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  >  New Articles  >  N-05


Attendant to a Child:

Trustworthy and Supportive as Sam Gamgee

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

At a gathering the evening of 15th: Basho wrote


The moon clear –
attendant to a child
scared by a fox

 

The standard meaning for the word chigo is infant or small child, and in this collectionBasho, as well as Sei Shonagon and Chigetsu, use it this way. Scholars however tell us that, in poetry, a chigo was the ‘boy lover’ of a pedophile; when the fox howls the boy clings to the man – the point of the verse, according to the scholars, being the man’s feeling for the boy. If it were true that Basho in his final poem on children advocated men having sex with young boys, then most of us would agree he was no spokesman for

children’s rights.

 

HOWEVER THERE IS NO WORD OF SEXUAL CONTENT ANYWHERE IN BASHO’S VERSE.


This haiku speaks only of: 1) the moon, 2) a fox, 3) a child, 4) being scared, and 5) an attendant.

All the rest we add in ourselves. Scholars assume that Basho was using the word chigo the way they use it – but I rather assume that Basho’s thoughts went deeper than theirs. Scholars do not think much about ordinary children growing up – but Basho did in so many verses the scholars ignore. Translating chigo as

‘boy-lover’ narrows the verse to a small group of men and boys. The way Basho wrote it, the verse applies to ANY child, boy or girl, and the attendant can be man, woman or older child – or the moon is the attendant. The choice is ours: does Basho’s final verse about children describe deviant male behavior, or the

universal need in children for a trustworthy and supportive companion?

 

The road is dark and in the cold moonlight even familiar things become fearsome shadows. Foxes in Japanese folklore bewitch people and make them do evil. The years have taught Basho that the fox’s howl is only the cry of another being lonely in the night – but how can a child know this? When things get scary,

every child needs someone bigger who can be trusted.

 

Some translators appear to believe that tomo in this verse is the character 友, ‘friend’ as in tomodachi, which encourages the sexual-friend interpretation. Basho however wrote it with the character 供for one who ‘attends, serves, takes care of, looks after.’ Sam Gamgee was Frodo’s attendant. Fans of

the Lord of the Rings agree that the most inspiring element in that epic is the heroic bravery of Sam in supporting Frodo through all they suffered. The attendant must struggle to maintain the strength and clarity to attend the hero. Near the end of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Sam comes close to succumbing:


…the night-sky was still dim and pale. There, peeking among the clock
wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star
twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out
of this forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and
cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small
and passing thing: there was light and high beauty forever beyond its reach.

 

Tolkien sees the small and meek draw power and hope from the distant star, as the child in this Basho verse does from the moon.


Child of poverty
hulling rice, pauses to
looks at the moon

 

Leonard Shlain, in his book Sex, Time, and Power  proposes that the human concept of ongoing time originated in a prehistoric woman from two clues: the cycle of the moon together with the cycle of her menses. She needed the two clues, one inside her body and one in the greater world, to realize that time continues, and this realization led to all human culture and technology. Basho recognizes the clue in the moon: as we observe Luna, learning how she changes her shape and schedule from night to night, in

stages that remain the same month after month forever, we learn the nature of Time; as Shlain puts it, we “see beyond the moon to the next month.” He says,


“A magical moment occurs in every child’s life when he or she realizes that
the moon is the child’s personal companion! As we move through the night
time landscape, approaching objects glide by and then recede in the
distance behind us. Not so the distant moon, which always keeps pace rice
alongside us… There is something vaguely comforting, especially to a
small child who has a natural fear of the dark, in knowing that the moon is a
reliable and faithful companion that will not only light the child’s way but
also be a steadfast companion during night time excursions.

 

Basho in just six words creates an epic confrontation; the child poised in the center of the verse between two eternal forces: fear of the Unknown on one side and Clear Light on the other. The verse is a profound work of deep relevance to all children and all those who care for children (because there is nothing sexual

going on between the attendant and the child). In order for the verse to empower children, we focus on its expression of the clarity of the trustworthy and supportive attendant.


Records from 8th Century Japan tell of people facing the rising full moon, clapping their hands twice before their faces, to worship the Buddha. By Basho’s time, nono-sama was a child’s name for both Moon and Buddha. Grandmothers taught their little grandchildren to bow and pray to nono-sama as the Moon rose into the sky. The folksong Nono-sama originated within the Pure Land sects whose kindergartens still teach it to small children.


Non-no Nono-sama Buddha
May I be gently hugged to the chest
of Mother I love, O Buddha.
Non-no Nono-sama Buddha
May I be firmly held by the hand
of Father I love, O Buddha
Non-no Nono-sama Buddha
As the holy lantern rises we see
the clear shining halo of Buddha

 

The song – like Basho poetry – focuses on body parts, physical action, and human affection. Both Mother hugging and Father holding are “attendants” to the child. The Buddha is usually depicted in paintings and sculpture with a halo around his head – and this halo is the Moon. 

 

 Here as he approaches his own death and merging with the infinite, Basho offers an “attendant” to walk along with the child on the path to knowledge: a man, woman, or older child as clear and trustworthy as the

Moon-Buddha.

 

basho4humanity@gmail.com






<< Purity of a Woman (N-04) (N-06) To My Neighbor: >>


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