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-14


Woman's Love:

A many splendored thing

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

"The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides."  Audrey Hepburn.  

 

Women’s Love

 

“Basho love poetry” may sound like a contradiction in terms, for the imagf Basho as “impersonal, detached, and objective” is well-established in this world - although false. If we go beyond his haiku to look into his far

more numerous renku, we find vast resources of romance, passion, and sensuality, as well as other feelings 

associated with love: shame, embarrassment, disappointment, frustration.  

 

 

Summoned to the palace
ashamed by the gossip
Easing in
her slender forearm
for his pillow

 

宮 に めされし /うき名はずかし
手枕 に / ほそき 腕 を /さし入れて

 

Miya ni mesareshi / uki na hazukashi
Ta-makura ni / hosoki kaina o / sashi-irete

 

Sora portrays the rivalries among court ladies at the Imperial Palace – as in The Tale of Genji where a young woman, Kiritusbo,“summoned” by the Emperor, becomes his favorite. Other court ladies, led by his senior

consort, spread rumors about Kiritsubo; being women themselves, they know exactly how to shame a young woman, and she eventually sickens and dies.


Basho, however, aims for life, not death. The woman in his stanza, despite the gossip about her and the shame it brings, lying in bed beside him, carefully maneuvering 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 The Love Poetry of Basho notes the sensuality comes not from the words about the body – “her slender forearm” – but rather from the unspoken suggestion of “the form of woman’s body in the

bedroom.” Higashi says

 

“This is a truly sensual love-stanza. 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 (lonely desolation)?”

 

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 haiku. Once we broaden our selection to include his linked verses, he becomes a paragon of romance, passion, and physical sensuality.


Waves cover the rock
then they reveal it
As the pines
are battered and twisted
such is love

 

塩こす岩の /かくれあらわれ
打ちやがむ /松にも似たる /恋をして

 

Shio kosu iwa no /kakure-araware
Uchi-yagamu /matsu ni mo nitaru/ koi o shite

 

The ‘rock’ is his heart -- one minute clear and trustworthy, the next minute hidden and unreliable. My heart’s turmoil as he keeps on changing signals is what the pines close to the sea endure during storms. This Basho is so passionate!

 

The boss pretends
not to see their love
yet he knows
Figures half hidden
behind the umbrella

 

見ぬふりの / 主人に恋を / しられけり
すがた半分 / かくす傘

 

Minufuri no / shujin ni koi o / shirarekeri
Sugata hanbun / kakusu karakasa

 

Walking together in town, the lovers are surprised to see, and be seen by, “the boss”. He is cool and does not say a word, but her heart shrinks with haji -- shyness, bashfulness, embarrassment. She wonders what he is thinking: does he imagine her naked and doing IT, does he condemn her for having sex without marriage? She clutches the handle to make the umbrella cover as much as possible without any movements that might attract the boss’s attention.


Miyawaki Masahiko, in Basho’s Verses of Human Feeling, says, “Probably no other following stanza so well expresses the sense of shame felt when one’s love becomes known to others."

 

Miyawaki’s comment carries this stanza-pair deep into the diverse realms of anthropology. Japan is said to be a “shame culture” rather than the “guilt cultures” of the Judeo-Christian world. Miyawaki is Japanese and writes about Japanese people, in particular Japanese women, but what about us, people in all sorts of different cultures, with different perceptual realities of love, young or old, married or unmarried, do we, or did we long ago, feel “shame” (or embarrassment or whatever we call it) when together with a sexual partner we are seen by an authority figure who gets the picture.

 

Chopping greens
to serve on top of rice,
thoughts elsewhere
Not out with the horse
but inside making love
Thread seller
coming after four o’clcok
a wrong sound

 

上おきの /干葉刻むも/うはの空
馬に出ぬ日も /内で恋する
株モフ七つ /さがりを音づれて


Uwa-oki no /hoshiba kizamu mo /uwa no sora
Uma ni denu hi ha / uchi de koi suru
kasekai no nanatsu / sagari no otozurete

 

A servant girl chops dried vegetable leaves to serve on top of rice, but her mind is “elsewhere” Where is that? Basho answers: with her lover who is a packhorse driver. She wishes for a day they can both have off, so they can hang together. She wishes for not greens on top of mounds of soft white rice, and him on the horse, but him on top of her soft flesh; She wants him “inside making love,” inside a house, instead of out on the field where they usually make out, but also inside her.

 

In case we think Basho is not thinking of sex, the next poet assures us that he is. The thread seller collects thread spun by girls as piece-work, and goes around door-to-door selling it. Apparently he showed up later than expected and spied on the lovers, but made a sound which did belong so they noticed. “Coming” has the usual double meaning, one meaning for the thread seller, one for the lovers.

 

 

Folding the robe she wore,
placing irises in the folds --
Osan the daughter’s
name, afterwards, her
thoughts of love

 

たたむ衣に / 菖蒲折置
さんという/ 娘は後の/ものおもひ

 

Tatamu koromo ni / shoubuu ori oku
San to iu musume wa / ato no mono omoi

 

This is the robe she wore when she was with him. Irises are folded into clothing in storage to keep away bugs, but her feelings here are more romantic. The flower tucked away between the folds may be erotic, if we wish it so.”Afterwards” is a most suggestive word. Mono omoi, literally “thoughts of things” is an idiom for love or love’s desire.


Basho focuses on the female. Providing her with a name gives her an identity; with no male presence in the verse, he is only there in her memory. In the link between the stanzas is the teenage girl’s experience of first love.


Taro patch torn up,
the wild boar returns
Child of poverty
learns to wait for love
in the autumn wind

 

のだ打つ猪の / 帰る芋畑
賤の子が / 待恋習う / 秋の風

 

Noda utsu shishi no / kaeru im-batake
Shizu no ko ga / matsu koi narau /aki no kaze

 

The tuber taro grows in patches of enormous flappy leaves shaped like elephant-ears. The wild boar, a stout and ungentle beast with vicious tusks, really wants the underground starchy corms – however the leaves get in his way. The mess of ragged and torn elephant-ear leaves suggests, to Basho, the turmoil in the heart of one who waits in vain for love. His stanza -- with or without the wild boar  -- goes out to all impoverished youths who learn to wait for love in a thin jacket allowing in the chill wind.


Winter solstice on porch
my desperation for love!
No matter how
I make up and dress,
he gazes not back

 

冬至の 縁に / 物おもいます
けはえども /よそえど も 君 /かえりみず

 

Touji no en ni / mono omoimasu
Kewaedo mo / yosoedo mo kimi / kaerimizu

 

December 22nd, the Sun at its most distant point from us, his heart so distant from mine, how my desperation increases. Placing the scene on a porch attached to the house provides a background for us to imagine. Basho continues the focus on the female with concrete and specific female activities. She uses all her skill with cosmetics and clothing, and looks at him with all the charm she can muster, yet he does not return her gaze.

 

From the kitchen calls
voice of a servant girl
Passageway
to the second-story
a bit far, but. . .

 

 

台所より /下女のよびごえ
通路の /二階はすこし / 遠けれど

 

Daitokoro yori / gejo no yobigoe
Tsuuro no / nikai wa sukoshi / tōkeredo

 

Basho focuses on the sound of a female voice, and places that sound in a specific place; a kitchen. The next poet moves from the kitchen through a narrow passageway to a room on the second-floor. This is where her boyfriend, another servant, resides. So this is a love poem. Needing to searching for the unstated and hidden meaning makes the poem interesting.


Inkstone she keeps away,
love restrained increases
Rainy night
one at the window
is consoled

 

硯法度と / 恋やせかるる
夜の雨 / 窓のかたにて /なぐさまん

 

Suzuri hatto to / koi yasekaruru
Yoru no ame / mado no kata nite / nagusaman

 

Here is a woman with love remaining for one married to another. She forbids herself access to her ink stone for fear she will lose control and write a letter to him, revealing her secret. She holds back her desire which gathers like water against a dam. Basho switches to the heavy constant rain that falls in the Japanese night. She sits at the window – which, because this is Basho4Now, we are free to imagine with glass -- and stares into the darkness and rain. Somewhere in those primeval phenomena, she finds consolation.


So many changes
have occurred in my
love affairs
In this floating world
all end as Komachi
For what reason?
given rice gruel to sip,
eyes fill with tears

 

さま々に / 品かわりたる / 恋をして
浮世の果は / 皆小町なり
何故ぞ / 粥すするにも / 涙ぐみ

 

Samazama ni / hin kawaritaru / koi o shite
Ukiyo no hate wa / mina Komachi nari
nani yue zo / kayu susuru ni mo / namida gumi

 

Love affairs can end as sadly as they did for Ono no Komachi, the most beautiful women Japan ever produced; when her beauty was all gone, she became a lonely old beggar. Like Komachi, this woman regrets the loss of those attributes which used to bring her love.

 

Someone gives her bowl of nourishing rice gruel; she sips it while tears of gratitude fall

on her aged wrinkled face to  mix with the gruel drooling from her mouth. What is her story?

how did she fell this far into misery?

 

How many moons
shall young pines be hidden
in your belly
Asking the servant girl
beside the cliff, no reply
Spring water flows
on the shore, will you stand
against the current?

 

幾月の / 小松がはらや / 隠すらん
とえど岩根の / 下女はこたえず
磯清水 / 汝ながれを/ たてぬかと

 

Iku gatsu no / komatsu ga hara ya / kakusuran
Toedo iwane no / gejo wa kotaezu
Iso shimizu / nanji nagare o / tatenu ka to

 

Basho asks a question of a woman who drank herbs to induce abortion. In a famous tanka by Ki no Tsurayuki, “young pines” evoke the memories of a child who has died. How long will the spirit of the child never born remain within you? Issun sends Basho’s question to a servant girl, adding a bit of information,

 yet deepening the secrecy. Basho then asks her another personal and intimate question: “Will you yield to the hormones 0f desire, urging you to produce more life?

 

He pulls his carriage in
the neighbor’s gateway
“Fickle one,
under hedge of spikes
you must crawl!”
Now, before he leaves,
she hands him his sword

 

隣 を かりて / 車 引きこむ
うき人を / 枳穀 垣 より /くぐらせん
いまや 別れ の / 刀 差し 出す

 

Tonari o karate / kuruma hikikomu
Uki hito o /kitoku kaki yori / kugurasen
Ima ya wakare no / katana sashi dasu

 

She still loves him, but sick and tired of him playing around with other women, she has closed her front gateway (double meaning alert). He parks his vehicle in the neighbor’s spot to enter a side door. Between the two properties stands a hedge of a tall citrus scrub whose branches divide into twigs ending in inch-long daggers. She thinks “If you want me, suffer as much pain as you caused me!!” He passed through the ordeal, and they slept together. A samurai always carries his sword – except in bed. In the morning, she hands him the “sword” which is the manhood he lost last night crawling on the dirt like a worm. He crawls back under the hedge to his carriage and leaves. The cycle is complete.

 

Not letting on his boots
rain falls at day break
As they part,
ever so delicate and
fascinating

 

足駄はかせぬ / 雨のあけぼの
きぬぎぬの /あまりかぼそく /あてやかな

 

Ashida hakasenu /ame no akebono
kinuginu no /amari kabosoku/ateyaka na

 

As her lover leaves to go out into the pouring rain, she stops his hands from pulling on his boots: "Stay, stay, stay – just a little bit longer.” Basho replies with a focus on her delicacy and fascination which make men feel protective and want to stay with her.


In her haste
nowhere can she find
the lamp oil,
She steps on his boil
so parting is wretched

 

いそがしと / さがし かねたる / 油 筒
ねぶ と 踏まれて / 別れ 詫び つつ

 

Isogashito/sagashi-kanetaru/abura-tsutsu
Nebu to fumarete / wakare wabi tsutsu

 

 

The human story and a bit of slapstick comedy. She has to get him away from her house before dawn so neighbors will not see him. She has the lantern but stumbles about in the dark searching for the bamboo flask of oil. (The futons lie on the tatami, so there is no difference in height.) Then she steps on his boil, which is excruciatingly painful for him. In his night robe he screams “Owww!” while she struggles frantically and obsessively to apologize. The minutes pass by and the sky lightens. When finally he leaves, they do not feel so comfortable with each other.

 

Four or five play women
wander about the boonies
In these scribbles
I see ... the name
of your darling

 

遊女 四五 人 / 田舎 わたらひ
落 書 に / 恋しき 君が / 名 も ありて

 

Yuujo yongo nin / inaka watarai
Rakugaki ni / koishiki kimi ga / na mo arite

 

Sone Hiromi, who has studied the Edo-era sex trade, says

 

“instances of individual prostitution in which a woman made a living without an employer or anyone watching over (or living off) her were extremely rare.”

 

"Play-women" usually did prostitution inside a brothel or "tea-house"; if they traveled about, they had pimp to protect them and make sure customers paid.  Here, however, are independent sex-workers who travel together in a group strong enough to handle anyone who gives them trouble.  Because they are free,

not slaves, they study the nature of love. In graffiti written on the wall at an inn, one of them sees a female name written with so deep a love that it is visible in the scribbles. She smiles at this evidence of love in

someone she has and never will meet. She speaks to him across the barriers of space, time, and circumstances. In the long pause in the middle segment is Basho’s vision of love.

 

Sister waits for cowherd’s
late returning shadow
Chest conflicted,
crepe fabric of Echigo
she cannot weave

 

姉 待 牛 の /おそき 日 の 影
胸 あはぬ / 越 の 縮 を / おりかねて

 

Ane matsu ushi no / osoki hi no kage
Mune awanu / koshi no chijimi o / orikanete

 

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

 

He stays for two nights
before his enemy’s gate --
Sweeping away
dreams, on the field stands
a Jizo statue
Longing for a wife’s love?
call of a mountain dog

 

敵 の 門 に/ ニ夜寝にけり
かき消える / 夢 は 野中 の /地蔵にて
妻 恋 するか / 山 犬 の 声

 

Kataki no mon ni / futayo ne ni keri
Kaki-kieru / yume wa nonaka no / jizou nite
Tsuma koi suru ka / yama inu no koe

 

Seeking to kill his enemy rather than be killed, he waits hour after hour with his weapons before the gate, knowing not when or how the other will appear, sweeping dreams from his drowsy mind. In the nearby field stands a statue of the bodhisattva Jizo, Buddhist Guardian of the Roads who comforts those in distress and assists those in need. The warrior calls on Jizo for strength to stay awake and stay alive.


That lonely cry in the distance, is it real or in a dream? Is the ‘dog’ a real dog or a metaphor for man who seeks a wife to comfort him in distress and assist him in need. Here is the life of a warrior: his struggles against male enemies and against nature (the need to sleep), his use of religion to justify these

struggles, then ( f rom Basho) his longing for female love.

 

Blackwood smoldering
shack hidden in a hollow

To whom can she

be given as a bride?
her thoughts of love

 

黒木ほすべき / 谷かげの小屋
たがよめと/ 身 を やまかせむ / 物 おもい

 

Kuroki hosubeki / tani kage no koya
Taga yome to / mi o yamakasemu / mono omoi

 

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.

 

Although summer
neck sinks into collar
thinking of love
An account of my prayers
shows they are worthless

 

夏ながら / 襟ふるふると /ものおもい
祈るしろしの / かいなくもあれ

 

Natsu nagara / eri furufuru to / mono omoi
Inoru shiroshi no / kai naku mo are

 

Neck sinks into her collar” is a physical sensory avenue to her inner feelings: not only is she disappointed by the failure of gods to fulfill her desires: she no longer believes they listen at all, or that they even exist.

 


While crossing this river
I meet my deceiver
From the Deep North
a thousand men could pull
the rock his heart
Who shall pick up the love
I am throwing away?

 

此川越えは /うき人に逢う
みちのくの/ 千引の石も /こころあれ
かく捨てし世を / 誰ひろう恋

 

Kono kawa goe wa / uki hito ni au
Michinoku no / chibiki no ishi mo / kokoro are
Kaku suteshi yo o / taga hirou koi

 

I meet him by chance on a ferry boat; the situation is not very comfortable for either of us, although the river goes on flowing. The rock so heavy it can only be moved by a thousand men pulling on ropes tied around it; so I can never bring his heart to mine. With no possibility of fulfillment, I can only throw away the love I feel.

 

Weak in love
the royal princess’s
royal words
Along with her nurse
she has an iron shield

 

恋よわし / 内親王の / 御言葉
乳母さえあらば /くるがねの楯

 

Koi yowashi / naishinnō no / on-kotoba
Menoto sae araba / kurugane no tate

 

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

 

As the owl
hiding not herself
will grasp love
Tears she shall compare
to falling horse chestnuts

 

梟の /身をもかくさぬ / 恋をして
なみだくらべん / 橡落ちる也

 

Fukurou no / mi o mo kakusanu / koi o shite
Namida kuraben / tochi ochiru nari

 

“The daughter in a box” hides in her house, as an owl in the forest, occasionally heard but never seen,

until she emerges swiftly on silent wings to “grasp” love. Basho is pessimistic: she will only find sorrow.

Horse chestnuts are large, bulky, and misshapen.

 

 

The stanzas previous to the following focused on the coming of spring.  Basho continues, then two other

poets contribute, and Basho concludes the quartet:

 

Her futon rolled up

she dreams of love
Relationship
ruined because an asshole
lives next door
Monk with beggar’s bowl
brought inside to listen
She cries about 
what happened in secrecy
roof of  thatch

 

 

ふとん丸げて /ものおもい居る
不届きな / 隣と中の / わるうなり
はつち坊主を /上へあがらす
泣く事の / 密かに出来し / 浅ぢふに

 

Futon marugete / mono omoi iru
Futodoki na / tonari to naka no / warau nari
Hatsuchi bouzu o / ue e agarasu
Naku koto no / hisoka ni dekishi / asa jiu ni

 

Basho follows a stanza on the coming of spring by creating a young female, full of life gathering inside her, ready to flow out. She sits on the floor mat leaning against the futon – in evening, still rolled-up – wondering about, wishing for love. The futon behind her pelvis suggests what is rolled up inside that pelvis. She wishes to spread the futon out, and her body on it, so spring can come to her loins.

 

 The girl who dreamed of love has lost her relationship with somebody she loved or wanted to love. This is the fault of the “asshole who lives next door” – Hiroaki Sato translates this as “insolent neighbor” – but I believe she is too pissed off for polite words. The KBZ offers this possibility: the girl and neighbor boy grew up as childhood friends, and were becoming lovers, when his father broke it up.


The beggar monk is usually driven away from the gate or kitchen door, but here the angry girl brings him into the house so she can share her disappointment and frushtration with him in ways she cannot manage with members of her household. Whatever he has suffered to bring him to this decrepit state enables him to feel her misery. By bringing in this totally unrelated man who has been rejected by society to interact with the girl who has no position in society, the poet challenges us to expand our minds to the diversity of possible communications between two people marginalized by patriachy.  

 

She lives in a nice house, but on the property is an old hut with a thatched roof for storing farm and

garden tools. She tells the monk what she and the boy did under the thatch to make his father the asshole angry.  Basho explores what is hidden and secret, the desires we are programmed to feel, the behaviors worldwide and throughout time to fulfill those desires, the shame and social consequences of making love

in secrecy.

 

 

basho4humanity@gmail.com






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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