Basho's thoughts on...
• Introduction to this site
• The Human Story: Basho
• Praise for Women
• Love and Sex in Basho
• Children and Teens
• Humanity and Friendship
• On Translating Basho
• Basho Himself
• Renku, Haiku, and Tanka
• The Physical Body
• Food, Drink, and Fire
• Animals in Basho
• Space and Time for Basho
• Basho Letters Year by Year
• Bilingual Basho 日本語も
• 芭蕉について日本語の論文
• 370 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 women,
children, and teenagers

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 his
"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 Prose


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  >  Basho Letters Year by Year  >  G-15


Letters of 1692

Five Journeys through Basho’s Mind

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

Basho Letters to Kyokusui, Kyorai, Chigetsu, and Ensui, including the full text of the longest letter he wrote, on a scroll 3.46 meters (more than 11 feet) long

 

In the winter of 1691 Basho returned to Edo from his two year sojourn in the Kansai area, and along with his cousin Torin stayed at a rental house in a “noisy” part of Edo. In summer, his followers built him a new hut in Fukagawa, near where the hut he lived in before his journey to the Deep North, across the river from the City. In Edo he was disturbed to see the popularity of tentori poetry, a form of gambling in which people bet on which poem would win the judge’s favor. Poets wrote poems in competition with each other: and poetry masters grading them with points. For most people this was merely entertainment, however, as with all forms of gambling in any society, some folks went crazy over it. Because the poets competed to win, they sought to wow the judges with sensationalism, violence, tragedy, and melodrama. Basho was not impressed, not at all.

 

Letter 130 to Kyokusui, April 4, 1692
(Basho in Edo, Kyokusui at home in Zeze)

 

In your letters you have not written me
about Takesuke and the others.
He must be getting big and everyday his mischief extreme.

 

Basho recognizes that Takesuke in faraway Zeze is well into his “terrible twos” -- “No!” “No!” -- and he wants to know more. Kyokusui is the sort of guy who will be pleased that his son’s mischief is extreme -- “mischief” shows intelligence and individuality. Basho’s observations of Takesuke and appreciation for Kyokusui’s feeling for his son, may be firsts in world anthropology. He portrays the infant’s humanity, while affirming the hopes of the father for his son and heir: how cool is that?

 

I am glad you had your servant repair the thatch
on the upper roof of the Hut of Unreal Dwelling.
Only on that mountain can one get some distance
from the common world.
Occasionally I remember how difficult it was
to forget sleeping and waking in that hut.
Once more while I live I wish to see
daybreak in light snow on that mountain.

 

On the pathways of this world, by and large, are three types of poet:
One, day and night, exhausting themselves to win points, fighting to compete with others, wandering about  without looking at the path;      they may be called the confused in poetry - yet they fill the bellies of the marker’s wife and kids and enliven the money box of the shopkeeper,          so they are better than evildoers.

 

Then, there are those who even when wealthy,                                         
 do not console themselves by being conspicuous,                                       and do not say bad things about people;
day or night, composing a sequence or two to gain points,                             they win without boasting, lose without getting angry.
“Hey, let’s make a sequence” and during the five minutes                           of an incense stick they spin their schemes. Soon as they’re done,         they get a kick out of points they gained -- like a young boy playing cards -- however they prepare food, drink till sick of it, help the poor,              and fatten the poetry markers, so they too are part of the edifice of poetry.
Finally are those who effort with intention, while soothing their emotions,  needing not to criticize others, they are a vessel containing the true path.
They search for the faraway bones of Teika,
trace with their fingers the muscles of Saigyo,
wash and rinse out the intestines of Po Chu’i
and enter the one square inch of Tu Fu’s heart,

 

はるかに定価の骨をさぐり 西行の筋をたどる
楽天が腸をあらい 杜子が方寸に入る

 

Haruka ni Teika no kou o saguri Saigyo no suji o tadoru
Rakuten ga harawata o arai Toshi ga housun ni iru

 

A musician plays a “riff” to stand out, to make a brief but strong impression on the listeners. Basho’s riff has four phrases, each one focusing on a famous poet, a body image, and an active stand-out verb to and resonate in the mind; each phrase suggests the poet exploring deep down under the surface.

 

In all the cities and provinces, such poets cannot be counted on ten fingers. So you may become one of these ten, restrain yourself with moderation and dedicate to your discipline.

 

Letter 136 to Ensui, April 28

(Basho in Edo, Ensui in Iga)

 

So you are without misfortune
and how is your whole family?
The pain you describe must be unsettling.
Though my disease is said to be “chronic”
the New Year has passed to Third Moon’s end.
Blossoms in futility fall and are no more,
but viewing them in this government place
where the rich and famous are noisy and insulting
has no appeal to my heart, so I am firm
about not going out to those blossoms.

 

The “government place” is Edo, the Shogun‘s capital, and where there is government also will be wealthy, powerful, and obnoxious men. Basho rejects that testosterone-charged scene in the Capital to return to Iga and flow down the stream of his hometown memories. The next nine lines are the finest stream-of-consciousness montage I have found in Basho’s letters.

 

Within the wireweed a wild cherry tree
on a ridge beside vegetable fields;
a thin hemp rope for laundry attached,
thatch at the eaves starting to collapse;
Scallions in vinegar-miso dressing,
boiled horsetails dipped in soy sauce,
these are what I most remember;
Kyoya’s serious face searching for a verse,
Doho cracking jokes, here my yearning begins.

 

We pass through a gate in a fence covered with the noxious climber wireweed on our way to an old favorite cherry tree in full bloom. Basho then floats random memories of the place which Ensui certainly will recall since he was there that day too. Attached to the tree a thin yet strong rope of hemp fibers holds nothing. The other end of the rope is tied to a dilapidated old house; the thatch at the center of the roof congeals into a solid water-proof mass, but around the edges can collapse.


Rich, famous, and self-important people never come to places like this, nor do they enjoy country-style vegetable dishes. Scallions are green onions with long stem and almost bulbless root. Horsetails, tsukushi, are a spring plant with a top that looks like a round brush. And yes, taste does leave strong memories. In every letter to Ensui, Basho links his mind with Ensui’s through memories they share.

 

The camera moves to the humanity eating these foods in this rustic place: two old friends at the party, one struggling to think of a serious poem, the other having lots of fun. Kyoya is a merchant in Iga. Hattori Doho, the leader of the Basho circle in Iga, is an Instructor in the martial art of the Spear (so you don’t want to mess with him), and the head of a family related to the master ninja Hattori Hanzo -- but he too seems like a fun guy. Through a flow of images -- natural surroundings, specific details about the place, favorite foods, and old friends -- Basho encapsulates his and Ensui’s experience of their hometown.


Letter 139 to Chigetsu, June 21, 1692

(Basho in Edo, Chigetsu in Zeze)

 

For one year a dream has been like reality.
On each of us old age presses.
The day may not be as far as today or tomorrow.

 

Basho means “The time since we parted has been either been reality or a dream, I cannot tell which.        We are both close to death, and that too can be either dream or reality.”

 

The summer heat at the Gichuji Cottage
is one sort of the memories that arises

(thanks to you and your group in Zeze).

Here where everything is rough and approximate
everything is disabled,
so unable to forget the extent of my obligation
I feel only longing to be with you…
…however this year with my legs bound in Edo
when again to be in your eyes cannot be determined.

 

“Rough and approximate” (omaka naru) is his current state, staying in someone‘s house in downtown Edo without a place of his own. Since he now feels that way, Basho feels an on (obligation) to the Zeze people for giving him such a peaceful place to stay last year. Natsukashi means “to long or yearn for.” There is nothing sexual in this; it is simply the warmth in Basho‘s heart.

 

Letter 140 to Kyorai June 20, 1692

(Basho in Edo, Kyorai in Kyoto)

 

This is the longest of Basho’s extant letters; the original scroll is a full 3.46 meters (11 feet 4 inches) long. Kon says, “The length of the letter suggests the depth of feeling of love, belief, and trust Basho felt for Kyorai.” On the next 11 pages is the entire letter plus a short follow-up to Kyorai three months later. Although the people mentioned are unknown to us and have been dead for 300 years, still we can appreciate their humanity through Basho’s words.


Recently two letters arrived from you. Lord Naiki came to Edo
and delivered one to Kikaku’s, but since he did not know
where I am staying,we did not meet.
So I can spend my time here slowly,
I have no intention of seeing people.

 

Have you had any misfortunes
or anything unusual in your brother’s family?
There have been no changes in my situation.
For a while you have heard nothing from me.
While in heart I think to write a letter every day, distracted by people who come by, I keep on putting it off. I long to be with you、
as in the poem by Teika which expresses my true feeling:
"The person not here is the one I love"

In your first letter, you told me in detail
the situation with Fumikuni.

 

The samurai Fumikuni served in the police force for the Sento 1imperial Palace where the retired Emporor lives, but became so involved with writing poetry and hanging out with poets of the Basho circle that he was charged with negligence of duty. Fumikuni suffered much anxiety over this.

 

Such problems are common among samurai who are employed.
Naturally because he is a samurai, he is supposed to resolve it
without anxiety, but since your second letter says nothing about this,
I guess it was somehow handled.

 

Last year, Fumkmuni and those he invited published
“Three Things for New Years.” Fumikiri got all excited
and was hated by the gossips. So it goes in this world.
In any case, Fumikuni should be familiar with this sort of thing;
as much as possible have him avoid association with other poets、
He should pay no attention to criticism from those around him,
and enduring with sincerity, follow the discipline of poetry.

 

I stayed at his house for a long time, and brought him much difficulty.
When this matter has been settled, be sure he does not compete with others; It would be better for him to suppress himself. To lose in competition with others and thereby lose oneself does no one any good. However everyday people do this. Please send me news of recent developments.

 

As for Dansui, when he comes to your house, you should entertain him properly. He certainly seems to be a vulgar person of little talent.
When Kaga Kuko came up to Kyoto, he wanted to meet you quickly.
I received from you the renku sequence you wrote with him.
There is nothing wrong in it. Given the skill of Kuko, this is good enough.
I like your stanza about the pheasant clucking.

When Shado came to Kyoto, at Koshun’s house, you completed a sequence of linked verse which I have looked over. That guy Shado is very skillful. Please tell me as much as you know about him.
Your letters convey the feeling of conversation, your kindness,                    a small token of your appreciation --
for me, no less than the pleasure of growing old.

 

As for the condition of poetry here in Edo:
among the samurai mansions in Yashiki-cho,
in the tenement houses on back roads,
at the back doors of houses on main roads,
in the guardsman’s huts, and toward the Kannon temple,
poetry-gambling is all the rage.

 

Basho uses ordinary physical geographic and personal references to make an impression;

that is his art.

 

Although they find joy in this practice
it merely sinks into shame and depravity.
With no thought of Newness or Lightness,
their poems strike against our ears, artificially prepared
as in a notebook with crucified corpses and severed heads
scattered round and round the words,
old-fashioned and heavy-handed,
I cannot stand to hear one bit of them.

 

Basho in his poetry simply tells it the way it is in ordinary life, searching for poetry in everyday sensations and feeling, lightly and gently: as he put it, "As looking into a shallow stream over sand."

 

In these circumstances, I must keep my thoughts folded up in my chest.
If I made a public proclamation of my aims for poetry,
those who follow me would gather to listen,
but it would be bad for everyone and no benefit to world,
so I close my eyes to the fad of poetry gambling.

 

If Basho said aloud what he thought about such heaviness and poetry competitions, arguments would break out among those who agree and those who don’t – and the possibility of resolving those arguments is nil – so it better to keep silent.

 

Among my followers, Kikaku has not lost the true intention of poetry.
He hates the popular verses,
and this year has made no useless haiku or renku.
He has exhausted himself in kindness to me.
Since before he has acquired years and judgement of ten thousand things; he is a joy to me. Ransetsu is also a sincere and obedient man,
and unchanging from before, gives his all to support me.

 

Haruo Shirane in Traces of Dreams, says, “Upon his return to Edo, Basho avoided Kikaku’s urban group, which he found involved with tentori, point-garnering haikai, and worked exclusively with Sampu’s group who remained “amateurs” and rejected the commercialization of tentori.  Makoto Ueda, in “Basho and his Interpreters,” agrees that “It made (Basho) especially sad to see some of his former students, such as Kikaku and Ransetsu, joining the popular trend and working as contest judges,” These scholars seems to be unaware of Lertter 140 to Kyorai.


The place I am staying is as I have told you.
It is called Tachibana-cho, one corner of Hama-cho,
a new area confiscated from the Lord of Echizen;
on the outskirts of Edo, not far from the center.

 

It is an empty house where someone lived before, so the furniture and appliances
are set up for long-lasting comfort in living.
December and January being a season when walls could not be plastered,

(so it was very cold)

as the New Year began I thought of moving to a small hut somewhere,    but until then had to stay in this temporary residence.
People do not know what to think about me living near the center of Edo; such a place within the eyes of the poetry world is strange and somewhat vulgar. But, indeed, until now I had to stay here as is.
Fortunately it is a good place for Torin to find new followers,
so we have stayed for a long time in this noisy place.

As the hot season came upon us, we were gloomy, and Sampu and Jokushi suspecting I might stroll away somewhere else, along with other Fukagawa people such as Kifu and Rika taking an interest, in May        started building grass hut for me, and yesterday they completed it.
In a few days I will move in. That will leave Torin in this rental house. There is nothing I can do about this, but he has fallen into the muddy swamp. It is pitiful to see him end up in the popular craze of poetry gambling. He is a person I have gone to much trouble for, and Kikaku and all my followers without exception have cared for him. So long as he remains here where I was, he can accumulate practice in poetry.

 

While seen from my eyes he is pathetic, he himself is joyfully fulfilling    his hopes. They announced their anthology will be done this summer or autumn. He is a person I have known since childhood, and not foolish,   but a long time had passed since we parted, and I wondered what sort of character he had become. In fact he is a superb guy who helps me with my medical treatment and never refuses to make breakfast or dinner.
For that reason Kikaku is friendly, and naturally Sampu and Ransetsu praise his character. So while I have left him, I have no worries.

 

Shiko went to the Deep Northern early in March, and has not returned. That guy is good for nothing. Starting with Kikaku, all my followers hate him, and that’s all there is to it. When he’s drunk, he makes a fool of himself and dances to the Tune for Throwing Things. At my hut he cannot contain himself. I am sure that when he returns he will go to Kyoto and visit you, so you should make up your mind what to do, which is why I am telling you this secret tale. Also communicate this matter in secret to Fumikuni, but do not let anyone else know.

Basho circle gossip.

 

Please write to me quickly what happened with Fumikuni. And show this letter to him. Also let Yado-san know that Sanno-san invited me to meet with him, but as usual problems came up and we have yet to get together.

p.s.       At year’s end, I thought of going to Kyoto but now that Sampu        has built a house for me, this year in Edo I will enjoy watching moon         and snow.

 

Letter 143 to Kyorai, October 17, 1692

(four months after the above;

 

Shado is staying in my grass hut. He says
“Kyorai’s way of making a verse is progress,”
Also he enjoys seeing your verses in reality.
Fumikuni seems to be in complete agreement
with my new style of poetry.
Whether it was you who threaded the needle
or moved the clock, I am uncertain.
I expect him by his own power to open his eyes.
If you encourage him as much as possible,
his progress will be substantial.

 

Near the end of 1692, Basho’s nephew Toin (the son of the sister born between Hanzaemon and Basho, who seems to be a fugitive from the law in Iga, hiding out in the metropolis. not the Torin of the above letter) came down with “consumption” (pulmonary tuberculosis). So the three children would not be infected, Basho brought him into his house. In the following letter, Basho in Fukagawa writes to his older brother Hanzaemon in Iga. 

Letter 147 to Hanzaemon, January 3, 1693

 

I wrote you a letter five days ago but put it aside,
with our Lord’s estate so far away, it got stuck here.
But then Chubei, one of the inner circle of retainers, came by
so I continued the letter and rewrote it.

 

A section of the letter is missing; apparently it was destroyed by Hanzaemon. The letter contained some information that Hanzaemon found dangerous, probably the name Toin. If the Shogun, even a future Shogun, learned that Basho harbored the fugitive – who well could be a ninja – so close to Edo castle, he would hold the Lord of Iga responsible for this. The Lord of Iga would then hold the Matsuo household responsible. Hanzaemon knew he could keep the letter secret as long as he was alive, but did not want his descendants to worry about it. Basho is the irresponsible younger brother, while Hanzaemon always keeps the future of the household in his mind.

 

Remember in letter 22, a decade ago, Basho referred to Toin as “him.” In his haste to write this letter, Basho seems to have forgotten that Japan was, as Donald Ritchie termed it, ‘a police state’. His older brother eliminates his carelessness.

 

If this goes on, it will be all over;
more and more distressful it becomes.
Maybe you can guess the hardship.
It seems like misery is all there is.
For now I will send no word to Hisai.
To inform would cause worry and benefit no one.
No matter what happens, I am in no hurry to tell her.
Please understand that I do not send you
a letter every time (his condition changes).
Please read the above as written to Oyoshi.

 

In addition to dealing with Toin’s suffering, Basho has to make the difficult decision whether or not to inform his sister who, has not seen or heard from her son in 17 years. He decides it better to let her go on with her present life. unaware of Toin’s disease and Oyoshi, however, needs to know what is going on because she and her husband will inherit the Matsuo household; apparently she is consulted on matters important to the family.

 

basho4now@gmail.com

 






<< Letters of 1691 (G-14) (G-16) Letters of Spring of 1693 >>


The Three Thirds of Basho

 

 

I plead for your help in finding a person or group to take over my 3000 pages of Basho material, to edit and improve the presentation, to receive all royalties from sales, to spread Basho’s wisdom worldwide and preserve for future generations.

 

basho4humanity@gmail.com
Basho's thoughts on...
• Introduction to this site
• The Human Story: Basho
• Praise for Women
• Love and Sex in Basho
• Children and Teens
• Humanity and Friendship
• On Translating Basho
• Basho Himself
• Renku, Haiku, and Tanka
• The Physical Body
• Food, Drink, and Fire
• Animals in Basho
• Space and Time for Basho
• Basho Letters Year by Year
• Bilingual Basho 日本語も
• 芭蕉について日本語の論文
• 370 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 women,
children, and teenagers

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 his
"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 Prose


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