Basho's thoughts on...
• What Children Do: Basho Honors the Young
• 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  >  Women in Basho  >  L-04


Women with Goddess

Basho explores the divine female

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

“The symbol of Goddess gives us permission. She teaches us to embrace

the holiness of every natural, ordinary, sensual dying moment"--

  Sue Monk Kidd -- and  Basho would agree.

 

Amaterasu is a Goddess of Purity, so She hates anything dirty. In the central myth of Shinto,

the Goddess’ brother, the Storm God Susano, spread shit on her seat and did other horrible deeds. 

His behavior so deeply shamed the Sun that She hid herself in a Rock Cave, leaving the world dark.

To lure Her out from the cave, the kamisama (divine spirits) forged a Mirror out of stars.

The eight million kamisama gathered before the Rock Cave in the darkness.

 

Heavenly Uzume stood on top of a bucket
and was possessed by the spirits to dance,
baring her breasts and lowering her skirt
to reveal her hidden parts.
The eight million kamisama laughed at this.
The Sun Goddess was perplexed:

 

“While I am hidden in this Rock Cave,
why does Uzume dance with joy
and the eight million kamisama laugh?”

Uzume replied, “Oh, a better Goddess than you
has appeared, so we enjoy”.

(Touché, Uzume)

 

So now, of course, the Sun had to open the door a crack to see what was going on.

Two kamisama lifted the Mirror to show Amaterasu the “other Goddess.”

She opened the door wider to get a better look and the Strongman of the Gods

was able to yank the Sun outside and put an end to this nonsense. 


Uzume, possessed to dance so the eight million kamisama would laugh, was Japan’s first miko or female shaman, as well as first dancer, comedian, and porno actress. She is still considered the ‘Goddess of Comedy.’

 

 

Basho wrote this single renku stanza about a 'woman with goddess,' a young female shaman and successor to Heavenly Uzume

 

 

What the miko thinks
is what she speaks

 

ものおもひ居る / 神子の 物云ひ

Mono omoi iru / miko no mono ii

 

 To become a miko a girl must be a virgin, so, according to Shinto belief, has the purity to communicate with the Sun Goddess and other kamisama.  Her thoughts come from the divine,  and in her innocence she does not filter or edit them, so actually the deity is speaking with her human mouth.

 

Basho’s stanza by itself resembles the spoken words of two of the most magnificent women in Shakespeare:
Rosalind in As You Like It:

 

Do you not know that I am a woman?
When I think, I must speak.

 

And in Othello, the dying words of Emilia:

 

So come my soul to bliss, as I speak true;
So speaking as I think, I die, I die.

 

 

Basho, Rosalind, and Emilia, each say that a woman should speak her mind, honoring the Truth, 

"embracing the holiness" of her spoken words. 

 

                                ----------------------------------------

 

Hokushi writes one stanza, and Basho follows with two stanzas:


Rain clears to cloudy
the loquats have ripened
The long slender
figure of a goddess
so gracefully
She wrings out red dye
into the white rapids

 

雨 晴れくもり /枇杷の つはる 也
細 長き/ 仙女 の 姿 / たおやか に
あかねをしぼる /水 の しら 浪

 

Ame hare kumori / biwa no tsuharu nari
Hoso nagaki / sennyo no sugata /taoyakana ni
Akane o shiboru / mizu no shira name

 

As the month of summer rains ends, the sky clears yet soon fills up with thick clouds bringing more rain. Also in this season biwa, or loquats, ripen: similar to plums, growing in clusters, oval, 1–2 inchs long,

skin smooth or downy yellow or orange; flesh succulent tangy,  flavor sweet to slightly acid. 

 

“Clouds and rain” in traditional Chinese and Japanese poetry suggests sexual intimacy, and “loquats have ripened” also is pretty suggestive. From these suggestions of sensuality in the sky and in fruit, Basho offers a sennyo, who Hiroaki Sato says is “a woman who has acquired magical powers, suggesting the legendary world of ancient China,”  Long and slender, she lies on a couch of clouds.  

 

Richard Bernstein in The East, the West, and Sex: A History of Erotic Encounters describes the Asian female body (without implants) as “more plum-like than melon-like of breast, spare rather than full of buttocks and hips." To 'get' the link, consider this one sentence of commentary in the BRZ: “Basho makes the ripening of biwa a symbol for the gracefulness of the goddess’ body.” In other words, to appreciate the human female sensuality of Basho's stanza, we have to experience the sensuality of biwa fruits. Basho tells us to feel, with our hands or our imagination, the rounded contours of the fruit, the skin and vital flesh beneath that skin, and compare to the contours of a slender curvaceous woman.


Basho then takes that goddess down from the sky, and places her beside a fast stream; her two hands squeeze fabric soaked in the red dye akane, madder, in opposite directions so the red liquid drops into the swift current. The red flowing away may suggest menstrual bleeding and the part of a woman that bleeds. Sato says Basho “painted with words a picture of a Chinese goddess that Utamaro – ukiyoe artist famous for sexual imagery – might have drawn with a brush.” This is a Basho not found in any other book or site: a Basho who appreciates both the physical sensuality of women as well as their spiritual divinity, a Basho

Walt Whitman would have appreciated

 

      The womb, the teats, nipples, breast-milk, tears, laughter,

      weeping, love-looks, love-pertubations and risings

                                                                                    Song of Myself 

 

Saying something,
the tree spirits echo
in spring breeze
Form of mountain goddess
disperses in the cascade

 

物 いえば /木魂 にひびく / 春 の 風
姿 は 瀧 に / 消える 山 姫

 

Mono ieba / kodama ni hibiku / yama no kaze
Sugata wa taki ni / kieru yama hime

 

Etsujin says the tree spirits echo words spoken in the spring breeze. Basho complements this vision with a yama hime dispersing within the rapids.  Japanese folklore contains a variety of yama hime, each from a different region, some beautiful and alluring, some ugly and monstrous, so people will get different impressions from Basho’s stanza. Many yama hime are evil, however the Basho Renku Anthology says that Basho’s stanza is “very charming.”   

 

The specific form of this "mountain goddess" is not so significant, for the point of the verse is Basho's vision of transformation between "the tree spirits echo" to the physical flowing water.  This transformation compares to his transformation from the goddess lying on the clouds to the mortal woman doing physical work beside the cascade.  Her spirit does not disperse to nothing in the rapids, but rather joins the flow to spread ever-changing out to the world.

 

                -------------------------------

 

One of the primal deities in Japanese mythology is the Goddess of the Well, Mizuho-nome-no-mikoto, who is paired with the male God of Water, Suijin.  The following tanka is anonymous, however Basho said it was:

 

                    A Crazy Verse of Adoration
As we ascend 
without confidence
the Gods roar
beside mouth of Well
we fall in to die

 

のぼるべく 頼り なければ 鳴る神の
井戸のそこにて 相果にける

 

Noboru beku / tayori nakereba / naru kami no 
ido no soko nite / aihate ni keru 

 

Basho calls this a "crazy verse" because, he, by himself, is seeing "adoration" - great love, devotion, respect - in the verse without any religious authorities telling him what to see.  He is forming his own "crazy" way to worship the female through the ancient mythology.

 

Water is drawn, or born, from the Well (Goddess), or Earth's vagina.  Water comes and goes, while the Well remains forever.  The ancient records says that  the first water of a well must be drawn by a man, for the presumably jealous Well Goddess would be angered by a woman doing so.

 

 We are born, as water is lifted from a well, without self-confidence, then grow up listening to the Gods Roar beside the well.  When we die, we return to the dark water deep within the well from which we are born again.  

 

                        --------------------------------- 

 

For the New Year of 1693 (on February 5th by the Wetern calender) Basho’s childhood and lifelong friend Ensui sent Basho a New Year’s letter telling the birth of his first granddaughter, including a haiku which compared the newborn girl to the first bit of green appearng on the tip of the buds to in a few days become plum blossoms. 

 

Basho replies on April 9 of 1693:

 

The plum blossom "only bud tip green”
shall be especially treasured.
I am happy you have a grandchild,
my joy as great as yours.

 

The baby’s immaturity just shows that the best is yet to come. Basho bonded to his friend experiences Ensui’s joy in his own chest. We cannot read this letter without feeling the warmth in Basho’s heart.

He expresses so clearly.


For the New Year of the next year, 1694, Basho sent another letter to his old friend:

 

In the spring of last year the scent of plum blossoms
I heard of ‘’only bud tip green,”
this year gradually become fragrant and colorful,
so I guess how much you love her.

 

Basho wishes that this year the whole tree will become fragrant and colorful, as Ensui’s granddaughter

who can now stand by herself goes out into the world with the same qualities. Basho transcends

the distance between them, feeling Ensui’s love for his granddaughter in his own heart.

He clearly, more clearly than any other male writer, affirms the worth of the infant female.

 

The following haiku is not in the letter to Ensui, though was written this spring, probably after Basho mailed the letter, but was still thinking about his childhood friend having a granddaughter.

 

Plum blossom scent --
Behold! the Sun rises
on mountain trail

 

梅が香に / のつと日の出る / 山路哉
ume ga ka ni / notto hi no deru / yamaji kana

 

Early February is the coldest time of the year, early morning the coldest time of the day, and mountains the
coldest and windiest place, yet wild plum blossoms are colorful and fragrant.


This haiku is one of Basho's most famous (in fact, it is inscribed on a stone near the entrance of a Shinto shrine near my house) yet the people who know it have no knowledge of Ensui’s granddaughter and Basho’s letters to Ensui, however consider

 

1)    the way Ensui and Basho used plum blossom's budding to represent the newborn girl, and Basho 

the scent of  plum blossoms for the baby becoming child, 

2)  that the major symbol for the entire nation is the Rising Sun (as on its flag: red circle on white sky)

3)  that in Japan the Sun is a Goddess;

 

then this haiku becomes praise for Ensui’s granddaughter as well for any female infant, and also an expression of goddess worship.

 

                          --------------------------------------

 

Miracles from

offerings to the Goddess
shining on blossoms
Bird of good fortune
builds nest with the hemp

 

花に照る / 太神宮の / 寄特也
幣に巣作る / 詫の鳥

 

Hana ni teru / oharaibako no / kitoku nari
Nusa ni su tsukuru / kototsuge no tori

 

A sheet of paper, traditionally of hemp fibers, is cut and folded in a zigzag pattern and attached to a wooden stick. The Ise Shrine produces these taima -- same Chinese characters and pronunciation as the psychoactive cannabis -- in great numbers, and priests take them in a box to distribute among houses who have supported the shrine; people wave the offering before the household shrine to ask a favor. Basho sees the Sun Goddess as sunlight shining on cherry blossoms.

 

The bird steal the hemp paper from the offerings; hemp fiber is strong, so makes a good nest for the bird who brings good fortune. Notice the links: from blossoms to bird; from hemp offered to the gods to hemp stolen by birds, from Goddess to female nesting bird, from miracles to good fortune.

 

So radiant a moon
As the goddess Lakshmi
Her divine
necklace adorns the mountain,
clouds at dawn

 

吉祥天女も /これほどの月
あつらえの瓔珞かくるあ山かづら

 

Kichijou tennyo / kore hodo no tsuki
Atsurae no youraku kakuru yama kazura

 

Basho relates the Moon to Kichijouten, the Japanese form of Lakshmi, the Hindu deity of happiness, fertility, and beauty. The name Lakshmi comes from the Sanskrit word Laksya, meaning ‘aim’ or ‘goal.’ From this root Lakshmi became the goddess of prosperity, both material and spiritual. She is the household goddess of most Hindu families and a favorite of women.  Basho suggests a merging of Indian and Japanese goddess worship. In the relationship between Lakshmi and the Moon, Basho sees four qualities converge:

 

                divine,  female,  shining,  and  hope-giving.


Shinshou extends these qualities to the clouds surrounding the mountain peak, clouds shining with light from the Sun still below the horizon, adorning it with Lakshmi’s jeweled necklace.

 

                                        ----------------------------------

 

Is her image
shining under Heaven?
the Moon’s face

 

影は天の /下照る姫が /月の顔
Kage wa ame no / shita teru hime ka / tsuki no kao

 

The “her” in this verse is not Amaterasu, but rather another Sun-Goddess. Long ago various parts of Japan were run by clans.  Anthropologist Michael Ashkenazi explains: the Yamato clan based around Nara defeated the Izumo clan from the Japan Sea coast. When the Izumo clan joined the Yamatos, they brought along their Sun Goddess – however the Yamatos already had a Sun-Goddess – so the Yamato one became the Heavenly kami Amaterasu, and the Izumo one the Earthly kami “Under-Shining-Pricess.  Basho’s verse  is a play on her name, but also a serious and multi-faceted goddess worship poem.

 

Basho at age 22 seeks to see the ‘image’ of the Sun-goddess in the Moon—although in Japanese mythology the Moon is male. The majority of cultures see the Moon as female because of her 29 day cycle of waxing and waning which determines women’s menstrual cycle. Basho’s vision of the divine female Moon as a reflection of the Sun-goddess is profound from a spiritual point of view as well as being scientifically accurate—the light that seems to be coming from the Moon is actually from the Sun. So this 22 year old guy still living in his home town is proposing a revision of Shinto mythology to see the female in both Sun and Moon.

 

Ragged and tattered
the goddess works at night
as maple leaves fall
In smoke from the lantern
she appears as the Moon

 

つづれとや / 仙女の夜なべ / 散紅葉
瓦灯 の 煙 に / 俤 の 月


Tsuzure to ya / sennyo no yonabe / chiru momiji 
Gatou no kemuri ni / omokage no tsuki

 

“Ragged and tattered” are her family’s clothes that need mending before winter comes, and the scene of deciduous trees as leaves disappear in autumn. “Night work” are the jobs she does at night while the rest of the family sleeps. The next poet gives her a lantern to light up her work; like a genie she appears in smoke.

 

                                  ----------------------------------

 

The Buddhist temple, Hase-dera in Sakurai (between Yoshino and Nara) founded in the year 686, has long been a place of pilgrimage for women. Many noble women and ladies-in-waiting at the imperial court in Kyoto came here to pray to the famous Eleven-Faced Kannon, a 30-foot tall statue in relief of the Goddess of Mercy, carved from a single log of camphor, the largest wooden image in Japan.


Kannon, originally when Buddhism existed in India, was the saint Avalokitesuara, a male disciple of the Buddha who, as the religion spread through China to Japan, became a female ‘Bodhisattva’ (one who could leave this world and enter Nirvana, but chooses to stay here to help others). Buddhist officials and scholars maintain that Kannon is male, yet stronger is the desire of the people for a goddess to heal their sorrows. Kannon, in other lands, is called Mary, or in other times the Egyptian goddess Isis.

The English-language tourist brochure for Hase-dera says of Kannon:


His name is consisted of two parts. KAN means ‘to observe’ and ON means ‘sounds’ or ‘voice.

We can hear sounds or voices, but cannot look at them. But Kannon can. It is just like that a mother
understands what her baby wants by hearing his cry.


So the name itself suggests a maternal ability to listen so well that listening becomes seeing – although the priests who wrote this brochure still call Kannon “he.” Michael Ashkenazi says of Kannon, “for most people she (yes, “she”) carries the possibility of restoring and continuing life.’’

 

Women in Japan commonly pray to the Goddess of Mercy for love, to bear a child, for a child to succeed in school or life, or for relief from hardship. I believe that to appreciate this haiku, we must draw the spiritual energy suggested in  Basho’s headnote into his haiku, so we feel the female energy of  Kannon-sama and Hase Temple in the haiku.

 

At the Kannon Temple in Hase:

 

Night in spring –
one hidden in mystery
temple corner

 

Finally, by the end of April in central Japan, enough warmth has accumulated so even the nights are warm and tranquil. It is a time for the heart to find solace and renew hope. Taking off our shoes at the entrance, we step quietly onto the finely polished hardwood floor. Before us rises Kannon-sama, five times our height, the compassion in her face and figure radiating to every corner of the temple. Over there, in a corner, someone barely seen in the faint lantern light sits in communion with the Goddess.

Who is she? Why has she come here alone at night? What is she praying for?


Basho scholar Kon Eizo says

 

“in the one now hidden before my eyes, the images (of all the women who came to Hase-dera

in the past) pile up one on top of another to attract my heart.” 

 

By making a poem about the hidden woman, Basho eulogizes her; as conduit between spring and Kannon, she herself becomes eternal. This woman and her prayers to Kannon-sama convey a tender mystery known in temples and churches throughout the world – this world where men make decisions, but men are inconstant, and all women can do about this is pray to a goddess for compassion. NIGHT IN SPRING creates a link between women suffering in the 17th Century and women trapped in the same patriarchal system today.

                        ---------------------------------------------

 

Basho wrote both of these stanzas, but not together. I have put them in succession to form a most magnificent tanka; this the single place in Basho4Humanity where I join stanzas not originally together.

 

Today again
on the Stone to worship
the Rising Sun
She bumps Her forehead
on peak of Mount Fuji

 

今日もまた / 朝日を拝む /石のうえ
日 に 額 を うつ / 富士の 峰 上げ

 

Kyou mo mata / asahi o ogamu / ishi no ue
Hi ni gaku o utsu / fuji no mine age

 

I climb onto a boulder to get a good view of the sun emerging from the horizon. There I sit quietly, watching, absorbing the clear silent power of the Sun (Goddess). If you wish to give the word 'stone' another meaning, go ahead: the verse belongs to us.

 

We must be somewhere west of Mount Fuji, far enough away to see the peak against the horizon. The Sun

has a female face, and as she rises behind the ultimate mountain of Japan, She bumps her forehead

on the jagged peak. Ouch! Our worship of the Sun Goddess contains a bit of humor.

 

Whether you are Japanese or Asian, American, European, African, Australian, or Pacific Islander, can you worship the Divine Sun in Basho's image? 

 

                               ------------------------------------

 

Basho’s several hundred poems about women children, friendship, love, and compassion may be the most pro-female, child-centered, and life-affirming works in world literature.


I pray 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
https://www.basho4humanity.com
twitter: @Basho4H

 

 






<< Oppression of Women (L-03 ) (L-05) Pregnancy to Birth >>


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...
• What Children Do: Basho Honors the Young
• 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