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-18


Two Letters to Sora:

On a Journey, Summer 1694

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

The humanity in these letters traveling through places and human relations, the amazing array of details, make them masterpieces of letter-writing which should be familiar to anyone who knows Basho.


Basho’s world-famous travel journal, A Narrow Path in the Heartlands, tells the story, with some fictional content, of his journey to the Deep North with Sora in 1689. Five years later, accompanied by his grandnephew Jirobei – and Sora for the first day -- Basho left Edo (Tokyo) on another journey which ended with his death five months later in Osaka.

 

About this 1694 journey Basho wrote neither journal nor haibun – but he did leave us many haiku,

plus long letters full of fascinating word-photographs of humanity; also much of his spoken was recorded for posterity.

 

We begin this article with Basho’s brief letter to Sora with fun postscript written just three days into the journey, followed by the vast scope of Basho’s long, rambling letter to Sora a month later; the entire letter with commentaries will take up a great deal of scrolling by your mouse. Basho just goes on and on. 

And what he says should interest both historians and anthropologists. 

 

   Short Letter to Sora, June 8, 1694

 

Sora went with them 50 miles to Odawara and climbed to the barrier gate at Hakone Pass (elevation 2575 feet). From Hakone Pass, Sora returned to Edo while Basho and Jirobei continued west to Mishima in Suruga province (Shizuoka-ken). They arrived in Shimada the evening of the 7th, and the next day Basho sent this letter to Sora:.

 

Thank you for your weary trek as far as Hakone.
Jirobei has learned a bit, and is doing well,
but by and by, his body gets exhausted, again and again.

 

Basho nowhere tells us his grandnephew’s age. Evidence suggests Jirobei was about 15 years old, able to move about nimbly and quickly, but without much endurance – until pushed by day-after-day of exertion to develop endurance (as in modern middle-school athletic clubs.)

 

Because of rain at Hakone, we had great difficulty
so down from the pass we strapped our bags
to a palanquin, and we rode too.
Eventually we got to Mishima and stayed there,
in Shinmachi at a courier’s lodging called Numazu-ya
owned by a man named Kurobei, a really fine place,
the best I’ve ever stayed in…

 

 

‘Couriers’ are the famous hikyaku (ancestors of today’s efficient package delivery services) who carry letters and parcels with great speed along the Tokaido Road between Edo and Kyoto, They do not use horses, but runners change at each post station an average of six or seven miles apart. They of course have to sleep somewhere. Numazu-ya should be listed in the Lonely Planet Guide to 17th century Japan.

 

My chronic disease has not arisen so I have no doubt
we will arrive safely in Kansai, though I have been
feeling restless and my mental part is tired.

 

Ueda, Hamill, Barnhill, and Reichhold each claim that Basho was sick on the early part of this journey; Hamill is very specific about the symptoms - “chills, fever, and headaches” - he says Basho suffered throughout June and July, although Japanese scholars report no such symptoms at this time. Kon, the authority on Basho letters, tells us Basho was “weakened by old age and his chronic bowel disease” but without symptoms - which is exactly what Basho says. 

 

The scholars who have not read Basho’s letters suggest that he was depressed about being sick

and close to his death, but in his letters Basho seems tired but making do (sounds like me).

 

Please give my regards to everyone there:
Soha, Old Kosai and so forth.
I hope Jutei’s move went well,
though I know you had no part in it,
please give her my best regards.
                                                           Basho

 

As soon as Basho and Jirobei left, as planned,

Jutei and  two daughters moved into Basho’s triplex beside the river.

 

p.s.

Well now, Old Soha still has Sodo’s book.
I asked him to return it quickly.
Would you tell him again?
And please give the same message to Jokyu.

 

Things have not changed very much in 300 years.  People still "forget" to return things borrowed.

 

Long Letter to Sora, July 13, 1694

 

The rest of this article contains the entire text for a single letter plus commentaries and speculations exploring the adjacent letter sections. I have also added three haiku and one stanza-pair Basho wrote in connection with the events in the letter.

 

It is a long, long journey you are going on, a journey from Edo 300 miles west to Zeze beside Lake Biwa, and a journey through the mind of Basho. Here we go:

 

I got your letter of June 8 from Ogawa-san and read it.
From Shimada, I sent you a letter as a reward
for seeing us off to Odawara; has it reached you?
The travel information you gave us the day of your return,
Jirobei and I talked non-stop about it.

 

Jirobei is getting his education on the road, talking non-stop with Japan’s greatest poet.

 

What is going on with this kid though? He is 15 or so. With his father dead, why isn’t he working to support his family of dependents? Also we wonder about Basho: was he, as many Japanese believe, a ninja? – though this would involve gathering information, not killing people or burning down castles. Hiroaki Sato says that rather than Basho, the spy is more likely to have been Sora. If Sora was a spy working for the government, he probably had access to good “travel information.” Maybe this “travel information” was actually instructions for Jirobei to follow. The boy was an apprentice spy, learning the trade from

his granduncle Basho, while also strengthening his body, so he could go back to Edo and work with the spymaster Sora to make a living for his family. (Of course there’s no record of this. What do you expect?)

 

Climbing to Hakone, the rain became intense,
but after about three miles, lessened to a drizzle.
We went to Hatake Village and after taking a rest,
had our luggage carried down to Mishima where we stayed.

 

Basho said his lodgings in Mishima were the best of that sort he ever stayed in. From Mishima they went   46 miles to Shimada on the eastbank of the Oi River, the largest that must be crossed on the road between Edo and Kyoto. There is no bridge, no ferry, and it is illegal to keep any sort of boat at this crossing – because the shogunate does not want an invading force to steal those boats and use them. There is however a river crossing service offering four ways to go: in a covered palanquin carried on the shoulders of four men, on a simple platform carried the same way, on horseback, or carried piggyback by a strong man. Fees vary accordingly.

 

The evening of June 7th, Shimada not yet dark,
I thought to cross the Oi River immediately,
but heard from Magobei that lodgings would be impossible in Kanaya because the entourage of Lord Matsudaira of Awaji was stopping there,
so certainly we should stay with him.

 

An important daimyo from the Matsudaira clan, Tokugawa Ieyasu’s paternal family, along with his entourage of 600-1000 samurai plus servants and others, is on their way to Edo for their biennual “attendance” on the Shogun, and have filled all the inns in Kanaya on the west bank. Narrow Path in the Heartlands is a polished work of literature, while this letter records an actual journey.


 

Because Magobei manages the river crossing service,
he said “somehow I will get you across this river,”
but the rain that night produced the greatest flood of the year,
so we had to spend three nights in Shimada.

 

Magobei is the samurai administrator of the river crossing service –and with the river flooding and no one able to cross either way,he is having major problems, yet still managed to be hospitable to his family’s unexpected guests.  Basho wrote this haiku about his stay in Shimada:


Lettuce while
the leaves are still green
eggplant soup

 

As lettuce leaves turn yellow in summer they lose their flavor. Basho sketches the soup he is served

to show his gratitude for the hospitality of Magobei’s family.  Gratitude is the message hidden in the poem.


Because Magobei knew he would be no good

at linking verses, we just talked about poetry.

 

Magobei is the leader of the Basho circle in Shimada but with all he is going through just now,

he cannot settle his spirit well enough to link verses with his Master.


For some Chinese paper, I went to the doctors,
but even they had not one sheet,
so I wrote my words of gratitude on Japanese paper

 

Because a letter of gratitude from Basho will be kept as a family heirloom by Magobei and his descendants, Basho wants to write it on elegant Chinese paper. Doctors practice Chinese medicine so they should have some Chinese paper – but not here in Shimada.

 

For three days Jirobei rested his legs
and my energy too was nourished,
so in happiness we encountered the water.
I wrote you before that Jirobei got exhausted.
Well, after his three-day rest
he became robust and really makes an effort.
However when returning horses are discounted,
for four or maybe five miles I let him ride.

 

“Thanks, Uncle!” People on one-way journeys rented the horse at one post-station, and left it at another,

so it had to be returned anyway. Another 60 miles down the road:

 

Then, just as we came upon the turnoff to Nagoya,
both his legs and shoulders became strong together,

 

Basho has noticed something very important about children and even teenagers: that they develop. They are not stuck with yesterday’s self. Given a few days of concentrated input, they change. In a few weeks of natural communication with local children, a “foreign” child will learn their language and speak it with their accent. After just ten days of Basho’s Boot Camp (even with a three-day furlough), Jirobei discovered an energy no one knew he had. He changed from being a wimpy 15 year old to a “robust” young man, who can just walk and walk, carrying a backpack, without tiring.  “His legs and shoulders became strong together,” are simple physical words which express whole-body development  coming from integration of the whole brain. The final sentence is very beautiful:

 

His first journey continues to be praiseworthy.

 

Basho is honored to accompany Jirobei on his journey to manhood.

 

They arrive in Nagoya, home of the group of followers that are rebelling from the Basho school,

led by Kakei, the doctor who sent along the horse and servant when Basho and Etsujin travelled

through the Kiso Mountains in 1688. Shirane describes how the Nagoya group were in 1684,

“the primary force in first establishing the Basho style” but from 1691, “they turned theirbacks on Basho”, so now, in 1694, “almost all the Owari/Nagoya group had become estranged from Basho.”

 

One of the purposes for this journey is to patch things up with those Kyoriku called “Basho‘s disowned disciples” and Basho called “those jerks in Nagoya” (Letter 158 to Uko)


We approached Kakei’s house
and stayed there three nights and two days.
Kakei was joyful, and Yasui and Etsujin the same,
or at least they said so. Breakfast, lunch, dinner,
three times a day was their behavior.
Presents came from those who could not visit.
So these flippant people made a fuss over us.

 

Basho is being sarcastic here. These people have all either broken away from Basho, or are about to break away.   Sora knows the thoughts behind Basho’s words.


But what is going on with Etsujin? As part of the Nagoya group, he is expected to follow the leader, Kakei who is senior to Etsujin, although Etsujin is the one who travelled together with Basho for many miles.

 Only Sora travelled more with Basho than did Etsujin. In 1687 Basho and Etsujin went together to Cape Irago to visit Tokoku,and the next autumn they traveled the Kiso Road through the Nagano mountains to Edo where Etsujin stayed for two wintermonths in Basho’s three-room hut. Etsujin then went back to Nagoya where as winter deepened he received Basho’s ode to their friendship:.


The snow we two
watched, has it fallen
this year again

 

Together last winter we watched snow fall. Now, as snow falls again,we are far apart. Have the snowflakes we saw a year ago fallen again this time around? Our friendship is sustained across the barriers of distance by something much greater, the eternal passage and return of the seasons.

 

Can Etsujin give up such a friendship so  easily? The group he associates with (his nakama) and especially Kakei, the senior student (sempai), have rejected Basho. It is difficult for a Japanese to go against nakama and sempai, and Etsujin must struggle not to buckle under.


We went to Etsujin’s house for breakfast,
Summer-radish-and-carrot chowder,
conceived and prepared with one elegance.

 

Now, with Basho in town, Etsujin has him over for breakfast, away from Kakei and the others. What do they say to each other? 

 

Kon actually gives the recipe for this soup, from a book called The Tale of Cooking (Ryori Monogatari) published in 1643. (1643?) Summer radishes are the same plant as winter radishes, picked young when they are dry and bitter tasting. Cut into cubes, add to a carrot-and-miso base along with a lightly salted sea bream, and simmer for a long time to make a chowder – however, for Basho who, according to a 1688 letter to Ensui, gave up eating fish and sea  creatures -- the cook would replace the sea bream with the seaweed kombu.   

 

They took such good care of us that I could only write letters
to the poets in Narumi and Atsuta, but not go visit,
so to Nagoya they came, 
saying everything they could to get me to Narumi,
though all I could do was greet them and see them off.

 

Kakei and his gang made sure that the Narumi people got no time with Basho without Kakei there to supervise – so now we see their agenda behind “breakfast, lunch, dinner, three times a day.” 

 Life goes on in the 17th century. 


The poetry of the seniors in Nagoya seems to dangle.
One named Tanko is so devoted to business
he has stopped poetry altogether,
such are the irresponsible rumors I heard.
The middle group and the young, encouraged by their full bloom,
put forth remarkable spirit in their poetry to produce Lightness.

 

“Seniors” does not mean by age, but rather by years as a follower. 

Since Kakei is the senior follower in Nagoya, his is the poetry that dangles (as we soon see).

Lightness, like cherry blossoms in full bloom, a product of youth, is what Basho wants to see

from his followers.


As repeatedly they promised to invite me this autumn or winter,
reassured for the time being, we set forth to Iga with great pace.

 

Basho has done the best he could to “patch things up” with these folks, and they insist that they still follow him,  so he feels “reassured for the time being.”

 

Basho and the Atsuta/Narumi group are not the only ones who have problems with Kakei:


The one named Rosen cannot abide Kakei at all,
so while we were in Nagoya he stayed silent.
One league to the edge of town,
with Kakei and Etsujin as their shoguns,
all the young people, leaving none behind, saw us off.
While walking, we spoke farewell verses and such:
                                     
Barley bran
before a mochi shop
our parting
                                       Kakei
Ridge of parting
we shall remember these
rice-planting songs
                                        Sanka

 

I really do not know what to say about Kakei’s verse; it sort of goes nowhere. Barley bran is used in making mochi,  so the odor pervades the place where Basho parted from Kakei, but still the verse somehow “dangles.” Kakei’s follower Sanka, comparing their parting to crossing over the ridge which bounds a paddy, trumps his senior.


The other verses I have forgotten.
Etsujin also said some words to the occasion.

 

The Nagoya group did everything they could to convince Basho they were on his side,

but if Basho believed that, he would have remembered the verses they wrote.

 

Then, after we parted from Kakei, there was
Rosen waiting beside the road with one follower.

 

How long did Rosen and his follower stay there waiting? Rosen telling the follower, “Yes, just be patient. Eventually he will come down this road.” (So be thankful you have texting.)

 

They went with us to Saya, and in Saya stayed with us half the day
and that night. We made linked verses, even ten of them,
but without skill, so threw them away.
I preached to them about poetry.

 

Rosen and Basho (at some time, maybe not now) composed:

 

Floating grasses
tied in a bundle,  pillow
firm and steady
Child of a shell diver
breastfeeds on the boat

 

Since Basho and Rosen share one feeling about Kakei, they can enjoy gossiping about what a jerk that guy is.


Rosen actually was born near Iga.  He said every year he visits
the Iga Shrine so around New Year’s he will go there
and so we parted.

 

Rosen says “If you are in Iga for New Years, we can see each other.”

 

Sora was born in Nagano. When he was young his parents died, so his grandmother took him in. When she died,  Sora went to live with his uncle, a priest at a temple in the Nagashima district of Ise. As a young samurai, he served as an official in the Ise government. When he was 32 he retired from his samurai status to go to Edo, study Shinto, join Basho’s group, and accompany him on his travels.


In Nagashima your uncle was away from the temple,
so we visited Kyubei and for dinner requested rice gruel.
As it grew dark your uncle came back
and we stayed at his place.
I heard Fujita-san was ill so did not inquire of him at all.
Anyway, this small town is just rusting away,
and we met no one else, so joyfully we could leave.

 

Basho says nothing at all about visiting shrines or temples; he only writes of interacting with people.



We stayed one night at Hisai and reached Iga on the 20th.
The ones with the same name were overjoyed to see us.
and my old friends Doho, Ensui and Hanzan
delighted to talk with me for days and nights

 

Hisai is where Basho’s older sister went as a bride. When her husband died, she returned to her natal home with two sons including 5-year old Toin (Jirobei's father), but later married another man in Hisai (probably her husband’s younger brother). So in Hisai, Jirobei methis grandmother for the first time. The “ones with the same name” are his brother Hanzaemon andsister Oyoshi and husband adopted by Hanzaemon to inherit the household, Oyoshi’s son Mataemon, and other children. Doho, Ensui, and Hanzan all grew up with Basho in Iga.   Western scholars tell us Basho was so sick he could not enjoy his time in Iga.  Basho says different. 

 

… but the many fleas and mosquitoes in Iga make summer
hard to bear so we have come out here to Zeze.

 

Lake ripples
and the wind’s fragrance
one rhythm

 

Iga lies in a basin surrounded by low mountains which trap the warm sultry air so fleas and mosquitoes flourish.   In Zeze beside Lake Biwa there is always a cool breeze to drive them off.


We have yet to see Kyorai. Joso now lives in Zeze.
And Shiko has extended his sphere of influence all the way
to Ise-Yamada and done such things as build a cottage for me.

 

Shiko, an ambitious young man who joined the Basho school in 1692 and made a fool of himself at Basho’s hut (see Letter 140 to Kyorai), now in 1694 is already taking followers as far away as Ise,  and one  have offered land for a cottage; a visit from Basho will increase Shiko’s credibility as a Poetry Master.


I met him unexpectedly when he came to Zeze
to manage the Kyoto sightseeing for the family
of the Head Priest of the Ise Shrine.
We hung out together for two nights and a day
then he went up to Kyoto.

 

Don't you love the details in this letter?

 

Masahide squealed in delight and gave us dinner,
but tea-picking is such a frenzied time for them
that we spent part of our sojourn at Kyokusui’s.

 

Matsuhide is a tea merchant in Zeze, while the only clamor at  Kyokusui’s samurai mansion

comes from his three children (who we meet in Basho's Letters to Kyokusui.


Soon we will go up to Kyoto and meet Kyorai.
The cottage at Saga has been somewhat renovated
and will be a secluded place to spend the summer.

 

When Basho stayed in Kyorai’s House of Fallen Persimmons for two weeks in 1691, it certainly needed renovation   (See G-8 BASHO IN SAGA).

 

 For the Bon Festival, on Hanzaemon’s estate in Iga,
it is said a grass hut will be built for me, so for Bon
in early September, I again make the crossing to Iga.

 

Two and half months after that, Basho will made another crossing

 

I appreciate the gathering Senpo held:
It’s a wonder he arranged it so soon after I left.
Please tell him of my satisfaction.

 

Moreover, let him know I agree with the new titles
for the two volumes of linked verse -
however I cannot read the handwriting in his letter
so have Ichinojo write it out and send to me.
That will be Ichinojo’s task. What a great surprise.
Congratulations! Pile up the details. That’s all.
                                                                                         Basho

 

A joyful conclusion to a masterpiece of letter-writing.

 

basho4humanity@gmail.com

 






<< Letters of Summer 1693 to Spring 1694 (G-17) (G-19) Letters in the rest of summer, 1694 >>


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