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  >  Praise for Women  >  B-21


Diving into Humanity

Japanese Shell Divers as Aquatic Apes

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

Child of a woman diver
breastfeeds on the boat

 

 

Here is a unusual bit of Basho renku; it does not appear in the BRZ, or Complete Basho Renku anthology, however it is found in a scholarly collection of “treasured writings.” Like so many Basho renku, it takes a most intimate look inside the life of Japanese women.


Kikaku wrote this bit of woman-centered anthropology, along with a stanza by Rosen followed by Basho 

 

The ama of Ise dive to gather shellfish,
leaving babies on the boat with a man at the oars.
When one at the bottom hears her infant cry for milk,
she rises to the surface and, still gasping for breath,
one hand holding on the side of the boat,
pushes her nipple forward to the child.

 

 

Floating grasses
in a bundle, her pillow
firm and steady

Child of a woman diver
breastfeeds on the boat

 

Floating grasses rooted in the sea bottom float back and forth on the  surface; others without roots go where the waves take them – they symbolize human life carried along like a floating weed, and more specifically the inconstancy of the indentured play-woman (also pronounced ama) who each night vows her love to another man, all in pretense, for she can never leave the brothel.


Rosen shifts from ephemerality to the stability of a headrest in sleep. The famous ama, or woman divers of Japan and Korea carry on traditions recorded for 2000 years, diving without air tanks, staying down for over a minute, relying on the diving reflex which humans have evolved to preserve oxygen when we are underwater, they gather abalone, snails, and other edibles rich in vital nutrients. In olden times they wore only a loincloth, but nowadays the remaining divers wear a white cotton suit – for sharks dislike white – and some modernize the tradition with a wetsuit.They dive only from March to September, but still the water is cold – yet these women commonly dive into their seventies. “Women stay warmer and tolerate the cold sea much longer than men” – because they have more insulating subcutaneous fat. Diving is a way for women to get out of the house and make an income while being together with friends who have dived together since childhood.

 

“The secrets of our happiness are that we gossip with friends,
laugh a lot, stay physically active, and live with the ocean.”

 

Another reason, I suspect, for their long healthy lives is the rich supply of omega-3 fatty acids in those sea creatures they roast over an open fire.

 

You can read more about them in Yukio Mishima’s novel The Sounds of Waves.


Subcutaneous fat and the diving reflex are just two of the dozens of adaptations common in sea-going mammals, but among land animals unique to humans, which suggest (or prove) that a million years of living near the sea propelled one group of apes to evolve into humans, according to the theory of the late Elaine Morgan which she elegantly and persistently presented in many books. Aquatic adaptations include our upright posture, hairless body, nose shaped to deflect water while diving, webbing between thumb and

forefinger, voluntary control of breathing, speech, tool use, front-to-front sex, sweating, the prevalence of boat-building in every coastal culture, the prevalence of mermaid legends across the world, and the woman divers of Japan and South Korea.


Following Kikaku’s observation that divers bring their babies onto the boat, in contrast to the “floating” in Rosen’s stanza, Basho presents the most substantial of all human relationships, that between milk-giver and milk-receiver, and specifically between an ama and her baby.  What does the “child of a woman diver” receive from her breast milk?  Divers gather abalone, snails, and other sea creatures which Westerners may not consider edible, but Japanese and other Asians enjoy.  

 

Brain and nutrition researcher Michael Crawford notes that these shell fish are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which are the “primary structural components of the human brain, cerebral cortex, skin, and retina,” but cannot be obtained from most land-based foods.  He concludes that the abundance of these fatty acids in sea creatures was the “driving force” behind the expansion of the ape brain to human size and complexity. Ape-women living near the sea in Africa millions of years ago and diving for food (not ape-men hunting) were the forerunners of human evolution.  The Omega-3 fatty acids in the sea creatures entered the divers’ breast milk to enlarge their infants’ brains, and these children survived and reproduced, and so the human brain evolved.  A woman today can follow evolution by enriching her breast milk with “brain food” from the sea.


Child of a woman diver
breastfeeds on the boat

 

Bssho combines 1) the tradition of women diving for food ,  2) the child drinking milk from the breast,

and 3) the rocking of the boat from the waves.   In contrast to the floating boat, Basho presents the most substantial and eternal of all human relationships, that between milk-giver and receiver, the bond or anchor that keeps the mind from flowing away.   Basho always looks for constancy amidst the inconstant floating world.  The constancy of women diving into their seventies,  the everyday diet of foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, the “primary structural components of the human brain, cerebral cortex, skin, and retina,” the flow of those fatty acids through their breasts and infant's mouth to the developing brain.  

 

 

basho4humanity@gmail.com






<< Shonagon to Basho (B-20) (B-22 ) Mother Daughter Bond >>


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