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-12


Basho Letters of 1688 – 89



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

For 1688 we have letters to Sampu and Ensui, and for 1689 to Ranran, Ensui, Somu, and Sampu;

the final of these gives an account of Basho on his world-famous journey to the Deep North.

 

Basho left Edo in winter, 1687 and arrived in Iga in time to spend the New Year with his family. He was shown the remains of his imbilical cord, kept as a momento, the “physical remains of Basho’s connection to his mother.”


My native place
over navel cord I weep
end of the year

 

In early spring Basho traveled to Ise to visit the Grand Shrines, and there meet his follower Tokoku who came back with him back to Iga, then traveled together with him for three months. Tokoku parted from Basho in Kyoto, and Basho continued on to Nagoya; here he met up with Etsujin who traveled with him over the Kiso Road through the Japan Alps to Edo where he spent two months in Basho’s hut. Basho passed the winter and early spring in Edo, eager to go on another journey, this time to the Deep North. Basho accompanied by his follower Sora, traveled for five months to Gifu, then continued traveling to Ise, his hometown Iga, and Zeze beside Lake Biwa.

 

Letter 27 to Sampu, mid-March

 

I passed the New Year in good health,
and now am in Yamada town in Ise Province.
On March 5th I went to visit the Ise Shrine,

 

At the Ise Shrine, the center of Sun Goddess worship, Basho wrote this haiku which he sends to Sampu      in the letter; the blossoms here are deeply fragrant plum tree flowers.

 

From which tree’s
blossoms I know not
the fragrance

 

The 25th is my father’s memorial service so I will return to Iga.


(A special ceremony is held for the 33rd year after death.)

 

As it gets warm, I will go see the blossoms at Yoshino.
Tokoku from Owari plans to go with on this journey,
so he has come to Ise, and is with me now.

 

Tokoku -- a wealthy rice dealer in Nagoya who got caught in some shady deal in rice futures and was sent into exile at the tip of Atsumi Peninsula -- joined him in Ise. The convict was able to travel with Basho for three months because he hid his identity under an alias, Mangiku.

 

Are Jokushi, his children, and wife too, alright?
If they are without misfortune, you need not respond.
However, if there is anything to tell me immediately,
a man at the Seki Jizo temple, Kasawara Yaihei
will send your letter special delivery.

 

Why is Basho so concerned with the family of Jokushi, a wealthy samurai from Mino now living in Edo?

This question reappears when we get to Basho’s will at the end of this collection.

 

p.s. Is Ihei applying himself to his work, I worry…


Ihei is one of Basho’s neighbors in Fukagawa. On April 19th Basho and Tokoku headed south to Yoshino to see the cherry blossoms that Yoshino is famous for, then west to Mount Koya, and north to Nara where Basho’s childhood friend Ensui along with the rice merchant Somu walked 18 miles to meet them, and spend more time together. While they were in Nara, they also attended the ground-breaking ceremony for a new hall at Todaiji, the famous temple where the Great Buddha, 50 feet tall, sits on a lotus pedestal 65 feet around. They parted, Basho and Tokoku to the west, and Ensui and Somu east to Iga.

 

Letter 29 to Ensui, May 24th

(Basho in Kyoto, Ensui in Iga)

 

This time meeting you again in Nara, my great hope,
the pleasure of Life cannot be put into words,
the anguish of parting by brush never fully written.
Our reliable servant, Roku, you loaned us,
our heavy baggage on his shoulders,
as we went one league, you went one league
when we passed three leagues, you also three, this I now recall.


Basho does something he will do again and again in letters to Ensui: he mentally links his activities with those of his old friend, transcending the barriers of space between them. Every step I take is one with every step you take, although we walk in different places and directions. We never really part: our spirits remain together.

 

Still in the shadowy twilight,
we arrive at our lonely lodging.
Just about now, you have reached home,
your wife, children, and servants
come out to welcome you,
you enter the bathtub of clean water,
and massage your swollen shins . . .

 

Basho feels he can share Ensui’s experiences across the barriers of space because their separate hearts

have bonded since childhood. Basho’s letters to Ensui contain much poetry, and in this passage he uses certain elements we find often in his linked verse:


1) that special feeling of twilight, evening or morning

2) mention of personal relations (wife, children, servants),

3) welcoming the traveler home

4) physical sensory experience (entering clear hot water)

5) specific activities and body parts (massaging swollen shins).

 

Each of these five elements, as well as a similar spirit, appear in the final paragraph of J.R.R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings: Sam has parted from Frodo, as Ensui has parted from Basho, and returns to his home.

 

Sam turned to Bywater, and so came back up the Hill,as day was ending once more. And he went on, and there was yellow light, and fire within, and the evening meal was ready, and he was expected, and Rose drew him in , and set him in his chair, and put little Elanor on his lap. He drew a deep breath, ‘Well, I’m back,’ he said.


. . . to speak of the ground-breaking ceremony at Todaiji
will be your souvenirs from this journey.

 

In 1672 when a village woman, Ima, was 47, her father was sick. Told that if he ate unagi, eel, he would recover, she tried every means to get some, but none was available in this tiny village. One late night startled awake by the sound of water in a jug, she found eel flopping about. Her father ate these and got well. Ima was officially honored by the Shogun as a ‘filial daughter.’ She is now 64.

 

On May 11th we went to the thatched hut
of Ima in Takenouchi. The water jug
in which the eel appeared is still there.
She served us tea and sake on straw mats.
This guy Mangiku wanted to sell his winter robe
then presented the money to Ima as we left.
What is interesting and funny is indeed transient play,
To see that hidden within Ima made me count my sins.
Mangiku wept for a while and could not settle down.

 

On the first day of the Fourth Moon (in 1688, April 30th) people store away their winter clothing, but Mangiku on the road when this day came, had to carry around a robe he never wore. He managed to sell it to someone and gave the money to the old woman. Ima did not DO anything to make the eel materialize in her jug, however something ‘hidden within’ her enabled her prayer to get through to the kamisama so they responded. Sixteen years later Basho and Mangiku could see that devotion still hidden within her.

 

Next we went to Taima Temple, a splendid place,
however after seeing Ima, the temple was just so so,
and when it started to rain I was happy to see it
quickly in passing. . .

 

Taima Temple is a large and famous temple in Nara, but Basho says that a woman can be more splendid than any temple,

 

We rent a palanquin to Taishi in Osaka.
On May 18th we rode a boat to Amagasaki,
and spent the night in Hyojo.

 

Taishi to the south of Osaka and Amagasaki to the west are 32 miles apart, both on the main island, Honshu, so Basho and Tokoku could have gone on land, but they chose to take a ferry. We see that in Basho’s time, as well as in ours, the Japanese used ferryboats to get around their island nation.

Basho included with his letter this note from “Mangiku” and also the cartoon that follows:

 

Since we left Iga on April 19th: 34 days      we traveled: 318 miles
Within these, by boat: 32 miles    by palanquin: 98 miles    walking: 188 miles
Days we met rain 14
Number of waterfalls 7 (listed)                   Old graves 13 (listed)
Mountain passes 6 (listed)                         Hills 7 (listed)
Mountain peaks 6 (listed)
Besides these, the number of bridges, rivers, nameless mountains,
spill all over my notes.
                                                                                     Mangiku            Basho

 

Tokoku’s charming note well conveys the mountainous, well-watered terrain of Japan. He seems obsessed with counting and recording things – which probably helped him in his business dealings. With his business gone, he goes on cataloguing everything -- until at the end he gives up.

 

This diagram of Mister Mangiku’s snore I present to you. When Tokoku (sorry, “Mangiku”) was in Iga, he stayed in Ensui’s house, so maybe with the help of this diagram, Ensui can recall the tones of his snore. It truly is a “diagram”– a sketch, drawing, or plan which explains a thing by outlining its parts and workings -- however the thing diagrammed is a snore. More Basho nonsense.


Ten bu makes a sun (inch), and ten sun make a shaku (foot), so the snore bulges out to 47 inches, and all that sound comes from a hole just 1.2 inches in diameter. (I love the precision). Then, on the right side, the snore rattles along like a kuruma nagamochi, a huge wooden chest on wheels kept near the door, in case of fire used to get valuables away from the house. In 17th century Japan, however, wheel technology is not so advanced (no rubber, no shock-absorbers, no casters, just wooden wheels on a wooden axle) so the heavily laden chest shakes about a lot as it rolls – which is how the snore ends. It is difficult for me to study this “diagram” without laughing uncontrollably.

 

1689

We begin this year with New Year’s letters to Ranran and to Ensui; then another letter to Ensui in April; and a letter to Sampu in June. In the first letter to Ensui, Basho jumps back and forth from past journey to future journey exploring how time passes. In the second he does more of the same, and provides a fascinating list of what he will carry. The letter to Sampu is the only one in this collection actually written on the journey to the Deep North. A Narrow Path in the Heartlands is world-famous and everywhere represents Basho – however Letter 44 to Sampu in a small way provides a more personal account of Basho on a journey.

Ranran, one of the first in Edo to follow Basho, has been with him since 1674.

Letter 38 to Ranran, February 16

(Basho in Fukagawa, Ranran in Edo)

I am grateful for your letter,

for the barrel of takuan radish your wife sent;

for every favor and the heart attached, thank you.

Ranran made a New Year’s visit to Basho’s hut, but the wind was so noisy they could hardly hear each other, and Ranran returned home.

The other day, after you left, the wind quieted down,

all the more to my regret. When for a while we can speak

our great hopes without passing shall become clear.

9

Letter 39 To Ensui, late February

Since last autumn, thoughts have filled my heart and so I have not written to you. Sometimes I hear from my brother about the presents you have given. Ever and again I long to be with you.

Last autumn on the Kiso road accompanied by a crazy man named Etsujin, our lives in danger at the Hanging Bridge, the mountain where the son “could not be consoled” as he abandoned his aged mother, the sounds of pounding cloth, rice field clappers, voices chasing away deer, all were deeply moving, yet still only thoughts of you emerged in my heart.

“Crazy Man” is a term of affection. Basho takes Ensui on a montage of memories from his Sarashina journey recorded in D-6 LAUGHING ALONG. In the legend of Mount Obasute (“Throw-away Old Woman,” a man following village custom took his old mother to the mountain, but when he returned and saw the moon, he “could not be consoled” and went back to bring her home. Women pounding damp handspun fiber cloth on a block to soften it. Shaking clappers, wooden blocks tied together, hung over rice fields to scare hungry sparrows, is an autumn chore. The farmers shout to drive away deer from raiding the crops before harvest.

10

As the New Year began, the feeling of a journey did not cease

New Year's Day

sun on every field

is beloved

“Field” (ta) means rice field, now at New Years, in early February, a barren expanse of mud and frost with row after row of rice stubble. The Sun (Goddess) is weak and cold, yet contains the promise of better things to come – and so Basho loves her. There is nothing in this verse that ties it to Basho’s time; any person on Earth can see it on any New Year’s Day.

When we reach the 3rd Moon, tired of waiting,

I will travel around the northern provinces

and some time from autumn or winter

come down to Gifu or Nagoya,

so if life becomes not the dew drop,

I shall see you again.

While I can stand, as long as I can go to thee,

the pleasant thoughts we shall share.

Basho did in fact follow this itinerary, north to Iwate, west and south along the North Coast Road to Kanazawa, on to Fukui and Tsuruga, to end the journey in Gifu. From Gifu Basho traveled south to Nagoya and Iga to be with Ensui. “If life becomes not the dew drop” means “if I do not die.”

11

Parting from you in Nara as we did long ago,

the ephemerality of one night in one inn,

tears shed are hard to forget.

What we discussed has not left my mind.

Until that day foam vanished on the water,

in life my heart hurries, so from my journey last year,

I have cast away fish and fish flavor from my mouth.

Apparently in Nara, Basho and Ensui spoke about the Buddha’s prohibition against the eating of animal flesh. According to the Mahayana tradition, the Buddha in his final scripture insisted that Buddhists refrain from eating ALL meat including fish:

“One who eats meat kills the seed of Great Compassion”.

Japan accepted Mahayana Buddhism, but not the prohibition against fish. In the 9th century the Emperor Saga forbade meat consumption except fish and birds, and through the centuries the Japanese (in general) followed this rule rather than the Buddha’s. Along with actual fish, more protein, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids came from octopus, sea slugs, fish eggs, seaweed, and other slimy creatures that Western readers may not consider food -- though I have seen modern Japanese kids eat them with relish – and the same kids enjoy hamburgers. “Until foam vanished on the water” means “until I die” yet also suggests the scene Basho saw last April in Gifu, the famous cormorant fishing on the Nagara River.

The birds dive to catch fish, but an iron ring around the gullet stops the fish from going down and men steal it from the hungry bird’s mouth. (Talk about exploitation!). Basho wrote this haiku

Interesting,

but by and by sad

cormorant fishing

12

We imagine Basho growing up eating fish and sea creatures, often at celebrations. Certainly Basho and Ensui enjoyed these foods together as children and young men. What happened in Basho’s 45th year to cause him to renounce fish? First, in Nara, he and Ensui spoke about the Buddha’s prohibition of meat. Second, in Gifu, he saw life “vanish on the water.”

Throughout the ages countless Asians have been vegetarian because religion/family/society demanded. Mohandas Gandhi speaks of arriving in London after growing up Hindu to discover the writings of an English vegetarian: “From the date of reading this book, I may claim to have become a vegetarian by choice.” Basho, like Gandhi, makes a conscious choice to “cast away” fish from his diet, not only fish in fish form, but also in the flavor added to tsumami, snacks such as crackers. (One of the most popular in Japan today is takoyaki, literally “fried octopus” but actually fried batter with bits of octopus for flavor.) Most Japanese would not consider this 'meat eating,' but Basho says “no” to fish flavored snacks as well.

So, vegans, Basho for the final five years of his life was one.

The rice merchant Somu accompanied Ensui to meet with Basho and Tokoku in Nara in 1688 (see letter 29 to Ensui). Ensui and Somu sent a letter to Basho. Here Basho replies, a month and a half before he leaves on his journey to the Deep North.

13

Letter 41 to Ensui and Somu, April 5

(Basho in Fukagawa, Ensui and Somu in Iga)

Your letter came together with one from my brother.

To read the letter gives me the feeling of being with you,

so last year’s rain at Ichinomiya, I cannot forget.

My belly which eats no fish rustles gently.

When Basho was in Iga, he, Ensui and Somu must have spent some together in the rain at the Ichimiya Shrine in town. Basho here does what in letter 124 he calls “clinging to memories.” Recall in letter 29, he tells Ensui he gave up fish and fish products. He says a vegan belly “rustles” gently like leaves of the tea plant in the spring breeze. Tanaka translates to sappari shita, “refreshing.”

As horsetails and asters open their buds

in this world of not knowing when life will end,

no connection between going and returning

Even in Edo people are unsatisfied by things

so as I know the pain in the heels

of the Priest Noin and Saint Saigyo,

I am obsessed by haste to see

the Moon at Matsushima while still hazy

the cherry blossoms at Shiogama before they fall.

The great city of Edo (now Tokyo) is famous for consumerism.

Noin and Saigyo were two famous traveling poets. By the time Basho will leave on this journey, spring, the season of hazy moon and cherry blossoms will be past, however in the Deep North he hopes to see these phenomena once more this year.

14

My travel goods

Notebook for tanka (when I am hungry

I can trade one for five coins or ten)

brush and ink set rain gear

bowl staff (two items of a beggar)

cypress hat haori jacket

“Five coins” is about 100 yen or one dollar today.

Would you buy a tanka from Basho for a buck? Is there is no market for haiku? Maybe he could get a quarter for one, or five for a dollar.

This mention of tanka Basho wrote and sold to people for a paltry fee suggests that there were of Basho tanka out there in the world that nobody paid attention to because they were bought for so cheap.

Basho and Sora left Edo on , and traveled 300 miles north in the first month into their journey. Here Basho writes from Fukushima to Sampu in Edo

Letter 44 to Sampu, June 13

I sent you a letter from Kurobane on the Nasu plain.

Was it delivered? I have been robust; the moxa before leaving worked.

Before a long journey, cones of moxa were burned on acupuncture points of the feet to make them strong.

15

Also I am eating twice as much as usual. (Is this hyperbole?)

I have no anxiety about coming down from the North. In Nasu amidst the long rains, not once did we meet rain, so fortunate is our journey. (We all imagine omens.)

We left Nasu to visit the Lifekiller Stone a 15 mile detour for some sightseeing.

(discussed in

In this region the mornings and evenings are still cold,

but all the inns we stayed in were good, so no problems.

I am waiting for it soon to get warm:

people in the warmth of Edo would find this strange.

Basho has traveled back and forth between east and west, always at a single latitude. Here for the first time he is far enough north to change the timing of seasons.

My regards to all the folks in Fukagawa.

How is Old Soha doing with his sickness?

I hope he gets better and recovers his heart.

As for me, I have not written many haiku.

Sora is healthy. At every place we stay,

we speak only about you in Edo.

On this day of last month, you came to visit me in Fukagawa.

More than a visit from anyone else, this brought me tears.

16

The Three Thirds of Basho

Basho’s several hundred poems about women children, friendship, love, and compassion are,

Almost unknown both in Japan and in the West

yet may be the most pro-female, child-centered,

and life-affirming works in world literature.

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 throughout the world and preserve for future generations

basho4now@gmail.com

 






<< Basho Letters of 1681 – 87 (G-11) (G-13) Letters of 1690: >>


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