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-14


Basho Renku Volume 4 B

芭蕉連句全注解、四冊から連句 From volume 4 of the Basho Renku Zenchuukai

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

Renku between 1685 and 1687, with commentaries to every link

For Japanese and Romanization see Section 4 A

 

As a bee crawls out                             4:9

from depths of peony pistils,
parting from you

May morning moon refresh
your road of shining dew

 

Peonies have a multitude of pistils surrounded by a profusion of petals. These two stanzas are a conversation between Basho and a follower in Nagoya where Basho has stayed for some time as a guest of the Nagoya group. In this sequence written just before he leaves, Basho is saying, “I want to stay here forever.” The follower offers him positive energy for his trip.

 

Her hair gone,
chamberlain’s daughter
grown weary

Storm over Nonomiya                           4:11

ladies’ temple bells

 

The Grand Chamberlain’s high rank does not prevent his daughter from experiencing the travails of life. She cuts her hair and escapes to Saga, at the foot of Mount Arashi (Storm Mountain). The Ninomiya Shrine is one of the most famous places in Saga, and the temple Gioji is within walking distance; here in the 12th century  four nuns, escaping from the patriarchal world, lived together, prayed together, and all reached enlightenment.  Basho sets up the opposition of storm and bells. The first is wild, violent, uncaring; the second deep, steady, and unifying. The storm represents the arrogance and intimidating behavior of men, the bells are the steady, focused energy of “ladies.”

 

To follow in the footsteps
of a wandering madwoman

Compassion                                     4:49
is learned when the gold
has rotted away

 

Noh plays contains many madwomen such as the 9th century poetess Ono no Komachi who spent her youth in romance and luxury to lose all, including her sanity, and die as a beggar in rags.

 

Colors of the rainbow
decorate the boulder

Kite string cut,                            4: 59
soul of the milk-giver
soars to heaven

 

The spectrum – red on the outside, violet inside -- appears when sunlight refracts through moisture in the air so we see colors not really there. The contrast between bright rainbow and dull beige rock is bright and colorful, yet entirely lifeless; Basho counters with an abundance of life. He begins with a vivid physical image of a bond being broken, then reveals that the bond is between mother or nurse and baby, a bond which lasts till one of them dies. At the moment of death, the spirit parts from the body -- as the colorful kite leaves earth. Life, like the bright colors on the dull rock, is only an illusion, soon to disappear – yet breastfeeding continues from generation to generation.


 

Palace guards

at daybreak struggling

not to yawn

Splotchy eyebrows hidden             4: 80
from lover as he leaves

 

The samurai guards for the Imperial palace are supposed to be infallible, but these guys are so sleepy the yawns escape from their mouths. Basho switches to the female. In olden Japan court ladies removed their eyebrow hairs so they could paint their faces white, then painted on fake eyebrows, either high on the forehead or where the original eyebrows were. The paint was made from natural seed oils so could not last long. Here we see a woman whose eyebrow paint has crumbled while she slept with her lover. She does not want mottled eyebrows to be what he remembers of her when they are apart, so she covers them with her hand.


I like the movement from yawning to eyebrows. .Both stanzas have the same “heart’s connection”: the constant desire of the Japanese to appear flawless no matter how time passes. Basho renku are anthropology as well as poetry.

 

 

 

Sister waits for cowherd’s
late returning shadow

Chest conflicted,                         4: 93
crepe fabric of Echigo
she cannot weave

 

Older sister waits for her boyfriend who takes the herd out in the morning and returns in the evening. He is late coming home, and she worries. The feelings in her chest upset the parts of her brain which make her fingers execute the fine motions to weave the fabric according to the local tradition. Crepe fabric has a crinkled surface, due to strong cross threads, and is popular for summer wear. Echigo crepe was first produced in a village west of Niigata. This is snow country. In his Snow Country Tales, Bokushi Suzuki says, "In places where weaving crepe is customary, a bride is chosen first for her ability to weave crepe, and second for her demeanor.” These girls were trained from an early age to find their identity in weaving. Thus the loss of her ability to weave tears apart her personhood.

 

On the side, we note that the Weaver and the Cowherd are the two stars (Vega and Altair), lovers in the romantic tale of Tanabata, so maybe this scene takes place in heaven

 

Basho told Kyorai

 

Only this, apply your heart to what children do


And this he did:


Knocking on back door              4: 102
and running away home

She cries and cries
with never a conclusion
to her hiccups

 

What?! Kids in Basho’s time played “Ring the doorbell and run” (without door bells) and Basho “applied his heart” to this prank of boys in many societies with many names: Ding dong ditch, Nocky nine doors, Ghost knocking, Chicky melly, Chickenelly, Chap door run away; Knock, knock, ginger; Friend of the family knocking; in modern Japan, pin pon dashu.

 

The tradition of “Ring the Doorbell and Run” can be traced back to the traditional Cornish holiday of Nickanan Night, the first Monday after Lent. The anthropologist Basho records it in 17th century Japan. Kyokusui follows with slapstick sarcasm about the woman inside the house upset by the boys’ mischief.

I like the sound-link from knocking to hiccups.

 

 

Waiting to meet,                     4: 85
temple bell has fallen
amidst the grass

Toads call to their friends
in tones of deep lament

 

A woman waits for a man. (in Japanese literature, men either show up or do not; they do not wait). The “temple bell fallen amidst the grass” is her realization that he is not coming. The “tones of deep lament” are the woman’s feeling.

 

The punitive force
already has set forth
in solemn dignity

For one night’s vow                 4: 109
he empties his purse

 

The emperor has ordered troops to subjugate the rebels; the samurai gather, and when morning comes, leave camp with strict, solemn military precision. Meanwhile, the commander of the rebels (Han Solo) has spent the night in a brothel, and when morning comes makes a hasty departure so he can prepare his army. Before he leaves, since he is not likely to need cash ever again, he gives all he has to his partner in “one night’s vow.” (Military commanders carry considerable funds). Here we have a play-woman who got lucky. Now she can purchase her freedom, return to her home village, a hero because she saved her family from ruin, marry that boy she loves, and have children. She has endured year after year of degradation in solemn dignity, and from her years of misery we leap to the wonder of her good fortune - yet also her grief as she reealizes why he is giving away all his money.  

 

Sinking into
chill the hot spring pool,
awesome Moon                            4: 111

Of the three deer
one carries an arrow

 

The light from the moon above the pool penetrates to the bottom, chilling the hot water. We assume the poet is in the water, and feels the chill from the Moon upon his naked body.

 

A trio of deer come to drink the water. One has an arrow in the flesh which has caused a wound slight enough that the deer can still move about – so there is mystery here. The hot spring contains minerals we hope will help to heal the injury.

 

Hard of hearing                         4: 114
his wife has told him
“hototogisu”

Through hardship in Mino
they have a tea house

 

Basho portrays the sadness of a man growing old and losing his hearing, no longer able to hear the sounds he enjoyed for so many summers, so his wife has to announce into his ear that the little cuckoo has called its clear distinctive five note tune. Sora says they have a tea house, but since he cannot hear, she does all the work involving other people, while he putters about, doing odd jobs.

 

Old Pond –                           4: 117                   frog jumps in
water-sound

Between young leaves of reed
hangs a spider’s web

 

Basho’s stanza is the most famous of all haiku, but Kikaku’s following stanza is unknown to almost everyone. I found this pair in Ogata Tsutomu’s 900-page  Basho Taisei; oddly it does not appear in the BRZ, however the time of OLD POND is known, and fits into the chronological BRZ in volume 4 soon after 4: 114.

 

Basho blends what is continuous from ancient times with what happens for a second and disappears instantly leaving no trace. Kikaku compares this to a spider’s web which is weightless, transparent, and  hardly seems to exist - although spider silk is five times as strong as the same weight of steel.

 

Hundreds of people discuss every aspect of OLD POND in .hundreds of books and sites, yet not one of them knows the stranza that followed it: this is a remarkable illustration of how the literary community neglects not only this renku but all renku - yet while renku are unknown, they remain as strong as a spider's thread. 

 

 

In the cold wind
at sunset, long-drawn-out
cries of hawks

Foretell the heads to fall                4: 162
in tomorrow’s battle

 

Koeki’s stanza is magnificent by itself, but equally stunning is the way each element – the wind, the sunset, the “long drawn-out cries” – feeds energy into Basho’s ode to Fate. Basho completes and fulfils Koeki’s vision. In the link between the stanzas is the horror and cruelty of war. Each time I read this pair, I am again astonished by the direction Basho chose. He took the elements Koeki provided and blended them into that great question of existence which can never be answered: Are the future and death ordained? Or are they random? FORETELL THE HEADS TO FALL contains no sense that our side is better than theirs, no justification for killing the enemy;  all who die are equal in tragedy.

 

Among pines a low door
closed in by thorns –

His play-woman                         4: 163
hidden seven miles
from the Capital

 

A rich powerful man in the Capital has paid off a play-woman’s loan, so now he owns her. He keeps her in a shack with a low door that can hardly open because of the thorns. He does not want neighbors to know she is here. “Seven miles from the Capital” is close enough so he can visit her without too much trouble, but far enough – in the 17th century - that no rumor of her will reach the City

 

With her needle
in autumn she manages
to make ends meet

Daughter playing koto                  4: 164
reaches age seven

 

This woman has enough work in autumn sewing clothes for winter, but has to survive the whole year. Cultures worldwide consider age seven the beginning of wisdom and moral understanding. Imagine the pride the hard-working mother feels hearing her daughter produce such beauty. With utmost subtlety and grace, through the powerful effect music has on the brain, Basho portrays the mother-daughter bond, the hope for a better future that the growing girl evokes in her mother, hope riding on the lovely notes rising from her seven-year-old fingers on the harp strings.

 

White flowers                            4:171
without mother at home
seem so chilly

Her fragrance lingering
a brief night’s dream
An assortment
of clouds can be seen,
the moon clear.

 

Having lost mother familiar with the many-petaled white deautzia blossoms for so many years, at her memorial service, the flowers seem so meaningless and chilly floating in the evening darkness. From the white desolation of flowers comes the feeling of the person who has lost the warmth (nukumori) of mother.” Kikaku follows with his feeling for his mother’s death, and Ransetsu concludes with an image of the vastness and transience of the sky.

 

Rice planting
maidens are lined up
to drink sake -

Holding snow in summer           4: 194
twin peaks of Tsukuba

 

Teenage girls and unmarried women, their fertility believed to transfer to the fields. work together planting every field in the village, then comes time to celebrate. This would be one of the very few times in a year a young girl could get a small cup of sake. Mount Tsukuba, 45 minutes by train north of Tokyo, is famous for having two peaks almost the same height. The last bits of snow up there do not melt until early summer. Notice how Basho brings our attention to those “peaks.” The great poet leads us to the "mountains" growing under the robes of those maidens lined up to drink sake lowering their inhibitions.

 

Drunk on the shoulders
of people he leans 

The party today                         4: 208
we had so much fun,
granddad’s dance

 

The old guy careens from one person’s shoulder to another person’s shoulder, doing what he calls a “dance”, but is more foolishness than skill. Basho focuses on the young people who enjoy watching grandfather’s drunken excuse for a dance.

 

On the young wife’s head             4: 209
Chinese Rings are gentle

As a keepsake
some fabric from a bag
getting faint

 

The karawa or “Chinese rings” hairstyle –four rings rising from the head – was an elegant style for both courtesans and ordinary women. The elegant and charming hairstyle worn “gently” by the young wife suggests a marriage beginning with hope for the future. We jump ahead several decades, to some fabric that was part of a bag, something that used to be important, so I kept it, but I can no longer remember, everything getting faint, drifting away –yet those Chinese Rings on her head so long ago remain clear in my mind.

 

Along with his tears
hillbilly’s dumb poem

He combs his hair                      4:230
with bear grease, oh what
a horrible name!

 

This hick from the boonies tries to express the depth of his love in a poem to her, but he is no Shakespeare. Bear's grease was a popular treatment for men with hair loss from at least as early as 1653 until about the First World War. The myth of its effectiveness is based on a belief that as bears are very hairy, their fat would assist hair growth in others. He wants more than just his hair to grow like a bear’s.

 

 

After the years
of grieving . . . finally
past eighteen

Day and night dreams               4: 233
of Father in that battle

 

Father died in war when I was small, and I have grown up under the weight of that grief. Now, in the prime of youthful 18 year old vigor, I look back over those years of dreams, both asleep and awake, reverting to that one moment on a battlefield I have never seen in reality. Miyawaki says,

 

“For a boy, his father is his model to learn from by observation, his goal in life. Having reached the age when now he can go to war, to see a dream of father in battle is the same as being on the battlefield himself. His regrets for his father can never be forgotten. The bond between father and son is well expressed.”

 

The pines all night long
cordially receive snow

Fisherman’s child                     4: 269
to announce a whale
blows into a shell

 

Whalers would spot whales from stations along the shore and launch boats to catch them with harpoons and lances. Basho’s single stanza -- a half-dozen words and a few particles -- combines the intriguing trio of child, whale, and shell; we start with medium-size child, then move out to enormous whale, and return to tiny shell in boy’s hand, then spread out to fill the area with sound. That sound carries this child’s life force. Still moving, the mind goes to the villagers rushing to their boats to chase the fleeing whale, waves surging, the boy watching excitedly from his post.

 

Cold to the skin,
unused to coin hanging
from his neck

Black hair spilling power                4: 303
of a baggage carrier

 

Ensui shows us an old wandering beggar usually with no money, but now having a single coin -- with a hole in the center so it hangs on a string round his neck. In the same area, below the neck and around the chest, this strong man’s shaggy black hair spills freely. The power of this hunk who everyday carries heavy baggage for miles and miles, comes from his long shaggy hair – as when the Sun Goddess prepared herself for battle with her brother the Storm God, she unbound her hair -- as Samsom drew power from his hair before Delilah cut it off. Both stanzas are noticeably physical, material, bodily. Basho’s stanza especially highlights raw physical manhood without culture, religion, or philosophy.

 

As dawn comes
we realize in the night
bell was stolen

Hut of a border guard             4: 303
to a country defeated

 

For the first morning in their lives, the villagers heard no sound from the local temple, so they realized. A temple bell is far too heavy for one or two people to carry; many have no work together. When a nation-state has been defeated, before the conqueror takes control, there is bound to be vandalism. Not only has the border guard disappeared, but also the border itself lost all meaning.

 

Wearing imperial robes
he is indeed august

Full of sutras                               4:307
is his boat escorted

by a crocodile?

 

I bet you can hardly wait to find out what is going on here: A VIP on an Imperial mission wears purple robes forbidden to ordinary humans. He is august, inspiring awe and reverence. Basho makes him a monk sent by the Emperor of Japan to China to collect Buddhist scriptures and bring to Japan. And now for the final twist: in Japanese mythology, when “Her Augustness Luxuriant Jewel Princess” was pregnant and leaving the Kingdom of the Sea, her father, the Sea God, sent a crocodile to escort her boat.

 

Two nails for clothing
lonely is the night

No one comes                         4: 325
to make my own wife
give me leisure

Boiling rice is a drag
and my eyes tear up

 

Two nails which used to have clothing hanging on them now are empty, so lonely am I. Apparently my wife has left me, so I need someone -- the matchmaker who arranged the marriage, my wife’s father, someone -- to fix things up with her so she comes home and does the housework. Since no one has persuaded her to come back, I have to boil rice over a wood fire in the cook stove, which is really tiring and I cry from smoke in my eyes, and I miss my wife and the work she did.

 

Waves cover the rock
then they reveal it

As the pines are                     4:308
battered and twisted
such is love

 

Pines prefer soft loose soil, so grow well on seashores. The ‘rock’ is his heart -- one minute clear and trustworthy, the next minute hidden and unreliable. The turmoil in my heart as he keeps on changing signals is what the pines close to the sea endure during storms. This Basho is so passionate!

 

Not getting up
I recognize his smell
and am afraid

Wiping the sweat from               4:359
sidelocks in disarray

As he enters the room, she recognizes his putrid odor, recalling other times he has used her. She does not get up to greet him; rather she cowers on the futon steeling herself for what is to come. We feel the ominous approach of this man she fears. Between the two stanzas is the activity and sweat and sound of sex (or rape?) in hot moist Japanese summer without air conditioning, sex aggressive enough to mess up her hair (and the rest of her). She sits on the futon, neither screaming nor weeping, but rather sliding her fingers down the hair beside her face to wipe off sweat and straighten the strands, drawing power from her hair to recover from her ordeal. He is gross and cruel, while she is sensitive and dignified. She is stronger than he is: she has more endurance.


 

With face red                        4: 374
and beard scraggly

Seishi’s papa

White camellia’s long
village road to love

 

Seishi was one of the four great beauties of ancient China. Dad’s face is red from working in the sun, or skin disease, or drinking alcohol. His beard has not been trimmed for some time. Yet the beauty of Seishi came from that ugliness. By some trick of Basho’s art, his portrait of ugliness contains and conceals the beauty of Seishi’s face. By portraying ugliness, Basho suggests the polar opposite, the beauty of the daughter. Ain’t it the truth?

 

Fresh and green
the tranquility of a rock
that never moves

Drinking then sleeping               4: 384
here on this bridge

 

The chilly weather of early spring has passed, the day is warm and comfortable, and the plant world green and alive. Basho recognizes that the “tranquility of a rock that never moves” is a drunken or stoned perception, so he gives that perception a location: on a bridge looking down at the stream, focusing on one particular rock that stays still while all that water goes rushing by; he watches for a while, drinks or smokes, falls asleep, wakes up to take another hit and watch some more.

 

basho4humanity@gmail.com






<< Basho Renku Section 3 B (K-13) (K-15) Basho Renku Section 5 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