Basho's thoughts on...
• 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  >  Basho Renku, 芭蕉連句  >  K-11


Basho Renku Section 1 B

芭蕉連句全注解、一冊から連句 From volume 1 of the Basho Renku Zenchuukai

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

Renku written from 1665 to 1678 when Basho was age 20 to 33;  commentaries to each link are written not for literary specialists but for anybody concerned with humanity


This is the first of ten sections containing 350 Basho stanzas along with stanzas by other poets that compliment Basho’s visions of human connections to other humans.

 

Verses are given chronologically so we travel with Basho through 30 years of his adult life.


The BRZ # - volume number and page number - for each Basho item is given to the right

of first line of the verse.

 

Papier-mache bald, but
she will not throw away -
Today as is,

wishing to care for it
till Doll’s Festival

Till twilight crescent                        1:5
shall ladle peach wine

Calm peaceful magical
thinking cannot be surpassed

 

The doll has lost its hair and paint, but the loving child does not mind how it looks. We feel her willpower, her drive to do something for the little one. She accepts that the doll must go, however persuades the person in charge to let her care for it until Doll Festival on the 3rd day of the 3rd Moon (early April by the Western calendar), obviously the highlight of the year for a doll.

 

Basho switches from a doll preserved until Doll’s Festival to peach wine preserved so Basho and friends can drink it on this festive occasion. The moon on Doll’s Festival is a slender crescent that rises during the day, becomes visible in the twilight sky, then sets early in the night - shaped like a ladle, perfect for drawing wine from a celestial bucket and serving to us. Thus Basho’s first recorded renku stanza contains the joys of friendship and connection to the group enhanced by sweet wine and lunar fantasy.

 

À world where the ladle of moon serves us sweet wine would be a world of “magical thinking,” a world in which when we want something we magically call it forth – as a child gives her dolls thoughts and feelings, and even has one doll interact with another – manipulating the Force - like Yoda lifting the space shuttle from the swamp - so it cannot be surpassed.

 

So confusing:
path of truth versus

path of love?

Unable to proceed                               1: 9

dark night of futility

 

The first stanza is a question: whether to follow the path of Truth – i.e. devote one life to the Buddha – or the path of love – however confusion occurs between the two paths. Mushou can be “without sexuality” or “without the temperament to attain enlightenment” or “without the ability to reason”; I translate “futility” to convey Basho’s feeling of lacking a connection to wholeness.

 

Disconnected, the cat                          1:13
outside, how she cries

Charcoal fire
gone out, twas cold
in retirement

 

The fire is banked – burning coals covered by ashes – to remain alive till morning when it can be awakened. The cat depended on her connection to the slight warmth given off by the banked fire to be comfortable all night long. But the fire was not banked properly, and went out. Inside became as cold as outside, so out she came and here she is, crying.

 

While this stanza-pair is not about people, it does portray the connection of domesticated cats to the human family and the warmth humans provide.

 

Moon at dawn                          1: 15
only my shadow figure
for a friend

Still deep in the night
a lonesome traveler

 

The moon at dawn, only a pale whiteness in the sky, casts no shadow at all, so this traveller in the first light of day has no friend. Basho has given the “shadow figure” an identity. At night the entire world is shadow, while no humans are on the road, so the shadow travels alone without connection to a group.

 

So it will not melt                     1:17
this ice we dedicate

New Year’s dawn
the morning sun a faint
glimmering

 

In a Shinto ritual, the ice of winter is preserved in an ice house until midsummer, and that spirit of perseverance offered to the kamisama. The Japanese constantly exhort each other, gambatte, “persevere, hold on, maintain your strength!” Issho switches from mid-summer heat to freezing cold New Year’s Day; just before the first bit of Sun appears, a glimmer on the horizon announces the coming event. Can we expand our minds to see Sun rising from horizon as one with ice melting.

 

The stanza-pair is a poetic representation of the yin-yang symbol. Yin is dark and cold; Yang light and hot. The bit of ice in the midsummer heat is the dark spot in the white field; the sun rising in midwinter is the bright spot in the dark field. The two fields with their opposing spots together form the cycle of the year, of reality, of consciousness of connection.

 

“Like the Goddess
of Spring” our princess
is neat and tidy

Green willow her hips
and hair like willows

Weary of waiting                      1:18
wind through the pines
also is longing

 

A girl speaks of Sayo Hime, the goddess who spreads spring over the earth; she cares for her body and clothing as meticulously as the goddess forms petals on the flowers. Her hips and hair, as slender and flexible as willow branches covered with young green leaves swaying sensually in the wind; This is a most gorgeous female image – then Basho makes her wait for a lover who does not show. Notice the contrast between her willowy beauty and her unfulfilled desire so intense it fills the wind.

 

Starting to learn
the alphabet from
ra-mu-u-i-no

Foolishness has stopped,                1:21
youngster in the bedroom

 

A boy practices the classical Japanese alphabet with 48 sounds, starting with the middle of the sequence: “rah-moo-oo-ee-noh” is like “l-m-n-o-p” in our song. But now the mischief maker sleeps. Sleep consolidates what we learn awake, so the programs are retained and available for later use. Both stanzas are about the learning process:

 

Starting to flirt
hair parted in middle
becomes glossy

That vision arising                  1:24
her seen from behind

 

“Hair parted in the middle” suggests a young girl; as she enters adolescence and starts to flirt, her hair becomes long and elegant. Basho “sees” through her head to a vision of the beauty hidden to him. Young Basho cannot forego this vision; it is an “attachment” of the sort the Buddha warns us against.

 

After such a long time
he seeks her pardon

An employee                             1:28
has leisure time only
in others’ eyes

 

He has not visited her for a long while – but here he is now, and he obviously wants sex. Basho’s stanza is the excuse he gives her. Is he telling the truth or lying? Does his job actually take up so much of his time? Or is he actually spending his spare time with another woman? If he is lying, how much else of his words are lies? Do I really want to sleep with such a liar? Which is best for me, to forgive him and go on with our relationship, or break up and go on without him? The eternal dynamic of men seeking a way into women, and women wondering about men’s fidelity.

 

So quietly descends
hand of the dancer

More than appears                          1:31
a small child is obedient
to the Energy

 

Sengin offers an elegant image of Japanese classical dance, and Basho takes that into the world of children: The movement of the dancer’s hand expresses more, much more, than simply getting from up to down; it expresses the dancer’s obedience to ki. Likewise the small child may not follow adult commands, but is obedient to that universal Energy.

 

Right or wrong
from the pine shadows
someone comes
Impatient with people
who provoke with words

When pushed                            1:34
again pushing back
in a crowd

 

The first poet suggests a person emerging from the pine forest with some hostility.  The second poet defines that hostitlity. Basho (1644-1694) counters with his take on what his contemporary Isaac Newton (1642-1727) called the Third Law of Motion – although Basho’s version is more human and personal. An eye for an eye. What goes around, comes around. You provoke me with words, I provoke you back. It gets very complicated because we are in a crowd with many different action/reactions occurring at once.

 

After a quarrel
the soft rubbing sounds
of hands wringing

White tissue paper                        1:63
soaked by her tears

 

Two hands twisting around each other in “wringing” produce faint, unobtrusive pressure sound – in Japanese sara sara -- which most people would not even call sound. The activity and sound of a woman’s hands contain her feelings of upset and loss of self-confidence. Basho completes the image with the physical-ness of tissue paper in her hands soaked by her tears.

 

Basho wrote both of these stanzas together, so they have every quality of a tanka: it probably occurred in reality before 1672 while Basho still lived in his hometown of Iga (now Mie Prefecture) about 50 km. southeast of Kyoto and traveled to Kyoto to study.

 

River wind so cold                       1:91
midnight to the outhouse
Leaving Kyoto                              1:92
today Mika no Hara
belly painful

 

Walking from Kyoto to Iga, apparently he spent the night in Mika no Hara, a place in Kizugawa south of Kyoto, alongside the Kizu River which leads east to Iga. “Hara” is both “plain” in the place name, and also “belly.” Already in his twenties he suffered from the bowel disorder that ended his life more than two decades later in 1694.

 

Birds call together                   1: 102
their laughing voices

 

This single stanza portrays the happiness of birds, but even more portrays the happiness of the poet –

for only a happy person would pay enough attention to birds singing happily  to make such an observation.

 

So glorious a Moon                  1: 105
as the goddess Lakshmi

 

Basho equates the Moon with Kichijoten, the Japanese form of Lakshmi, Hindu deity of happiness, fertility, beauty, and prosperity. Lakshmi actively involves herself in human life, bestowing good fortune, allowing us to fulfill our aims and goals.

 

Like a navel cord                     1: 107
his visits to Yoshiwara
shall be cut off

He resents the thunder
of the midnight drum

 

Money getting tight, he can no longer afford to rent a woman in the Yoshiwara pleasure quarters. Being cut off from the body of a woman, he compares to his umbilical cord, his connection  to mother, being cut. Entering a woman's genitals is like returning to mother’s genitals.  This Basho teaches us. 

 

He has enjoyed her body and spirit for one evening, but cannot stay the night. A taiko, or great drum, sounds at midnight telling men they must leave. Being born, hearing for the first time sounds of the world unmuffled by the womb, must sound like thunder.  This sound he resents.  

 

From the kitchen calls                 1: 120
voice of a servant girl

Passageway
to the second-story
a bit far, but. . .

 

Basho focuses on the sound of a female voice, and places that sound in a specific place; a kitchen.

The next poet moves from the kitchen through a narrow  passageway to a room on the second-floor.

This is where her boyfriend, another servant, resides.  Basho provides the foundation on which the second poet builds a love poem.  The love is hidden in the words, and you have to search for it to find the love feeling.  Searching for the hidden meaning makes the poem interesting.  

 

For you, my dear,
a red silk underskirt
of crimson leaves

Vows made, in autumn             1: 127
she became pregnant

 

A woman is given a crimson slip to wear under her kimono – however we suspect this is her wedding night and the “red silk underskirt” her bleeding after first sex. Basho confirms this suspicion. A vow is a solemn promise to remain faithful. In many societies, including Japan, vaginal blood is considered defiling, however Shinsho and Basho portray the bloody scene without disgust or contempt, as natural and life-giving. Both virgins and experienced women may find much to consider in the link between these two stanzas.

 

Actually airing in the heat
heavenly feather robe

Shell discarded 1:141
in Yoshino mountains
strumming koto

Wind through the leaves
blows a bamboo flute

His hermitage                        1:142
among pines and cedars
outside Kyoto

 

In the Noh play Hagoromo, the Feather Robe, a celestial maiden visiting Earth, lays down her feather robe on a tree while she bathes in a clear stream. The first poet changes that to a more down-home image: airing the robe out in the mid-summer heat to eliminate moisture and insects. As the celestial maiden removed her robe, so the juvenile cicada sheds its skin – or “exoskelton” or “shell” -- to emerge as an adult; the utsusemi, or abandoned skin, remains, on the bark of the tree. Utsusemi, in the Tale of Genji, is a woman who resisted Genji’s romantic advances; one night he tried to force himself on her, but she escaped, leaving her outer robe behind in his grasp and giving her the name she is known by.


The Yoshino Mountains are far enough from Kyoto that she can play her koto in peace without Genji bothering her. The mountain trees are full of countless adult male cicadas making their “cries” by rapidly vibrating abdominal membranes; the sound goes on and on all day long in the heat of summer, driving some people crazy, while some, such as Basho, compare the notes of a koto.   The third poet changes from harp to flute; the wind through the leaves and the musician's breath through the flute are one.  Basho gives this artist a hermitage in the woods around Kyoto where he can constantly learn flute-playing from listening to the wind - yet still with access to the City and all its people. 

 

Family relationships                1: 147
so difficult to escape

In the world
when there are daimyo
are merchants too

The willow is green                 1: 147
credit pulls you in

 

Basho’s first stanza will mean different things to different people. Where there are provincial lords living life expensively, there must also be merchants. Merchants to get rich offer credit, and credit pulls some people in, so they buy and borrow beyond their earning power; somehow they will find the money to pay back. “Credit pulls people in” is just as inevitable as “the willow is green.”

 

 

That night Mount Fuji                  1:155
with Mount Tray-on-legs

Plane shavings
lit by pine torch, burst
into flames


Mount Fuji is a single symmetrical cone of 13,000 feet with no other mountains nearby – except Ashitaga less than a one third of that to the south. The two seem connected, and legend says Fuji, and Ashitaga too, magically formed in one night. Basho sees Fuji as a samurai sitting on his heels, straight, symmetrical, and dignified, to eat a meal, and Ashitaga is the “tray on legs” where his meal is served.  A tray is wooden, and requires a plane to make, so the shavings must be burned. The torch bursting into flames suggests the volcano of this mountain, and the torches for the Fuji-Yoshida fire festival, where many men carry enormous torches through town as a prayer to the Goddess of Mount Fuji to spare the town another year without an eruption.  This is how renku flows. 

 

Village showers
bisexuals go crazy
either way

People die for love                     1:157
the wind makes a sound

Water flowing on sleeves

cannot quench the great fire

 

“Showers” are rain that fall suddenly and unexpectedly, and stop soon, leaving us drenched and cold; the suggestion is ejaculation, Basho says that even with only heterosexual relations, people die for love -- so the wind makes a sound. As we put up our hands to cover our eyes when we cry, tears fall on our kimono sleeves, so “water flowing on sleeves” means tears. The great fire, whipped to a frenzy by the wind, could not be put out by the tears, so someone died; the great Meireki fire burned down Edo nine years earlier.

 

Benevolence from above              1: 164
down comes cost of rice

 

This single stanza by Basho pivots around the word  kami which means either “above” or “the Gods or divine forces.”   The phrase "from above down comes" means one thing following "benevolence" and something diffrerent preceeding "cost of rice."     “Benevolence from the Gods coming down” is a proverb, but Basho sets up the word to also be the people above us who set the prices of commodities. He blends religion with economics- just as in THE WILLOW PULLS YOU IN he blends nature with economics.


 

Well, that’s that!                          1:187
yesterday has passed
globefish soup

Noticing the coldness
to the tip of my toes

 

The liver and ovaries of the globefish contain the poison tetrodotoxin which, if the fish is not properly prepared, deadens the tongue and lips, and induces dizziness and vomiting, followed by numbness and prickling over the body, rapid heart rate, decreased blood pressure, and muscle paralysis which stops breathing.  Properly prepared, you get the taste of the poison without the ill effects. Yesterday Basho enjoyed this culinary Russian roulette. and is especially pleased to wake up the next morning.


After several
cups of wine. . . sadly
past sunset

The moon as long ago                1:197
old friends now granddads

 

The verse is filled to the brim with male sentimentality brought on by drinking sake with childhood friends in our old village where we grew up -- each one of us now with grandkids.

 

Sunrise, sunset. Sunrise, sunset. Swiftly flow the years

 

The moon is the same moon as long ago, but we sure have changed –

as seen through the haze of alcohol in each of our brains.

 

Are you calling
for a horse to borrow?
ho-toto-GI-su

Woods in morning shade           1: 207
aren’t you really a fox?

 

Hearing the bright clear five-note tune of the little cuckoo, the poet wonders if the bird is calling for a horse – the way nowadays we hail a taxicab; this is absurd, because what does a bird who can fly anywhere in three dimensions need from a horse who can only run on the ground?

 

Basho continues playing with the call of this bird. He locates it in the woods where light and shadows mingle. Foxes in Japanese folklore change themselves into other beings, so he wonders if the bird is actually a fox which has magically changed itself into a little cuckoo.  Why on earth would a fox pretend  to be a bird? The poets demonstrate renku play, renku for fun, yet both ridiculous questions require listening to the sound the little cuckoo actually makes in the forest from May to July. 


 

Ragged and tattered                     1:210
the goddess works at night
as maple leaves fall

In smoke from the lantern
she appears as the Moon

 

 

“Ragged and tattered” are her family’s clothes that need mending before winter comes, and the scene of deciduous trees as their leaves disappear in autumn. “Night work” are the jobs she does after her workday is over, while the rest of the family sleeps. The Greeks and Romans had no Goddess of Work, but Basho does. The next poet gives her a lantern –with fire burning oil – to light up her work; like a genie she appears in smoke.


 

From green face                        1: 223
of laughing mountain
Spring is seen

Earthenware cascade
I drink all I can drink
Voices rising
in a storm on the waves
a tour boat

Wild geese! Plovers!                   1: 224
fools with their friends

 

Basho says the green spreading over the mountain face is like laughter – one of his many life-affirming messages. The second poet is more into getting drunk; he has this smiling face enjoy a “cascade” of rice wine from an earthenware cup. The third poet puts this sake-loving guy on a tour boat. People came on this boat to have a good time with their friends, but storm arouses the waves so they scream in distress.

 

Basho is NOT speaking of birds at all; instead he means the people on the boat sound like birds; some like temperamental wild geese making their loud continuous “honking,” and others more like plovers, usually silent but occasionally making a soft ka ka sound -- but whichever bird they sound like, they are still aho, fools: strange that Basho 350 years ago used this word which today is  a swear word. And how did we get here from the green face of laughing mountain?

 

Let us explore three single stanzas by Basho which I find more lively and interesting by themselves, rather than with the previous or following stanzas which are steeped in old Japanese concepts.

 

Mother of a lost child                 1:234
is your pelvis upset?

 

Here is an idea women may appreciate, however difficult to imagine coming from the austere impersonal monk that Basho is said to have been: the idea that a mother feels her child’s unexplained absence physically in her pelvis where she carried that child for nine months. The verse is so physical, in the body – yet not sexual.

 

Nine year old                               1:238
high priest’s high spirits
last the autumn

 

This is not an actual priest, but rather a young boy full of self-confidence and vigor. In my experience, nine years of age is when a  boy reaches the summut of  mischievousness.  (The Japanese says age 10, but remember that they counted birth as age one; so I subtract one from all Japanese ages.)  Basho wrote many poems about how his spirits faded with autumn passing, but this child has so much spirit, it lasts through the season of sadness.


From one thousand                 1: 249
stanzas to ten trillion
at tip of nose

 

I have translated accurately: juuman oku, 10 x 10,000 x 100,000,000 equals ten trillion.

The diversity of human experience is vast.

 

 

Young guys drawn to                    1: 239
waves of doorway curtain

Bloated faces
drowned in the watery
pool of love

 

Doorway curtains are often seen in Japan today in the entrance to a shop or restaurant, where you walk through the vertical slit between two side flaps. Here the curtain is in the doorway to a brothel. Yes, sex does lead men into some pretty miserable “pools.” We see their drowned, waterlogged faces through the flaps of doorway curtain (like the faces Frodo and Sam saw in the Dead Marshes).


The traveller’s
greasy smell on the pillow
so disgusting!

Sardines are roasted by                  1:253
inconstancy of their vows

 

 

Both men and women of the upper classes treated their hair with camellia oil so it would hold the customary styles. This woman at a roadside inn cooks for travelers and also provides sex. She hates the greasy smell a customer's hair leaves on her pillow. She also hates the degrading pretence of false vows made to satisfy him with no possibility of becoming true love, since she is indentured and can never leave, and this hatred burns hot enough to roast the sardines she prepares for him.

 

 

Father a minister of state             1: 270
his wealth gone in spring

Personal items
and a twelve layer robe
of faint mist

 

Father has immense wealth and power, yet this spring has to pay for his daughter’s trousseau. She needs all sorts of “personal items” – cosmetics, female hygiene products, etc. – and a twelve-layered wedding robe, an extremely elegant and highly complex and fantastically expensive kimono worn  by court-ladies in Japan from the 10th century. The entire robe could weight up to 20 kilograms. The mist represents the spring season, yet in contrast to the father’s political and financial power, mist suggests the quiet hidden mysteries of the daughter and bride. He is yang, she is yin.

 

Weak in love 1: 282
the royal princess’
royal words

Along with her nurse
she has an iron shield

 

“Weak in love” means she falls for any boy or man she finds attractive, and will give her love to any good-looking guy who promises her love. The Nurse in Romeo and Juliet tried to protect Juliet, but that didn’t end so well. This nurse is Japanese so she is more diligent, holding an “iron shield” before the princess’ private parts.

 

To understand Basho renku, we must explore his spoken words about renku (which he calls haikai)

 

Many of my followers write haiku equal to mine,
however in renku is the marrow of this old man.

 

The word haikai is used in different ways, and some may think it includes both linked verse and hokku (i.e. haiku) – however Basho here clearly differentiates between hokku and renku; he succinctly admits that his haiku are nothing special, but states that in renku we find his unique genius. I however see it a bit differently:  a few Basho haiku reach the magnificence of his greatest renku, while the majority of them are only so-so.  


This  path has a fresh taste in both heart and words, giving life

Basho's statements are so sensory.  When we look at all the people in Basho, especially the women and children, look at their aliveness and activity, we see the “bone marrow” of his consciousness, his fresh lively feeling for connection with other people.

 

Rise high to enlighten the heart then return to the common.

 

Basho searches for enlightenment when he writes a verse, then when he is finished, he returns to the ordinary world where he searches for material to write about in another verse. 

 

basho4humanity@gmail.com 

 


 







<< Basho Renku Section 10 + (K-10) (K-12) Basho Renku Section 2 B >>


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:
• 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