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  >  Letters Year by Year  >  G-11


Basho Letters of 1681 – 87

To his follower Biji, friend Kyorai, and older brother Hanzaemon

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

Basho left his hometown Iga  in 1672, moving to Edo  where he found a municipal job while he composed linked verse with other poets, wrote haiku, and gathered followers. In winter of 1680 Basho moved to a hut across the Sumida River from downtown Edo supplied by his follower, the fish merchant Sampu, thus giving up the world where people work to make a living to be a hippy-poet living off his followers’ generosity. No letters exist from before 1681 when Basho was 37.

 

1681

We represent this year with Basho’s first extant letter, written to his follower Biji, a samurai retainer to a lord in Kai, northwest of Mount Fuji. Makota Ueda says this letter is “one of the oldest remaining documents containing (Basho’s) teachings on (poetry)” however Ueda only translates the final one of Basho’s five points for poetic expression. Because I agree with him on the significance of this letter, I instead give you the entire letter including all of Basho’s five points in English, original Japanese and romaji. These five form a remarkably clear, concise guide to the Basho style which he developed through thirty years, and from 1690 called Lightness.

 

Remember that you can easily skip over the commentaries to read just

 

Basho’s words in this font

 

– or choose to read the commentaries along with the letter itself.

 

                 Letter 1 to Biji, June 20, 1681

 

Thank you for your letter which I have read.
I am happy to know you are living without misfortune.
I too am passing the days without change.

 

Western authors tell us in this era Japanese suffered earthquakes, fires, and oppressive government and social norms. Where?

 

I have read your verses with more than a little admiration for the good ones you have produced, however an old-style of linking is common,      and I find your following stanzas old-fashioned. This is exceedingly true.

 

When Basho says “old-style” he does not mean centuries old, but rather as in the style of poetry a generation old, but still popular in 1681, although still too old for Basho’s taste. I believe that by “old” Basho means “conventional.”

 

First of all, not only the poetry of Edo,                                                         but also of Kyoto and Osaka, is especially old,                                          and everywhere the same.                                                                         Here and there, people are searching for a change
however those known as poetry masters, not only those                          who have been interested in poetry for less than three or four years,       but all of them, are exceedingly old-fashioned,
so their students get lost in the world of poetry.
In Edo I see many poets with such poor taste.
This being the situation,
you should appreciate your far separation from Edo,
and I say this with complete sincerity.
I have corrected three or four of your stanzas.
Here is an outline of how to express in poetry:
1 - When your following stanza completely fits to the previous stanza,    we can say this is the old style or the somewhat old style

 

一句、前句に全体はまる事、古風、中興共可申哉。
Ikku, maeku ni zentei hamaru koto, furyuu,                                         chuuko tomo mousu beku ya

 

In this pair by Kyokusui and Basho, the master illustrates how a following stanza should not only “fit in” with the previous stanza, but also “stand out”:

 

Mixed bathing
in a Suwa hot spring
twilight dim,

Among them a tall
mountain ascetic

 

We begin with a fascinating scene of a hot spring in mountainous northern Japan where men and women bathe together naked - however hidden in the twilight steamy air. Then, in the hot pool, Basho places a “tall mountain ascetic.” These yamabushi practiced disciplines of physical endurance in severe conditions – such as standing in a cold waterfall – as the path to enlightenment. A mountain ascetic would come to a hot spring for self-purification in the scalding water. 

 

Basho said about this stanza-pair:

 

The following stanza fits in with the previous one,
and along with that, it stands out to the eyes.

 

Basho explains that the mountain ascetic “fits in with” the hot pool and evening dimness, while also he “stands out to the eyes.” Other folks relax and slouch in the steaming hot water, but he sits up straight and tall so his muscular chest and shoulders stand out from the hot spring environment and evening darkness. Every philosopher and art critic could elaborate on this synthesis of “fitting in” with “standing out” – yet none of them could provide so fine an example of this synthesis as Basho does with his mountain ascetic in the evening twilight at a remote hot spring.

 

2 -- Without a sense for ordinary words as precious,                                             again you will get mixed up in an old style.

 

俗語の遣やう風流なくて、又古風にまぎれ候事
Zokugo no tsukai you fuuryu nakute,
mata koryu ni magire sourou koto

 

Years later he expresses this idea in more positive terms:

Poetry benefits from the realization of ordinary words

 

俳諧の益は俗語を正す也。
Haikai no eki wa zokugo o tadasu nari

 

This Basho haiku illustrates his mastery of ordinary words

 

Sama zama no                 Many, many
koto omoi-idasu              things come to mind,
sakura kana                    cherry blossoms

 

Basho’s seven words are completely, utterly simple. No complications: seven ordinary words with the most basic grammar possible in Japanese and likewise in English. He says absolutely nothing new about cherry blossoms or memories – instead he ‘sums up and conceals’ a thousand years of poetic expression on these flowers and the memories that pass from one cherry blossom season to the next. The plain and ordinary words are “realized” through the thousand years of associations of Japanese life with cherry blossoms. Ordinary words take on “precious” meanings and feelings.

 

3 -- Do not allow your stanza to be artificial.
       一句細工に仕立て候事、不用そうろう事
         Ikku saiku ni shitate sourou koto, fuyou ni sourou koto

 

Basho compares an artificial verse by Kikaku with his own naturally occurring verse:

 

Koe karete                      Hoarse shriek
saru no ha shiroshi          monkey’s white fangs
mine no tsuki                  moon over the peak

 

Kikaku wrote his verse from imagination, not from any actual experience of monkeys or mountains or the moon. It has nothing to give us; once the shock is over, nothing in the verse can we learn.

 

Shio-dai no                  Salted bream
haguki mo samushi    their gums so cold
uo no tana                   a fish store

 

Kon says “Along a street in the desolation of winter, a few salted bream are lined up on a tray in a fish store. The lips drawn back in death reveal gums frightful in their coldness.” “A fish store” is Basho’s genius. Another poet would have ended the poem with something bold, striking, philosophical, or religious. Basho however just says “A fish store”, with all its daily life associations in smell and sound and sight. Any woman in the temperate zone near the sea can see Basho’s haiku right before her eyes when she goes shopping in winter. Kikaku’s verse is suitable only for people off in some fantasy world where monkeys shriek. It is literary and “old.” Basho’s verse is REAL and Light.

 

4 --  If you rely on the fame of a poet of long ago,  as you did with                       “What? those white clouds,” your verse will be easy to understand,              but all the more old-style.

古人の名ラ取出て何々のしら雲などと云捨てる事、第一古流にて候事
Kojin no na tori-idete nani nani no shira kumo nado to iu suteru koto,     dai-ichi koryuu ni te sourou koto

 

“What, those white clouds” is a phrase from an poem Biji sent to Basho; the teacher responds that this practice make the poem easy to write, and maybe easy to understand, but don’t do it. Instead find your own expression. Challenge the reader as well as yourself to perceive the fresh and new.  (although we note that Basho himself did this many times.)

 

5 -- A stanza may have extra sound-units, three, four, or even 5 or  7,                if the rhythm of the phrase coming out your mouth is natural,                      it is okay – however if even one sound stagnates in your mouth,                  you must scrutinize the expression.

文字あまり、三四字、五七字あまり候而も、句のひびき
能候へばよろしく、一字にても口にとまり候 御吟味何有事。
Moji amari, san yon ji, go nana ji amari sourou shikashite mo,           ku no hibiki yoku souroueba yoroshiku, Ichiji nite mo
kuchi ni tamari, sourou go ginmi arubeku koto

 

At this time, 1681, Basho did write poems with extra sounds, but later on rarely did. So the acceptance of extra sounds was only a passing phase. The important issue in this point is that Basho says that we must speak our verses, and translations, out loud to see if they sound natural coming from the mouth, to insure that the phrases have “resonance” (hibiki) and do not “stagnate” in the mouth -- like water in a stream stuck behind a wad of fallen leaves, old, foul, and heavy -- but rather flow with natural rhythm that resonates in the listener’s ear.


For many years I have enjoyed the natural resonance I hear when I speak: Many, many /things come to mind / cherry blossoms.” Recently I considered changing the middle segment to “things brought to mind” or “thoughts come to mind” because they are, in some ways, more accurate to the Japanese – but when I spoke these phrases out loud, I found that they “stagnate” in my mouth. “Things come to mind” is natural English and resonates.

 

Haruo Shirane says, “During his journey to the Interior in 1689. Basho became aware of this problem, which he referred to as “oldness” (furubi) and “heaviness” (omomi).” Shirane disagrees with scholars who claim that Basho’s “notion” of karumi, or Lightness, first emerged in the final years of his life, in 1693 and 1694; he points to statements that show Basho searching for Lightness as early as 1689.

 

Well. Professor Shirane, what about this letter of 1681? Basho does not use the words “lightness” or “newness” but he clearly and repeatedly rejects “oldness” eight years before his journey to the Interior. Lightness is everywhere in Basho poetry from his first renku stanza in 1665 to his death verse CLEAR CASCADE.

 

1686

In the letter to Biji five years ago, Basho condemned “oldness,” but offered no word for a positive alternative. From the beginning of this year he emphasized atarashimi, “newness.” Makota Ueda tells us of Basho praised a stanza by Sampu at New Year’s for: discovering something fresh, something no one else has noticed before. This spring, Basho conceived the most famous of all haiku:

 

Old Pond
frog jumps in
water-sound

 

This haiku exemplifies “newness” because in traditional Japanese poetry frogs have only one role: croaking, whereas in OLD POND the activity and sound of a frog jumping into water take the mind in a new direction.

This verse made such a splash in the world of Basho’s followers that they got together to have a contest of poems on frogs. Kyorai – yet to meet Basho but aware of his teachings from Kikaku when he visited Kyoto --– submitted a verse (given below) to the contest where it won Basho’s favor. The teacher replied with the following:

 

                                    Letter 14 To Kyorai, May 2


Isshou is going up to Kyoto to visit his old mother,                                        so I entrust this letter to him
Are you living without misfortune? I wish to know.
Over here, Wada-san, Kikaku, and this Wild Basho,
are in good health and fortune.

 


Isshou from Kyoto moved to Edo where he met Basho. Wada-san was a Basho follower in Edo. Kikaku introduced Kyorai to Basho at a distance. “Wild Basho” is a name Basho chose for himself.

 

Now and then your letters have arrived,
then yesterday another came as a gift.
I have the deepest appreciation for your polite concern.
Time after time, I think to send you a letter,
and such is my intention, but I suspect that Bunsoku
already wrote to you in detail the situation here,
and there is no need for me to improve on this,
so thinking this and that, I put off writing to you,
I am sorry, you must think my sincerity lacking.
Sometimes I visit your excellent verses,
and though separated by a thousand leagues,
as my heart passes through them,
our hearts become completely one,
with no room between for a strand of hair.

 

ご秀作をたびたびうかがい、千里を隔てていいても
心が通るときは お互いの心が 完全にいつになって
髪の毛一本入る 余地もなく

 

Go-shuusaku o tabitabi ukagai, senri o hedatete ite mo                          kokoro ga tooru toki wa o-tagai no kokoro ga
kanzen ni itsu ni natte kami no ke ippon iru yochi mo naku

 

Only recently have I come to hear with clarity
the heart in your verses. My followers here in Edo,
especially Bunrin and Rika, greatly enjoy them.
As for the verse you recently made about a frog,

 

Rice field ridge
where one frog for a while
stops croaking

 

I thought we had said all there is to say about frogs,.
but you searched deeply for a new and unusual approach,
which surprised many readers.

 

In conventional haiku many frogs croak, but Kyorai separates one frog from the rest who “stops croaking” in contrast to the multitude who go on and on. OLD POND portrays one tiny bit of activity and sound in the midst of the ancient silence of the pond. Kyorai portrays one moment of silence in the midst of countless croaks.

 

This autumn or winter, or maybe late summer,
I will come up to Kyoto, and in your cottage in Saga,
I promise we can enjoy intimate conversation to our heart’s content,       but it will be best if you do not tell anyone about me being there.

 

This journey never occurred, however in 1687 Kyorai came to Edo to join Basho’s circle, and in winter Basho did travel to Kyoto.

 

  Basho's Family

Basho’s brother Hanzaemon was six or seven years older, then came a sister, then Basho, and three more sisters. Their father died in 1656 and 18 or 19 year old Hanzaemon became head of the Matsuo household. The older sister married and went to live with her husband and had two sons. In 1665, when the younger, Toin, was about five, her husband died, and she returned to her native home with her boys. Toin thus grew up in Basho’s house, like a 17-year-younger brother. Little is known of the second and third sisters, however the families they married into are recorded – so we do know for certain that all six children grew up together and lived to adulthood.

 

Uncle Basho, aged 28, left town in 1672, but four years later returned to escort his 15 year old nephew to Edo where for 17 years there is no record of him. Toin never returned to Iga or saw his mother again. Toin’s older brother stayed in Iga; since Hanzaemon and his wife had no children, they planned to adopt him to inherit the household, however he died in 1680 – so Basho’s older sister lost both her sons. Their mother died in 1683. Only the name of the fourth sister, Oyoshi, is known to us, and we know that she and her husband were adopted by Hanzaemon to inherit the household.

 

Letter 22 to Hanzaemon abounds with mysteries. It is dated with the month, but not the year. It is a reply to Hanzaemon who must have mentioned “those guys” in his letter. The first word, karera, is the plural “them” – although Tanaka says it could be singular, and means Basho’s nephew Toin. Other scholars say it is plural, and means Toin and/or Ihei and/or a fellow named Kahei: all of these are men from Iga now living in Edo, all of them managing to survive without doing anything significant. In a few other letters, Basho expresses concern for Toin and Ihei, wondering if they are doing their jobs.

 

              Letter 22 to Hanzaemon, undated,  between 1685 and 1688


As for those guys, they are of no concern to me                                          and I can do nothing for them, however one,                                                 I am most grateful to older sister’s kindness, and two,                          cannot forget that heart of “Great Compassion and Sadness”

 

かれらが事までは拙者などとんぢゃくいたすはづに而も 無レ御座候へ共、                        一はあねの御恩難レ有、二、大慈大悲の御心わすれがたく、

 

Karera ga koto made wa sessha nado tonchaku itasuwazu                        nite mo gozanaku soroetomo, hitotsu wa ane no go-on arigataku,              futatsu, daiji daihi no mi-kokoro wasuregaku

 

Basho begins with “those guys” but has nothing good to say about them – then he switches to the women and praises their constant kindness and service to family.. He specifies the older sister, whose kindness has made him obliged. Then he speaks of daiji daihi大慈大悲, Great Compassion, Great Sadness,” a term associated with the Goddess of Mercy, Kannon. All scholars agree that he means the heart of their mother who died in 1683. By not specifying the woman, Basho suggests that his mother was the embodiment of Kannon.

 

Although in every way I have squeezed my heart,
It is difficult for those not suitable to become organized.
For more than 40 years, I have lived by sleeping, as all know,                    so any advice from me to organize would bring no order,
and moreover be called impudence.
If you can forgive me, I will be grateful
That’s all.

 

色々心を砕候へ共、
身不相応之事難レ調候。
其身四十年余寝てくらしたる段、
各々様能御存知に而御座候へば、
兎も角も片付様之相談ならでは調不レ申、
さてさて慮外計申上候。御免可レ忝候。以上

 

Iro iro kokoro o kudaki sōrōe domo,
mi fusō no totoe-gataku sōrō.
Sonomi yonjuunen amari, nete-kurashitaru dan,
Ono ono sama yoku gozonji nite gozasōrō ba,
tomokaku mo katazuku yō no sodan narade wa
totonoi mōsazu, sate sate ryogai bakari mōshi age sōrō.                          Gomen katajikenakaru beku sōrō. Ijō.

 

(Sōrō is the equivalent of the modern verb ending –imasu used in letters; so gozasōrō is in modern Japanese gozaimasu.) Note that none of the personal pronouns in this translation are given in the Japanese – so in the original you are always guessing who did what. I have four sets of commentaries to this letter by four different scholars. Some read these sentences with entirely different subjects for the verbs; for instances, some have “those persons” being the ones who “live by sleeping” – however Basho became age 40 in 1684, so the sentence makes sense with him as subject.


I find it most interesting how in this brief letter Basho uses the character 調  totonoeru twice, and the combination 片付, katazuku, once; both in modern Japanese as well mean to put into order or organize. From this letter, I believe we can draw a picture of Japanese society: “order” is the great virtue everyone seeks (as freedom is to Americans). There are two types of men: the winners who get organized and do significant things and make lots of money, and the losers who prefer to live in disorganized leisure and never really do anything. Basho, because he is old (i.e. past forty), is ‘supposed’ to help “those guys” (who may be cousins to some degree) but cannot since he is not so successful himself, so he apologizes to his brother. Meanwhile, typical Japanese women always, always work with kindness to organize and make things orderly, to assist the winners and console the losers, but no one – except Basho – pays any attention to them.

 

Basho “lived by sleeping” but his attention to women and caring for women, seen in hundreds of renku, dozens of haiku, and dozens of letters, is unique in world literature. The B-series of Basho4Humanity, Praise for Women, is the summation of this lifelong attention to the female.






<< Transcending Space, Time, and Life (G-10) (G-12) Basho Letters of 1688 – 89 >>


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