimillion ton mountain moves up and down from the movement of my eyes. The point of the verse is to magically, like a sorcerer, transform consciousness to either reality. This notion of shifting realities came to Basho from the Yoda of ancient China, the sage Chuang Tzu - which makes Basho Obi-Wan:

 

“You don’t need to see his identification …
These aren’t the droids you’re looking for”

 

Fuji pilgrim’s
straw backpack becomes
pillow of grass

For a while the Gods
Mother’s soul to keep

 

He climbs the mountain for a spiritual purpose, and travels light, at night resting his head on the straw bag he carries on his back. He may have carried a momento of his mother in the bag to dedicate to the gods, something that represented her hotoke, or Buddha nature, after death – or maybe he carried her spirit in his heart. Either way, he entrusts her soul to the Gods for as long as he stays up here on Mount Fuji. Tasui fulfills Basho’s vision.


Christian children pray:

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep

 

In translation I have deliberately tried to capture the rhythm of this prayer. Both in the prayer and in the renku, sleep is the vehicle to the realm of a higher power which cares for our soul.

 

There are many paths to the peak of Mount Fuji,
but the place they all go is one.
So it is with the paths of love.

 

富士の高嶺に登る道は沢山有りますが、行き着く所は一つであります。即ち愛の道で

 

                                                                              Morihei Ueshiba, 植芝 盛平

 

Water jewels
falling into a dream,
realm of magic

Sun bumps Her forehead
on peak of Mount Fuji

 

The sparkling drops of the waterfall fall from reality into a dream. From this watery vision of magical transformation, Basho shifts to an image of the sun (goddess) rising behind Mount Fuji. The Sun has a female face, and She bumps her forehead on the jagged peak.

 

When the Sun Goddess’ grandson Ninigi came down from Heaven to rule over the Japanese islands, he met a beautiful maiden, Tree Blossom Princess, on the seashore. They married, but she became pregnant after only one night with Ninigi, so he accused her of sleeping around. Incensed at his distrust,

She entered a doorless chamber and set fire to herself

to prove she had been faithful to her pledge,

and so gave birth to Gods-Born-From-Fire

If she had broken her marriage pledge, the flames would consume her and baby—but instead she gave birth to three healthy baby-gods. Because Tree Blossom Princess endured this ordeal without harm, she became the Goddess of Mount Fuji; she keeps the fires in the volcano from bursting out. The Fire Festival at the Shrine in Fuji-Yoshida on the northeast side of the volcano is one of the Three Unique Festivals of Japan, every August 26th and 27th 3-meter tall torches light up the night, and 30 strong men carry the spirit of Tree Blossom Princess in a one-ton mikoshi through the streets, in an appeal to spare the town another year without an eruption.

7

Waves make the misty

Mount Fuji move about

Inviting folks

to the low-tide beach

for pickled squid

The reflection of the vast mountain is seen submerged within a pool, so the mountain moves about with the coming and going of the waves. Basho gives this perception a location, on a beach at low tide where sea creatures lie about waiting to be gathered. But Basho goes further: he adds food as well as humanity to the scene.

He soaks squid in vinegar – like the mountain in the water - to make ika namasu, pickled squid, and invites his friends over to share both the food and the visions of Mount Fuji. Basho: the poet of Humanity, of people being together, enjoying nature and each other, eating favorite foods.

Basho, accompanied by his grandnephew Jirobei, left Edo on June 3 of his final year, 1694, and that night stayed in Odawara. The next morning they climbed to Hakone Pass, famous for its view of Fuji – but now is the rainy season, and Basho is not likely to get a glimpse of the mountain.

Coming into view

this time the splendor

Fuji in June

Basho portrays the moment when the clouds clear away for a moment, giving a view of eternal Fuji, which Basho takes as a benediction, since he will not pass this way again.

 

Homepage: Basho4Humanity.com

 






<< New Years (G-02) (G-04) Water with Movement >>


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...
• What Children Do: Basho Honors the Young
• 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