Basho's thoughts on...
• Women in Basho
• 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
• 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  >  Basho Renku, 芭蕉連句  >  K-10


Basho Renku Section 10

Summer 1694 to early winter death with commentaries and 日本語の原文

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

Basho’s final renku, 8 undated pairs he composed by himself, 4 authorship-doubtful renku, and 2 pairs I found in another book.Volume 10 has renku from summer and autumn of 1694,  undated stanza-pairs Basho composed by himself,  a few authorship-doubtful renku, and two renku pairs I found in another book. 

 

                            -----------------------------------------

 

Father and son-in-law
greeting to make-up --
Castle servant
back in her home town
close to tears
Things from lacquered box            10: 21
taken out and put back

 

むこと舅の / なおる挨拶
御局の / 里下りして / 涙ぐみ
ぬったはこより / 物のだし入れ

 

Muko to shuuto no / naoru aisatsu
o-tsubone no / sato kudari shite / namida gumi
nutta hako yori / mono no dashi ire

 

The husband was adopted into wife’s family; for some time now he has had problems with his father-in-law, and they have not been very cordial to each other. This morning they greet each other with words that begin to repair their relationship. With her sister and husband taking over the household, a second daughter has gone to the provincial castle to serve in a daimyo’s household. On her day off she returns to her native home where her joy at seeing her father and brother-in-law starting to get along brings tears to her eyes. From the fancy lacquered box, she takes out things that remind her of her mother, her sister and husband, and their kids, looks at them, and returns them to the box. (Nowadays these would be photographs.)

 

                        ------------------------------

 

Village embraced
by vast pine mountain
in the dawn light
All the folks I meet      10: 28
have the smell of fish

 

抱き込んで / 松山広き /有明に
会う人ごとに /魚くさきなり

 

Dakikonde / matsu yama hiroki  / ariake ni
Au hito goto ni / sakana kusaki nari

 

The huge mountain “embraces” an inlet of the sea providing a safe harbor for a fishing village; as dawn comes, the villagers go about their work catching, gathering, and drying products from the sea.

“Embraced” suggests intimacy, so Basho follows with body odor.

 

                        ---------------------------------

 

 

From back door to village
shortcut through the woods
Enough to eat,         10: 60
father and son-in-law talk
of helping others

 

藪から村へ / ぬけるうら道
食うかね / 婿も舅も / 口きいて

 

Yabu kara mura e / nukeru ura michi
Kuukanenu / muko mo shuuto mo / kuchgi kiite

 

Through the small forest behind the house, this family has direct access to the village center. They grow enough rice and vegetables that sustenance is no problem, so the father and wife’s husband adopted into this household speak to each other searching for how to use their power within the village to help neighbors who are not doing well. Japanese anthropologists may correct this translation or further explain the Japanese human experience here.

 

                           ----------------------------------------------

 

 

Facing into the wind
wind blown face
Plump and healthy                        10: 76
the young son sits
on the lap

 

真向きの風に / 顔をふかるる
よう肥えた / むすこのすわる / ひざの上

 

Ma-muki no kaze ni / kao o fukaruru
You koeta / musuko no suwaru / hiza no ue

 

This man is no hermit or wimp; he encounters the world till his face is ruddy with health and energy. Basho goes back in time to this one as a baby on mother’s lap. As in a advertisement for baby food, we are sure this male baby gets the best. His sisters may not fare so well.

 

                      ------------------------------

 

From the marsh rising and
descending white heron --
Incessantly
falling mixture of
sleet and hail --
Wiping palms of hands                        10: 88
things made with paste

 

起きると沢に / 下りるしらさぎ
降りまじる / あられみぞれの / 一しきり
手のひらふいて / 糊ざいくする

 

Okiru to sawa ni / oriru shirasagi
Orimajiru / arare mizore no / hito shikiri
Te no hira fuite / nori zaiku suru

 

The three poets explore the motion and activity of white. Shiko begins with alive, flying, squawking white bird. Bokusetsu follows with inanimate, freezing, wet, falling white. Do you see the similarity? Also notice that neither Shiko nor Bokusetsu said anything about humanity.

 

Basho changes the focus to people.  Adults in traditional Japanese culture used paste (made from the starch in wheat or rice flour) to attach paper to the wooden frames for shoji doors or screens, however we can also see this as a scene of small children exploring the use of moist, creamy, sticky paste to hold paper together. This is delicate work with the hands, so the palms must not have an accumulation of used paste on them.

 

                                ---------------------------------

 

Socks taken off to dry
air shimmers from wall
New Years Day                        10: 92
our little buggers
we take along
Though meaning is hidden
standing there to listen
Above the lantern,
appears her pale white
complexion
Upon tatami the lute                            10: 93
put down with a thud

 

足袋ぬいで干す / 書のかげろう
年長に /ちいさきやつら / 供させて
隠すたよりを / 立ちながら聞く
行燈の /上より白き / 顔つき
畳に琵琶を / どつかりと置く

 

Ashi-bukuro nuide / hosu kaki no kagerou
Nenchou ni / chiisaki yatsura / tomo sasete
Kakusu tayori o / tachinagara kiku
Andon no / shita yori shiroki / hitai tsuki
Tatami ni biwa o / dotsukari to oku

 

Shiko says: I hang the socks on the garden wall in the New Year’s sunshine; moisture and odor from them rises to form “shimmers” in the air. Basho says: For New Years we visit people important to our lives; we took our kids along with us, but really they did not want to go. We told them to keep their cloths clean, but somehow their socks got sweaty. Bokusatsu says: on New Year’s visits, we have a lot to talk about family relationships, most of which we think children cannot or should not understand. As we talk, we hide our meaning in a maze of adult words with references to people and things they know not – but how much do the highly attentive language sponges pick up?

 

Izen changes these children into a woman “standing there to listen” to a man who hides his inner thoughts from her. As she lifts up her lantern to better see him, her face turns white with the realization of his true intentions. Basho has the woman disappointed by love play a sad piece on her lute , then put down the instrument; we hear her exhaustion in the thud her instrument makes on the slightly yielding tatami mat; From ethereal face above lantern, Basho creates a solid, distinct sound: thud.

 

                     --------------------------------------

 

 

 

Vulgar words to insult

the wife and daughter
All the guests                                10: 95
sit there cold, freezing
at the kotatsu

 

嫁とむすめに / わる口をこく
客は皆 / さむくてこおる / 火燵の間

 

Yome to musume ni / waruguchi o toku
Kyaku wa mina / samukute kooru / kotatsu no ma

 

Father (who may be drunk) insults his wife and daughter, saying horrible, vulgar things. A kotatsu - a heater (charcoal in Basho’s time, electric in ours) with a table on top and blanket to hold the warmth around the lower body - provides seating for four people. The mother and daughter prepare or serve food and drink to father and his guests. Father insults the females even when visitors are over, while the guests sit there shocked by what they are hearing; frozen in place, even at a warm kotatsu.

 

                             ----------------------------------

 

For a while raftsman
at rest on the bank
Pilgrim-robed                                  10: 110
heart on a journey
becomes quiet

 

暫く岸に / 休む筏士 
衣着て/ 旅する心 / 静也

 

Shibaraku kishi ni / yasumu ikadashi
Koromo kite / tabi suru kokoro / shizuka nari

 

In Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha. the ferryman Vasudeva guides Siddhartha to learn from the river:

 

 

He was taught by the river. Incessantly, he learned from it.
Most of all, he learned from it to listen, to pay close attention with a quiet heart,

with a waiting, opened soul, without passion, without a wish,

without judgment, without an opinion.

 

                      --------------------------------

 


The monk praises the child
who is slow at learning
Winter-withered                                 10: 156
pitiful the fallen oranges
covered with frost
Hardly ever used
the bath tub leaks

 

ならいのわるき /子を誉める僧
冬枯れの /九年母おしむ /霜覆ひ
たまたますれば /居風呂の漏り

 

Narai no waruki / ko o homeru sou
Fuyu kare no / kyunenbou oshimu / shimo ooi
Tama tama sureba / i-buro no mori

 

This monk has modern progressive ideas about children who have difficulty learning; he says they should be praised and supported, rather than criticized and taken down. Basho follows with pity for the learning disabled child: often under an orange tree, as in the garden of an abandoned house, fallen fruit lies in the dew and frost for months, sweet pulp oozing out cracks in the peel, looking altogether wretched – so the child’s brain rots from lack of stimulation. A wooden bath tub never filled with water dries out and cracks. If a section of the brain is hardly ever used, it also leaks. We can go out and buy a new bath tub, but when the brain leaks, all we can do is patch the cracks. So in childhood use it every day with praise, so leaks do not occur.

 

                         --------------------------------------

 

Pine mushroom –                          10: 165  (Haiku) 
leaf of an unknown tree
sticking fast
Fine autumn weather
hardened by frost

 

松茸や / しらぬ木の葉 / へばりつき
秋の日和は /霜でかたまるMatsutake ya 

 

Shiranu ki no ha / hebaritsuki
Aki no hiyori wa / shimo de katamaru

 

The mushroom is damp, so the leaf sticks to it. This happens at millions of places, but Basho, by paying attention to one occurrence, makes it exist forever. Although autumn days are clear and comfortable, the nights bring on winter with frost on the leafless unknown tree.

 

                           -------------------------------------

 

 

Showing no signs
of being busy, the shop
of a herbalist
Three years have passed                  10: 169
yet bride has no child

 

いそがしき /体にも見えず /木薬や
三年立ど/ 嫁が子のなき

 

Isogashiki / tei ni mo miezu / kigusuri ya
Sannen tatedo / yome ga ko no naki

 

Here is a rather laid back scene: the shop of a herbalist with shelves holding thousands of substances used to improve health - yet no customers. The place is so laid back that no one does much of anything. The oldest son, heir to the household and business, has not in three years managed to impregnate his young bride. This is serious business. Women might be divorced for not producing a child within three years – however the problem may be with his contribution. Why haven’t they used the herbal remedies from the shelves to fix him or her up. Come on, you two! We need that heir!

 

                    -------------------------------------------

 

 

Bright moon reclines
upon low stone wall
Deer chased                                         10: 179
through the city gates
jumps over one

 

月もかたぶく /石垣の上
町の門 / おわるる鹿の /飛び越えて

 

Tsuki mo katabuku / ishigaki no ue
Machi no kado / owaruru shika no / tobi koete

 

Ensui sees the moon taking a rest on the stone wall. Basho adds a living, breathing, fleeing animal.

Both moon and deer appear low to the horizon, with the vast night sky above.

 

 

Frantically
crying baby is thrust
into the cradle
Carpenters and roofers                 10: 182
go home as it darkens

 

せりせりと / なく子を畚に /つきすえて
大工屋根やの / 帰る暮れどき

 

Serizeri to / naku ko o fugo ni / tsukisuete
Daiku yaneya no / kaeru kure-doki

 

Baby cries that panicky scream that so upsets adults. Mother or babysitter busy with something else, to shut the kid up, thrusts baby into a cradle. Imagine the crying baby as a house under construction – busy, busy, busy with both carpenters inside the frame and around it, and roofers on top, sawing, hammering, moving things about, shouting to each other. As it grows dark, all leave and that house becomes absolutely silent. Such is the magical quieting effect a cradle has on the infant. Screaming, facial distortion, falling tears disappear into silence and peaceful breathing, thanks to the woman who puts baby into a cradle.

 

                       ---------------------------------------------

 

Wind from the east
blows from the west, then
from the north
The pulse in my wrist                    10: 204
is my great concern

 

こち風の /又西に成り / 北になり
わが手に脈を /大事がらるる

 

Kochi kaze no / mata nishi ni nari / kita ni nari
Waga te ni myaku o / daiji gararuru

 

According to traditional Chinese medicine, the wind gets inside the body to cause disease – so in Japanese both “wind” and “a cold” are pronounced kaze. A wind that changes direction produces disharmony in the body, so disease defeats the body’s defenses. Diagnosis of the pulses at the wrist gives the doctor detailed information on the state of the internal organs and the whole complex of yin and yang energy. Basho, a month before his death, knows that any disharmony or disease in his body could accumulate to his ending.

 

                         ---------------------------------------------

 

 

 

 

 

Bright red cockscomb
at garden’s entrance
To quiet down                                    10: 208a 
the unsettled heart
of the daughter
Night sweats have stopped
in this morning’s dream
Pine breeze
awakens the chorus
of caged birds
Carpenters start to work                 10: 208b
heard by wife deep within

 

赤鶏頭を/ 庭の正面
定らぬ /娘の心 / 取しづめ
寝汗のとまる / 今朝がたの夢
鳥籠を /づらりとおこす / 松の風
大工づかいの / 奥にきゆる

 

Aka keitou o / niwa no shoumen
Sadamaranu / musume no kokoro / tori shizume
Ne-ase no tomaru / kesa gata no yume
Tori kago o / zurari to okosu / matsu no kaze
Daiku zukai no / oku ni kiyuru

 

Cockscomb, often seen in Japanese gardens in autumn, so vivid a red drawing every eye to them; in front of the garden so the more in-your-face red. The color of passion suggests to Basho the turmoil in the heart of a teenage girl. He creates that turmoil, the daughter upset to hysteria, shaking all over, but also creates a compassionate mother – or someone like a mother – who manages to say the right words in the right tone to soothe and settle her down.

 

Blasts of adolescent hormones produce night sweats, copious perspiration which soaks her nightclothes and bedding, usually accompanied by emotional crying. After the mother calms down the daughter and she falls asleep, Shiko creates the dreams which soothe the brain to normal as a new sun rises. She awakes to bird song from a row of cages along with a breeze from the pines near the house. This is a wealthy mansion. In bed the wife hears carpenters beginning their work in another part of the house – but that does not interfere with the peacefulness in her part of the house – so again we feel the size and prosperity of the house. The sound of carpenters in her home, but far away, makes the wife at daybreak feel calm and peaceful, relishing her family’s prosperity along with the bird song and cool breeze.

 

The next two stanzas follow directly after the above:

 

Hulling rice,
enough done for today
I go home                                    10:210                               
By myself jostling through
marketplace crowd

 

米搗もけふはよしと帰るなり
から身で市の中を押しあう


Kome mo / kyou wa yoshi tote / kaeru nari
Kara mi de ichi no / naka o oshi-au

 

A worker hired for the day decides he has hulled enough rice for today, and goes home. Such individualistic decision-making is unusual in Japan; such decisions are made by the group or by the boss. Basho continues on the theme of individual vs. group, and everyone in Japan can experience his stanza in today's marketplaces.

                                ------------------------------------

 

At the village square

they gather, then nap
Women only                                         10: 217 
about incoming brides
yakkety-yak
Children they pamper
frostbitten in autumn

 

村の出見世に/ あつめてねる
嫁とりは /女斗で / 埒をあけ
大事がる子の / 秋の霜やけ

 

Mura no demise ni / atsumete neru
Yome tori wa / onago bakari de / rachi o ake
Daijigaru ko no / aki no shimo yake

 

Men gather with their peers then take a nap, while their wives chatter in their local dialect with no inhibitions and much ribald humor about the young virgins deflowered by their sons, to then join the woman’s collective in this village. Ryoban objects to women speaking so freely because such liberated wives (he thinks) treat their kids like little emperors who grow up weak and unable to regulate body temperature within normal parameters.

                                     -------------------------

 

The Sun sets
then Moon shines between
the waiting pines
More than laughter                                10: 235
Tears are consoling

 

日はいれて / やがて月さす / 松の間
笑う事より / 泣がなぐさみ

 

Hi wa irete / yagate tsuki sasu / matsu no ma
Warau koto yori / naki ga nagusami

 

After the sun sets on a romance, the moonlight is the passion that remains between two hearts. Basho makes sunshine laughter and moonlight tears. Instead of joking to cheer up the one sunk in misery, it is better to speak of the loss, and allow tears to console – for a new day will come with sun rising through the pine forest.

                                 ---------------------------

 

This path –                                           10: 253  (Haiku) 
where nobody goes
autumn nightfall 
Rocky mountain farm
a tree covered by vines 

 

此道や / 行人なしに / 秋の暮れ
祖の畠の / 木にかかる蔦

 

Kono michi ya / yuku hito nashi ni / aki no kure
Soba no hatake no / ki ni kakaru tsuta

 

Kon says, “As a day ends at the end of autumn, a single road through the fields with no body on it, a deep unspeakable loneliness accumulates.” Of course, “this path” means his path of poetry.  Of course the verse means many different things to different people. The next poet goes to the small farm enclosed by trees in the mountains where nobody goes except one lonely farmer. Whether “ tree covered by vines” simply describes the scene, or has a meaning related to humanity, is for us to realize.

 

--------------------------

 

 

White chrysanthemum                             10: 261  (Haiku) 
no speck of dust rises
to meet the eye
Morning moon makes water
with crimson leaves flow

 

白菊の / 眼に立て見る / 塵もなし
紅葉に水を / 流すあさ月

 

Shirogiku no me ni tatete miru / chiri mo nashi
Momiji ni mizu o / nagasu asa tsuki

 

Basho’s begins with a greeting to his woman follower Sonome, his hostess at a poetry gathering, saying

she is as pure and impeccable as a white chrysanthemum: Sonome responds with a process Japanese traditionally consider impure and defiling, yet Sonome says is pure: menstruation - the water (blood) with fallen crimson leaves (discarded lining of the uterus) are made to flow by the Moon: she (in this interpretation) extends Basho’s ideal of purity to woman’s body functions.

 

                         ------------------------------------

 

 

New house being built,                        10: 264
in a shack an open fire
Determined
to stay here, the wife
settles down

 

普請のうちは /小屋で火を焼く
帰らぬに/ 極めるの嫁の /さめすまし

 

Fushin no uchi wa / koya de hi o taku
Kaeranu ni / kimeru no yome no / samesumashi

 

Having torn down their old house and building a new one, they spend their days at the construction site with a firepit to cook lunch. Sonome says camping is fine for guys, but she would go crazy without a proper stove and sink and other convenieces of a 17th century kitchen. The woman in her stanza did get hysterical, and was ready to return to her native home, an action which could lead to divorce - but then she thought about it some more, and resolved the matter in her mind: she stays here and by looking forward to the new home when it is built, endures camping out for a while longer.

 

                         ------------------------------------

 

Stanza-pairs at the end of volume 10 of the BRZ stand alone, usually both by Basho, undated.

To hone his art, Basho, by himself, practiced writing both stanzas.

 

 

Ashes inside censer                             10: 281a
damp from long rains
So tenderly                                           10:281b
silkworm eyes and mouths
first can be seen

 

香炉の灰の /しめる 長雨
しおらしく / かいこのめくち /見え初めて

 

Kouko no hai no / shimeru naga-ame
Shiorashiku / kaiko no me guchi / mie-somete

 

The type of incense burner used in Japan looks remarkably like the head of an silkworm (which is actually a caterpillar). Because the ashes are wet, a lot of smoke comes out from the tiny holes in the burner, bringing to mind – or at least Basho’s mind -- the first steps in the development of silkworm eyes and mouths.

 

 

A melon so big
we both can enjoy
Joyful with                                   10: 307
scraps of hempen cloth
mother has cut

 

二人していざ /大きなる瓜
裁ち物の/ 麻にきれ端 /よろこびて

 

Futari shite iza / ouki naru uri
Tachi mono no / asa ni kire hata / yorokobite

 

After eating the sweet luscious fruit, the kids play with scraps mother cut away from the fabric she needed to make an article of clothing, scraps of no interest to adults, but fascinating to the pure, naturally high mind of a child. From the munchies to having “lots of fun.”

 

 

Among cotton bursting out                 10: 312

walks a pure white cat -
Unknown to us,                                    10: 312
within the warm kotatsu  
lying contented

 

綿ふきありく/ 猫の真城
人しらぬ / 中を炬燵に / もたれ合

 

Wata fuki ariku / neko no mashiro
Hito shiranu / naka o kotatsu ni / motare au

 

In summer the balls of soft cotton fiber burst out from their buds, each as soft, white, and furry as a darling little white cat walking amidst the cotton plants. The second stanza switches to winter when cats, like old people, seek to be warm, inactive, and have no involvement with the absurdly changing world. A kotatsu – table with blanket all around, and a heater inside -- is large enough for people to rest their lower bodies inside – however a cat can get her whole body in, so she lies there getting high on the embracing warmth.

 

 

 

 Although summer                        10: 313a
my neck sinks into collar
thinking of love
An account of my prayers             10: 313b
shows they are worthless

 

夏ながら / 襟ふるふると /ものおもい
祈るしろしの / かいなくもあれ

 

Natsu nagara / eri furufuru to / mono omoi
Inoru shiroshi no / kai naku mo are

 

“Neck sinks into her collar” is a physical sensory avenue to her inner feelings: not only is she disappointed by the failure of gods to fulfill her desires: she no longer believes they listen at all, or that they even exist.

 

 

Stones and trees                                     10: 317

said to be illusions
yet we worship --
I rinse my soup bowl                             10: 318a
and eat from it again

 

石も木も俤といえば拝むなり
汁椀すすぐ二度の喰え物


Ishi mo ki mo / omokage to ieba ogamu nari
Shiru wan susugu nido no kue mono

 

The BRZ  interprets this stanza-pair: “Living simply in a hermitage, eating just two meals a day, washing and rinsing one’s bowl and eating utensils; having left the world to serve the Buddha, seeing and worshipping the Buddha nature in the stones and trees and ten thousand things.”

 

 

“Lingering on . . .”                            10: 318b
I take down the doll and
look at her face
 Again starting to weep                     10: 318c
the cough of consumption

 

名残ぞと / 取置 雛の / 顔をみて
また泣入りし / 労咳のせき

Nagori zo to / tori oku hina no / kao o mite
Mata naki irishi / rougai no seki

 

Basho begins with a single word of speech or thought to open the mind without specifying content. The second and third lines portray physical actions that evoke memories: taking the doll down from a shelf and looking at the face. The fourth line adds deep and reoccurring emotion, and the fifth provides the sad context for the entire scene: tuberculosis.

 

A woman dying of tuberculosis looking at the doll’s face and recalls her own young healthy face; she cries for her life ending; she hears and feels herself cough. Or a mother whose daughter is dying looks at the doll she played with long ago; the doll’s face reminds her of her child’s face; she weeps for her daughter lingering on, and hears her cough. Or the daughter has died, and mother must linger on, remembering that hacking cough.

 

                              ------------------------------

 

 Left or right                                           10: 319
wherever I put my tray,
the loneliness
In some way or another                         10: 320
the grief of Kanefusa

 

右左 /膳をすえても / 淋しくて
何にもかにも/うきは兼房

 

Migi hidari / zen o suete mo / sabishikute
Nan ni mo ka ni mo / uki wa Kanefusa

 

Basho’s first stanza can be the actual experience of a child in school today, or the memory of a person who did not eat lunch surrounded by friends. Basho writes for us; he puts our actual experiences in words.

I feel that we should consider this stanza by itself, and present it as such in Basho4Humanity.

 

In the following stanza, Basho departs from the world as we know it to another world,  to the 12th century where the warrior Kanefusa lived and died serving his master, the great hero Yoshitsune. So Basho is saying that the misery we experience in our own lives is compable to the misery of some who died many centuries ago.  You can explore the stanzas together if that works for you, or you can go for LEFT OR RIGHT by itself.

 

                      ------------------------------------

 

Quiet temple,                           10: 321
on verandah is spread
a straw mat,
He measures out herbs            10: 321
to trade for soybeans

 

庵寺の / 縁に筵を / 打ち敷きて
はかりてわたす / 薬代のまめ

Andera no / en ni mushiro wo / uchi shikite
Hakarite watasu / yaku kawari no mame

 

Basho honors the ancient practice of bartering, here as part of Buddhism.

Basho always describes spatial relations and physical activities.

 

                  ---------------------------------------

 

         In volume 11 of the BRZ are renku stanzas signed with Basho's name, although

         scholars consider them "authorship doubtful."  Even if Basho did not write them, 

         the author must have felt they expressed an experience suitable to Basho. 

 

While crossing this river                     11: 73
I meet my deceiver
From the Deep North
can a thousand men pull
the rock his heart
Who shall pick up love                        11: 74 
I now throw away?

 

此川越えは /うき人に逢う
みちのくの/ 千引の石も /こころあれ
かく捨てし世を / 誰ひろう恋

 

Kono kawa goe wa / uki hito ni au
Michinoku no / chibiki no ishi mo / kokoro are
Kaku suteshi yo o / taga hirou koi

 

I meet him by chance on a ferry boat – the situation is not very comfortable for either of us, although the river goes on flowing. The rock is so heavy it can only move if a thousand men pulled on ropes tied around it; so I can never bring his heart to mine. With no possibility of fulfilment, I can only throw away the love I feel.     

 

 

Battle lost,                                      11: 91
the heroes retreat
and go home
Once again night falls
and day breaks in fog

 

負軍 /功者に引て / かえる也
ふたたび暮るる /霧の明方

 

Makeikusa / kousha ni hikite / kaeru nari
futatabi kururu / kiri no akegata

 

These samurai, instead of fighting to the death, giving all for glory and honor, they are able to go home and support their wives and children. The road is long, two inglorious days in depressing weather, yet at least they are alive.

 

Watching by lantern
at entrance to town
Taking a wife                                        11 : 94
rice merchant pretends
to be young

 

てうちん見ゆる / 町の入口
女房よぶ /米屋の亭主 / 若やぎて


Chouchin miyuru / machi no iriguchi
Nyobou yobu / komeya no teishu / wakayagite

 

As it grows dark, the watchmen hold up lantern to get a better look at the faces of people entering the town. Here comes a man in a wedding procession; he must have some years behind him since he has attained the position of boss, and he is dressed up to look young and fine – however the watchmen can clearly see how fake his youthfulness is. In the context of Basho’s stanza, that phrase “at entrance” may take on a sexual meaning. If you like it that way, go for it.

 

                ---------------------------------------

 

 

Steadily growing taller                11: 97
older and younger brothers
Just one time
to see the Big City,
our small business
Purifying self with water             11: 98
before the holy shrine

 

ずんずとのびる /男兄弟
一度は / 江戸を見たがる /小あきない
みたらし汲んで /神の門前

 

Zunzu to nobiru / otoko kyoudai
Ichido wa / Edo o mitagaru / ko akinai
Mitarashi kunde / kami no mon mae

 

Basho presents two brothers – like Hanzaemon and himself – the younger looking up to his future growth, the older down to his shorter past -- so without misfortune life fulfills itself. Ransetsu responds with the wish of young lads in the countryside everywhere, to take a break from the family small business and go see the magnificent shining City. Basho concludes with how Japanese make wishes, washing hands and mouth with water from a spring before the shrine, then wishing before the shrine building.

 

                          -----------------------------------

 

Stanza-pairs found in Akabane’s “Treasured Words of Basho,” (芭蕉遺語集):

 

 

Floating grasses
in a bundle, her pillow
firm and stable
Child of a shell diver                              A. 287
breastfeeds on the boat

 

うき草をつかねて枕さだめけり
あまの子なれば舟に乳をのむ

 

Uki kusa o / tsukanete makura / sadamekeri
Ama no ko nareba / fune ni chi o nomu

 

Floating grasses symbolize the ephemerality of human life, but she bundles and ties them into a firm stable pillow on which to rest her head and the brain within. In contrast to the “floating” in Rosen’s stanza, Basho presents the most substantial and eternal of all human relationships, that between milk-giver and milk-receiver, and specifically between a woman shell diver and her baby. These women stay down for a minute gathering sea creatures full of protein, minerals, and the omega 3 fatty acids which are primary components of the human brain. (For more on this, see B-6 BREASTFEEDING WITH BASHO or B-21 DIVING INTO HUMANITY.)

 

 

 Lilies of the field                              A: 371a
in crescent moon shadow
line up in bloom
 To my dear children                        A: 371b
what can I compare?

 

三日月の / かげに笹百合 /さきならい
お子様がたを / 何にたとえむ

Mikazuki no / kage ni sasa / yuri sakinarai
o-kosama gata wo / nani ni tatoemu

 

The words of Jesus may help us understand Basho’s meaning.

 

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow;
they toil not, neither do they spin.
And yet I say unto thee that even Solomon
in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

 

basho4humanity@gmail.com 

 






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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...
• Women in Basho
• 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
• 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