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-15


Basho Renku Section 5 B

芭蕉連句全注解、五冊から連句 From volume 5 of the Basho Renku Zenchuukai

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

Renku of 1688 and the first half of 1689

With Commentaries to each link

For Japanese and Romanization see Section 5 A

 

By moonlight
my poor mother at work
beside the window -

She would hide fingers                5:14
stained with indigo

 

Mother, her family gone to sleep, sews or mends their clothing in that light from above through open window. From this iconic maternal image, Basho zooms in on her fingers stained from years of dyeing cloth with indigo; she feels the need to cover them with fabric to hide that strange inhuman color in the moonlight. The link – the thoughts that take us – from Iugen’s stanza to this astonishingly trivial but intimate human detail shows the vast range of Basho’s genius. Only Basho could conceive of a link such as this, a link so personal and bodily yet so full of heart.

 

Sadly falcon suffers
his loss of feathers

Only a woman                      5: 12
in an old mansion
with a torn screen

 

The falcon bred for hunting is a masculine image, yet in old age his life force diminishes. Basho leaps to the human female world of widows in old houses they can no longer maintain. I think of Miss Havisham in Great Expectations with her torn stocking

 

Doorway curtain                       5: 27
behind it, deep within
northside plum

Pine needles are falling
in the month of March

 

Doorways curtains are often seen in modern Japan, between a room and a hallway; you pass through the vertical slit with two side flaps.  Visiting a follower, in the guest room, Basho writes a “greeting verse” to his wife, Sonome, hidden in the northside of the house where the kitchen is. Plum blossoms are, in Japanese poetry, the most elegant of images and thousands of poems have been written about their elegance. Basho praises Sonome, saying “Even when you are hidden from me, I ‘see’ the elegance in you.”

 

Sonome, being a refined Japanese woman, her response to his praise must be dull and boring to express humility. Sonome says through her stanza, “I am merely pine needles falling in the season plums are in bloom; no matter how many needles fall, they have absolutely no elegance.”

 

Basho wrote these two stanzas in succession:

 

Before my eyes                      5:39
the scene just as is
makes a haiku -

As a child turns seven            5:39
face becomes clear

 

Not every haiku must be exactly as seen – as many of Basho’s verses were not – however sketching reality is one way he recommends. The two stanzas together say that conceiving a haiku should occur naturally, organically, as one’s face develops. For Basho to see that children’s facial features transform at age seven, changing from a baby face to the “clear” features of a child, then to write a poem about this phenomenon, he must have watched the faces of many children, especially his three younger sisters. Many students of child development note the onset of a new stage at age seven. (The Japanese says "age eight" however 

they counted birth as age 1, so throughout this work, I subtract one from every Japanese age given.)

 

 

Many, many                              5: 45
things come to mind,
cherry blossoms

The spring day quickly
passes into brush strokes

 

Basho’s words are completely, utterly simple. No complications: seven ordinary words with the most basic grammar possible in Japanese and likewise in English. He says absolutely nothing new about cherry blossoms or memories – instead he ‘sums up and conceals’ a thousand years of poetic expression on these flowers and the memories that pass from one cherry blossom season to the next. Basho speaks of memories from the past coming to the present. Tokoku continues with images from today being written down so they go to the future.

 

 

The days pile up
getting used to a woman
who floats along

The grass of love weakens          5: 59
his arm for archery

 

At the Sanjusangendo in Kyoto samurai competed to shoot the most arrows 120 meters to hit the target in a 24-hour period. A samuraii has given up his responsibilities and spends his days with a play-woman who “floats along” – doing no real work (according to men’s idea of work), just riding the waves of sexual desire and fulfillment. All his manhood poured into her has left him unable to shoot thousands of arrows in 24 hours. He who discharges too many of one sort of arrow cannot shoot so many of the other sort.

 

Telling the Truth
of Buddhism is sad,
field of graves

Chased, the doe flees,                     5: 63
leaving behind her fawn

 

The first poet writes a masculine and literary stanza - philosophical, religious, inanimate - then Basho jumps away from abstractions and lifelessness to the intense activity and the raw life experience of females and their young. Rather than abandoning her child to save her own hide, she is drawing the attacker away from the baby hidden in the bush.

 

Sister from the Capital
here to have her baby

Weaving folded                             5:66
at back door she lights
flower incense

 

She left her home village to work in the City and marry; pregnant, she returns so her mother can help out before, during and after birth. Folding the fabric she has woven, she goes to the back door to light a stick of incense and spread sweet fragrance throughout the kitchen. She moves her body back and forth, up and down, around her swollen belly. In the place she herself was born, through physical work, she prepares her body and spirit for delivery

 

Missing teeth, Granddad’s 5: 77
nembutsu sounds strange

 

Grandfather chants the nembutsu prayer, Namu Amida Buttsu, calling for salvation from the bodhisattva Amida, for much of his day; the Pure Land sects teach that each repetition brings salvation not only to the chanter but to all beings. An adult would ignore the old man mumbling same words over and over again, however the child’s sharp ears pick up the irregularities in sound, and his clear open mind recognizes the cause. Granddad is old, and the nembutsu ancient, however the child encompasses them both with fresh astute observation, mischievous humor, and no concern at all for salvation.

 

Basho said              

In renku, have a three-foot child find the link

 

A three-foot tall child would be age 5 or 6.  Children have the clarity of mind to get the point of renku.

 

 

Giving breast
to baby, something
she must say:
“Leaving thoughts behind,
Papa sent far away”

Strumming lute                            5: 105
from evening, she cries
past daybreak

 

With a mere two dozen words, the three poets create a world, complete with mother, father, and baby; breastfeeding and speaking to baby; the love between the couple; the sadness of him being transferred to a distant place; the melancholy notes of the lute together with her distraught sobbing, from evening through night into day.

 

Baby duck seems to be
interested in the water

Lake ripples -                                5: 119
waiting for lantern light
to end today

 

What is the nature of “interest,” how does a phenomenon such as ever-changing, always-the-same ripples attract human attention? Does a baby spotted-bill duck have enough brains in that tiny head to feel “intentness, concern, and curiosity” for ripples. Basho continues observing water, but instead of looking to a different species, looks to a different time. Apparently tonight will be a lakeside festival. Basho transcends time to see this water sparkle under lantern light – but can a baby duck envision the future?

 

Memorial service
in tears she recites
request for alms

A beautiful child                   5:150
asleep on her lap

Far from village
under cherry in bloom
broiling tofu
Butterfly goes crazy
inside netted hat

 

This quartet begins with a stanza by Etsujin about a woman at a memorial service for her husband, but the verse seems poorly written and the Buddhist terminology is confusing. Basho could have tried to clarify things with his stanza, but instead he drops the whole Buddhist death ritual to focus on living humanity: a baby with mind and heart uncluttered by adult considerations, in peace and harmony on mother’s lap, representing newness and hope in contrast with the oldness and death in the previous stanza.

Basho: the poet of positive humanity.

 

Basho says nothing about sadness, crying, or Buddhism, so the third poet is free to put this woman in an entirely different place and mood. Mother with infant on her lap, at a blossom-viewing picnic, she is an icon – a symbol for something greater than herself: mother and child surrounded by nature: under cherry blossoms, the most iconic of Japanese seasonal events; life sleeps on her lap while on a small fire she (or someone else) prepares food to sustain life. The next poet makes the woman under the cherry tree an aristocratic wearing a netted hat, and a butterfly gets inside and cannot find the way out

 

From here to 5: 163 is from a sequence of 36 stanzas composed by just two poets,

Basho and Etsujin, in 1688.

 

Not letting on his boots
rain falls at day break

As they part                               5: 157
ever so delicate and
fascinating

Beauty of her voice
when she has a cold

Sliding back                            5: 157
her tray with lunch
untouched

 

As her lover leaves in the morning to go out into the pouring rain, she stops his hands from pulling on his boots.  

Stay, just a little bit longer - Stay!


Basho replies with a focus on her delicacy and fascination which make men feel protective and want to stay with her. The respiratory hoarseness of a cold adds a different sort of delicacy and fascination to her voice.

Basho makes her silently return the tray with the lunch she has no appetite to eat. Her immune system is weakened by a cold, and food will only make it worse. Teenage girls may tell us the significance of this verse.

 

 

The shop is lonely,              5: 160
barley that he ground

Without a home
only wrapped in silk
mirror clear

What the miko thinks                 5: 160
is what she speaks

 

A shop owner has died, leaving behind the shop he worked in, and the barley he ground. The “mirror” in Etsujin’s stanza is the soul of the deceased, now a deity; according to Shinto, the soul is originally clear and free of sin, and when the person dies, the soul returns to that clarity. “Without a home” means no box for the mirror, no body for the soul.

 

The miko, or female shaman, goes into a trance to speak for the deceased soul. Etsujin portrays the masculine and dead; Basho the feminine and alive. A miko must be a virgin and therefore pure, so she can communicate with the other world. Her thoughts come from the divine, and in her innocence she does not filter or edit them, so the deity is speaking with her human mouth.

 

Wretched in her
distress she gazes at
the evening sky

In those clouds, whose               5: 161
tears are contained?

 

“She” could be an adolescent in turmoil, or a married or unmarried woman. Basho’s question really has no meaning, but may somehow console the lovesick or betrayed female.

 

 

The Moon passes
through the infinite sky
and disappears

Pounding cloth far away                 5: 162
dozing off on the saddle

 

Basho compliments the impersonal ephemerality in Etsujin’s stanza with body sensations and an awareness of women at work. The early morning sound enters his drowsy horseback consciousness as a pathway to the source of that sound, a woman pounding cloth to soften and smooth it. We drift back and forth between distant repetitive sound and waves of sleepiness, between physical reality and a dream, between infinite sky and a woman at work hidden but audible.

 

Majestic Chinese
gables on tile roof
of a herbalist

A child well-treated                    5: 163
should not be skinny

 

In our final pair from the sequence by Etsujin and Basho, the former sees a dealer in medicinal herbs so prosperous he has a roof of heavy ceramic tiles (most houses at this time had roofs of thatch). The impressive Chinese gables at the ends make the place look like a temple. Growing up in a rich house, where knowledge of herbal remedies and how to use them is second-nature, why is this child so sickly? Basho creates the question but gives not even a hint of an answer.

 

On his Chinese-
style hood scatter
cherry blossoms

Drunk from ox falling 5: 172
in the spring breeze

 

“Chinese-style” suggests elegance. The blossoms scattering on his head suggest his wild, unrestrained consciousness; he must be an eccentric poet-sage, so Basho puts him on an ox which suggests the greatest sage of them all, Lao Tzu, famous for riding an ox - however Basho mixes things up further by having the elegant but crazy sage so drunk he falls from the animal’s back. I like the way the cherry petals fall onto his hood and stop there; then, as he falls, they complete their journey to the ground.

 

Youngest daughter hates

the mole on her face

Robe for dancing 5: 180

aimlessly she folds it

inside the box

 

The mole does not interfere with her intelligence or body movement, but everyone who meets her sees it, and consciousness of this saps her self-confidence. Having growing up together with her sisters who have no moles, she hates the unfairness of this, but there is nothing she can do about it.  (When my three daughters were this age, they always used "hate" for things they disliked.  I always told them "hate" is too strong a word for this, but they continued using it - and so I use it here for this teenage girl's feeling.)

 

Someone who cares for the daughter’s happiness has given her a gorgeous robe for dancing in the local shrine festival, but she is too ashamed of her mole to show it to the whole town. Both stanzas are rich with physical specifics: “youngest daughter,” “mole,” and “face”; “robe,” “folds it,” and “inside the box.” The emotional kuyamu, “hates” flows nicely into the superb nameshiku, “aimlessly.”

 

For the hell of it
stealing single orchid

Dew heavy                                     5: 182
the monk in silence
opens the door

 

Someone immature has stolen a single orchid, thinking it would not be missed. From this human pettiness, Basho chooses a metaphor for Zen Buddhism: the world heavy with dew suggesting impermanence, the monk in utter silence opens the door to go out into the garden, as he opens the door to the Truth. The two stanzas portray two poles in the continuum of humanity, from the self-ignorance of a juvenile delinquent to the total self-awareness of the enlightened monk.

 

Fuji pilgrim’s                                5:192
straw backpack becomes
pillow of grass

For a while the Gods
Mother’s soul to keep

 

He climbs the mountain for a spiritual purpose, and travels light, at night resting his head on the straw bag he carried on his back. In the bad was a memento of his mother to dedicate to the gods, something that represented her hotoke, or Buddha nature, after death. He entrusts her soul to the Gods for as long as he stays up here on Mount Fuji. In both stanzas, sleep is the vehicle to the realm of a higher power which cares for the human soul

 

From emaciated breasts
squeezing tears of dew

In his absence                             5: 210
meal tray placed inside
mosquito net


Still sick and weak from a difficult delivery, she provides sustenance for a new life. “Tears of dew” are her tears falling on the baby, the thin watery fluid coming from her malnourished breasts, the summer sweat between two feverish bodies, the utter misery of their existence – while the father is… The net is a small one where she and the baby sleep. Sitting inside to eat and nurse the baby, her world is reduced to the smallest dimensions, as small as her hopes for herself and her baby, as miniscule as his concern for their welfare.

The diaphanous net hangs loosely over her with head tall in the center. Can this represent an emaciated breast with its nipple? The “meal tray” then is the milk-producing glands inside the breast.  Is this image too physical and fleshy for the poet-saint Basho?  No.  Basho frequently, in renku, writes of female body parts and activities. 

 

Thoughts of love, alone          5: 254
in this world of floating

When I try
to speak of this desire,
only stutter

 

In this pair, Basho is abstract and philosophical, although connected to the physical through that word “floating,” then the next poet goes for the body and physical activity. Stuttering occurs mostly in males (although one prominent female, Marilyn Monroe, had this problem). Can the person who stutters feel his tongue “floating”?

 

Waves make the misty
Mount Fuji move about

Inviting folks                        5:267
to the low-tide beach
for pickled squid

 

The vast mountain’s reflection within the water moves about with the coming and going of the waves. Basho gives this perception a location, on a beach at low tide where pools of water remain and also sea creatures lie about waiting to be gathered. The squid is soaked in vinegar – like the mountain in the water - to make ika namasu, pickled squid. Basho invites his friends over to share both the food and the visions of Mount Fuji in both air and water.

 

Arising to blow on embers,         5: 268
the wife of a bell ringer

Going and returning
she calls for her lost child
moonlight and stars

 

Before going to bed, she banked the fire, covering coals with ashes to remain alive till morning when she awakens them with her breath. Her husband wakes up the town, but Basho has eyes only for the wife, getting up in the freezing winter dawn to, like a goddess, wake up the fire. She may be blowing directly onto the coals, or through a bamboo tube. She is eternal, a goddess of fire, proclaimed by bells.

At night she alerts the town to her child being lost. Both stanzas focus attention on the woman, her breath and her activity expressed by an abundance of lively active verbs. The stars in the night sky resemble the glowing embers in the ashes of the fire pit.

 

Blackwood smoldering
shack hidden in a hollow

To whom can she                        5: 269
be given as a bride?
her thoughts of love

 

Blackwood burns slowly giving off dark heavy smoke that accumulates over the walls and ceiling and inhabitants. Basho then pinpoints the daughter living within this shack in a mountain hollow where the sun never shines; he reaches into her heart. There are no available bachelors in her world, no one to marry a girl so grimy with soot and rickets from vitamin D deficiency. All she can do is long for a love she will never know.

 

As I speak,                           5: 281
her face hidden by
folding fan

That sleep-tousled hair
a difficult boat ride

 

Basho creates a woman concealing her face from one who speaks to her – and we recognize the “shame” (or call it “shyness” or “embarrassment” or “discomfort”) which is central to Japanese social consciousness.

The second poet puts her on a boat one morning after a night of seasick sleeplessness.; her long black hair is a mess. She is on her way to the place on the boat where she can wash her face and fix her appearance so people can see her without her feeling uncomfortable, but she has not done so yet.

 

Today again                                  5: 288
on the Stone to worship
the Rising Sun

Washing grains of rice
white water cascade

 

I climb onto a boulder to get a good view of the sun emerging from the horizon. There I sits quietly, watching, absorbing the clear silent power of the Sun (Goddess). Rice grains after milling are coated with starch; before being cooked, they must be washed by moving the rice about in a bowl of water then pouring out the murky water – like white water in a cascade.

I cannot see the link between these two stanzas; maybe you can – so teach me.

 

Collective roof thatching
autumn in the village

Lowly women                          5: 298
serve nembutsu dancers
cups of tea

 

All the village men work together without charge to repair the thatch on each village roof before snow comes; they compete with each other to show how hard they can work, all for the common good. A troupe of missionaries chanting the nembutsu prayer for salvation, accompanied by drums and gongs, dances along the street in front of the house whose roof is being thatched. Women from the house come out to the road to give the dancers cups of tea. Following the altruism in the stanza before, we see that Basho is praising the women for their hospitality which is a form of altruism. Patriarchal society considers them “lowly women,” but this quality places them higher in Basho’s esteem.

 

There are times
when even cicadas
enter a dream

Twigs of the catalpa                   5: 299
block messages of love

Resentfully
wife hates being called
the farmer’s “field”

 

Basho following Chuang Tzu often has a butterfly entering a dream. Sora begins this trio with a variation on that theme: a cicada having a dream. These insects inhabit trees, emitting their constant nerve-reaching “cries.” Basho says that if a cicada can dream, can also desire love, and send out messages of that desire on their cries – like one does today on dating sites – but the countless tiny twigs block the transmission.

Somehow messages of love between a man and woman have been blocked, so he considers her just his “field” where he grows things.

 

Sled pulling
firewood, one path
through the snow

Each house’s warrior              5: 303
in winter seclusion

 

Prints left in the snow by a man pulling firewood on a sled suggest his hard life in winter. He is a warrior from spring to autumn, but must survive winter so he can back to his real occupation. In this mountain village one member of every house is a warrior, all waiting for spring when, like a vast area of snow melting from the mountains to flood the valleys, they can march to war. All that battle energy frozen and contained in Basho’s stanza, waits to flow freely in the vast waste of humanity that is war.

 

Summonned to the palace
ashamed by the gossip

Easing in                                    5: 304
her slender forearm
for his pillow

 

In The Tale of Genji, Kiritusbo “summoned” by the Emperor becomes his favorite. Other court ladies led by his senior consort spread rumors to shame her so she sickens and dies. Basho, however, aims for life, not death. In spite of the gossip about her and the shame it brings her, lying in bed beside him, she carefully, sensitively maneuvers her arm under his head without waking him, such is the delicacy of her devotion. Basho empowers women to overcome bullying and shame by concentrating on their feminine power.

 

Higashi Akimasa in his book The Love Poetry of Basho, notes that the sensuality in Basho’s stanza comes from the unspoken suggestion of “the form of woman’s body in the bedroom.” He says:

 

This is a truly sensual verse. Looking back over the history of Japanese tanka and renku, so daring   a love verse is unusual, however should we not be a little surprised that the author was Basho,   said to be a paragon of wabi and sabi?”

 

Higashi does not answer his rhetorical question, however I will. The notion that Basho is a “paragon of wabi and sabi” is an illusion, based on a narrow selection of impersonal and lonely haiku. Once we broaden our selection to include his linked verses, we find him to be a paragon of romance, passion, and physical sensuality.

 

Water forbidden
black hair’s distress -
At an age
to take care of dolls
she is lovely

Harp held in her hands                5: 317
heavy upon her lap

Even as a dream in a snooze,
no recall of being at court


She is not allowed to wash her hair for fear that wet hair will bring on more sickness. She lavishes her affection on dolls – developing her skills and self-confidence for taking care of babies. This is not the large koto but a smaller harp such as a zither. She hugs it on her lap as she would a doll, as she would a doll or a baby – and so we return to the second stanza. From Sukan’s ideal of loveliness, Basho jumps into body sensation; the words he uses – omotaki, heavy in weight; kakaeru, “hold in hands”; hiza, “lap” – all so physical and intimate.

 

The Japanese does not distinguish between present and past tenses. The next poet took Basho’s stanza about a child who “holds” a harp, and changed to an old woman who “held” the koto when she was a court lady decades ago. She drifts away in a snooze, yet her dreams contain no memories of what she did or said or knew during her years of service to the Empress – all that remains in her addled mind is the body-memory of the harp resting on her lap as she sat on her heels. So the poets play with and transform both music and time.

 

basho4humanity@gmail.com






<< Basho Renku Volume 4 B (K-14 ) (K-16) Basho Renku Section 6 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