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-03


Oppression of Women

Basho Tells Herstory

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

“Criticism of women’s intelligence, autonomy, and moral worthwas essential to the total

subordination of women that society demanded.”   Historian Tokuza Akiko xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

L-1     Verses Only First Half

L-2     Verses Only Second Half

 

Verses with commentaries plus originals and Romanization

 

L-13       Women in Buddhism

L- 14      Woman's Love

L- 15      Marriage for Women

L- 16      Willow and Blossoms,

L-17       Rice, Moon, Snow

L-18   Oppression

L- 19      Death and Near Death

L- 20      Brothel Slavery

 

 Oppression of Women

 Mysogny was common throughout Japanese society, however  Basho was an exception. In his linked verse he either praises the woman, or observes her without judgment – and in some verses he portrayed the oppressive conditions which stifled women in his time. His linked verses about the oppression of women, as well as those empowering women, reveal a feminism in Basho within his misogynistic society.

 

 

 A secret man, for shame!
 your life so wretched!     
 your life so wretched!     
Clinging to mama
she turns her back on
the Moon’s orb     
       

 

密 夫 はぢよ / いのちつれなき

母の 親 に / あまえて月 を / 背け おり

 

Ma-otoko wa haji yo/ inochi tsurenaku

Haha no oya ni / amaete tsuki o / somuke ori

  

A young woman had a “secret man,” i.e. a married lover, but that relationship has ended, leaving her in shame; in a patriarchal society, the shame of an illicit relationship bears entirely on the woman. Basho takes her to the arms of her mother who quiets her down, helping her accept her shame and go on with her life. The daughter turns her back on the Moon which represents female sexuality – what got her into this mess in the first place. She hides from the Moon, facing into mother’s body.

          

Vulgar words to insult

 

the wife and daughter
All the guests
sit there cold, freezing
at the kotatsu

 

嫁とむすめに / わる口をこく
客は皆 /さむくてこおる / 火燵の間

 

Yome to musume ni / waruguchi o toku
Kyaku wa mina / samukute kooru / kotatsu no ma

 

Father (who may be drunk) insults his wife and daughter,  saying the most horrible, vulgar things.  In a misogynistic society, abuse of women is so commonplace no one pays attention to it. Shiko, though he is a Japanese man, does pay attention. He portrays the oppression of females common in Japan, yet in his stanza occurrs in a vacuum.  Basho could have followed with more about the wife and daughter, but this is not what he does; instead he creates an environment and other people around that oppression.

 

 A kotatsu -- a heater (charcoal in Basho’s time, electric in ours) with a table on top and blanket to hold the warmth around the lower body while sitting -- is square and provides seating for four people, so probably the father is sitting with three guests.  The mother and daughter – in this society – would not be sitting at the kotatsu, but rather preparing or serving food and drink to father and his guests. Father insults the females even when visitors are over, saying the most horrible vulgar things, while the guests sit there shocked by what they are hearing; frozen in place, even sitting at a warm kotatsu. We imagine how much worse his abuse is when no guests are present. Basho thus completes and fulfills Shiko’s feminist vision, yet leaves us to imagine how the wife and daughter support eachother against his misogny. 


Startled by clappers
a window in the thicket
Sister cries
for her life married
to a thief

 

鳴子 おどろく/ 方 藪 の 窓
盗 人 に /連れ添う妹が / 身をなきて

 

Naruko odoroku / kata yabu no mado
Nusubito ni / tsuresou imo ga / mi o nakite

 

Here is a house (or shack) where the residents feel threatened; they startle at ordinary autumn sounds in a rice-growing village: the clatter of noisemakers hung over fields of ripening grain to scare away hungry birds. They allow the trees and shrubs surrounding the house to grow wild, so from the road only one window can be seen. Is that window an eye watching the road, armed and ready, to defend his freedom?

 

Basho continues, clarifying that the householder is a thief, yet focusing on the woman married -- probably without license or ceremony --- to this creep. Chosetsu’s stanza is profound social realism, but a masculine, anti-social reality. Basho looks rather at the female side of the gender coin. We imagine the husband's  lack of concern for how she feels, along with her constant anxiety over her husband’s occupation. When the clappers sound, she startles, wondering what will happen to her when ‘they’ come to take him.


My thoughts go to Nancy in Oliver Twist, also married to a thief, the despicable Bill Sikes. Nancy participated in the evil of Fagin’s gang, yetwhen the time came, she fought courageously for life and decency. Hear her hysterical screaming at Fagin:

 

It is my living; and the cold, wet, dirty streets are my home;
and you're the wretch that drove me to them so long ago,
and that'll keep me there, day and night, day and night, till I die!"

 

Chosetsu’s stanza leads me to the warped humanity of Fagin and Sikes as the police and mob closed in on them, while Basho’s stanza reveals the tragedy of Nancy, but also her liveliness and integrity.

 

“Weak as green willow”
the wife is despised -
‘Path of blood’
her day-by-day misery
in the spring rain
She drops a tea bag
in steam from her chest

 

青 柳 よわき / 女房 あなづる
血の道 気 / うらみ 幾日の / 春 の 雨
胸のけぶりに /さがす茶袋

 

Aoyagi yowaki / nyōbo anazuru
Chi no michi ki / urami ikka no / haru no ame
Mune no keburi ni / sagasu cha-bukuro

 

Willow branches are pliant and flexible, submissive to every breeze, so we may think them weak. Women too are flexible, and in a patriarchal society expected to submit to every male desire. Men admire strength and rigidity, despising the flexibility of willows or women, as they despise the ‘path of blood’ from women’s reproductive organs, and also the sickness that comes with bleeding. During her period the long spring rains make this woman feel weaker and more shameful. Basho offers her some relief: she boils the herbal tea bag in the steam from her inflamed heart.

 

Company boss
got our chrysanthemums,
what a pain!!
Strict not to let his
daughter meet people

 

御 頭 へ / 菊 もらはるる / めいわくさ
娘 を 型う / 人 に あわせぬ

 

O-kashira e / kiku morawaruru / meiwakusa
musume o katau / hito ni awasenu

 

A teenage girl speaks: “We carefully cultivated those chrysanthemums in a vase, but the boss come to visit and made such a fuss about how beautiful the flowers were, that father had no choice but to give them to the jerk! Losing the flowers is not a big deal, but I hate the way he lorded over papa. Just because he’s the boss, he thinks everything belongs to him!!” -- the pushy behavior of a man used to getting his own way.


Basho continues the theme of patriarch versus teenage girl: “and look how he treats his own daughter, keeping her inside, not letting her go out and be with people. He tries to cultivate her the way we did those

chrysanthemums, giving her everything she wants but making her grow in a single place where no problems can occur.” The Japanese call this hako iri musume, “daughter in a box.” Akiko Tokuza says:

 

“Parents protected their daughters’ chastity and morality by isolating them both from men

and from rational and critical thought…”


The Japanese government at this time forbid anyone from leaving the country and anyone or anything foreign from entering; this father is doing the same to his daughter. His treatment may not include abuse or deprivation or hard work, but is still oppression. Without the same freedoms and opportunities boys receive, she cannot develop her mind. She is just a pretty flower in poppa’s house.

 

Teahouse second story
 sake's blossom tower

Her beautiful
face has known more years
 than she is tall
 

 

茶屋の二階は酒の 櫻閣
美しき顔も丈よりとしふけて

 

Chaya no nikai wa / sake no sakura kaku
Utsukushiki / kao mo take yori / toshi fukete
 

Most houses of this time were one-story, so being on a large sumptuous second story, along with sake, makes men feel “high” – as if in a tower of cherry blossoms. Basho uses the concept of ‘highness’

in a tall building to describe the feeling of alcohol in one’s brain.  For centuries in Europe "high"

was used for intoxication:  for instance in 1627 translation of a Roman poem is the phrase

"high with wine."  (https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/as-high-as-a-kite.html)    

 

The only guests at Japanese banquets are men; women are there only to serve the guests food and drink,  entertain them with music and conversation, or possibly to sleep with those who paid.  In L-20 

BROTHEL SLAVERY we meet girls sold into sexual slavery; young girls age 10 or 12 were told they were going to the Big City to be waitresses or maids, and only when their first period came were they forced to provide sex.  Some girls may have remained as waitresses or maids, but still they were forced to give up their childhood and family so they could assist full-time in the overriding task of Japanese society: to give happiness to men: as seen in the first stanza. This one has yet to attain her full height, so must be a teenager; though her beauty has contributed to the "high" feeling of customers, her face has aged from the years of misery she has experienced in this “teahouse.”

 

The contrast between the male “high” of Basho’s stanza and the low of the oppressed female is not obvious or startling; we have to search to discover it.


With no power
In her slender arms
She worries
No reason to mend
His cotton garments

 

力なく / 腕 ほそりし / うき おもひ
つくろふかひも / なき 木綿 もの

 

Chikara naku / kaina hosorishi / uki omoi
tsukurou kai mo /naki momen mono

 

Impoverished peasants (i.e. women) make their family’s clothes from fibers in stalks, vines, or under bark. This family is not quite so poor; he at least has cotton clothes – and when he gets home from wherever he went, he expects them to be mended. She worries the eternal worry of wives everywhere: will he return? Here is the reality of male-female relationships in patriarchal society. We may recall Linda Loman, the wife in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, darning her stockings while her husband bought new ones for his mistress.


Wretched in her
distress she gazes at
the evening sky
In those clouds, whose
tears are contained?

 

あやにくに / わずらう妹が / ゆうながあめ
あの雲 はたが / 泪 つつむ ぞ

 

Ayaniku ni / wazurau imo ga / yuu nagame
Ano kumo wa taga / namida tsutsumu zo

 

This can be a women disappointed by the man she loves, or a wife suffering the absence of her husband with distress thinking about what he is doing. She looks into the clouds, hoping for some answers.  Basho’s rhetorical question cannot reduce the oppression, but may somehow console her heart.

 

She walks about
hired to do laundry
her lowly work
She resents the snarling
cries of cats fighting
High on top,
low on bottom, how
love is done

 

洗濯 に / やとはれ ありく / 賤が業

猫 の いがみの / 声 も うらめし

上 は かみ / 下 は しも とて / 物 おもい

 

Sentaku ni / yatoware ariku/ shizu no waza

Neko no igami no / koe mo urameshi

Ue wa kami / shimo wa shimo tote / mono omoi

 

With no position in society, no family ties, no education, no beauty or sex appeal, nothing to offer but hard work in cold water, she walks about town announcing her services,  and encounters male cats fighting for access to a female. Cats and humans do it the same way:  males fighting to dominate a female. Not only in sex, but in every aspect of life, those on top stay on top – having fun and sex and leisure -- while those on bottom remain there for life – so impoverished old women wander about town offering to do laundry.

 

 

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

 

Rebecca Traister and other feminists have said that feminism today must contain rage at the patriarchy and mysogyny; without rage, a woman is not truly expressing herself.  Rage, however, is one feeling you never see in Basho's poems on the humanity of women.  The following stanza does contain rage, but it is male rage at a woman, while she responds with the power of her delicacy. 

 

Beneath her eyelids
overflow the stars
Forced to stand
against her will, she dances
so delicately

 

まぶたに星の /こぽれかかれる

引き立て / むりに舞する / たおやかさ

 

Mabuta ni hoshi no / kobore kakareru

Hiki tatete / muri ni mai suru / taoyakana

 

The shogun Yoritomo sent warriors to capture his younger brother Yoshitsune, but unable to find him, they took Yoshitsune’s mistress, the 'white-rhythm' dancer Shizuka, and brought her to Kamakura to dance for the bully-in-command. Starlight shines from Shizuka’s tears as she strugglesto hold them back in defiance of Yoritomo. He roughly yanks Shizuka to a stance and demands that she dance and sing renouncing her love for Yoshitsune. Shizuka mocks him by dancing superbly while singing of her love for Yoshitsune.  The shogun gets so angry he tries to kill her right there, but his wife stops him.  Shizuka stands up to Yoritomo’s patriarchy, dancing for the dignity of women.   

 

We can compare the scene of Emilia in Othello boldly accusing her husband Iago of deceiving Othello.

 

Iago.        What, are you mad? I charge you, get you home.      
Emilia.      'Tis proper I obey him, but not now.
                Perchance, Iago, I will ne'er go home.
                

She realizes her insistence on telling the truth can only lead to him killing her; but she presses onward with stupendous moral courage until Iago stabs her. Emilia dies, honoring the truth.  May the female power, the adherence to the truth, in these images of Shizuka and Emilia be resources for you to empower yourselves

today.

 

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

 

In Chapter V of the Tale of Genji, the young Genji kidnaps 9-year-old Murasaki to raise her in seclusion and nurture her to become the love of his life when she matures.  In Chapter IX, after his wife Aoi dies from childbirth, one night he finally rapes Murasaki.

 

Now he could not restrain himself. It would be a shock, of course. What had happened? Her women had no way of knowing when the line had been crossed. One morning Genji was up early and Murasaki stayed on and on in bed.
It was not at all like her to sleep so late. Might she be unwell?
…She had not dreamed he had anything of the sort on his mind. What a fool she had been, to repose her whole confidence in so gross and unscrupulous a man.
 It was almost noon when Genji returned. “They say you’re not feeling well. What can be the trouble? I was hoping for a game of Go.”
She pulled the covers over her head. Her women discreetly withdrew. He came up beside her.
“What a way to behave, what a very unpleasant way to behave. Try to imagine, please, what these women are thinking.”
He drew back the covers. She was bathed in perspiration and the hair at her forehead was matted from weeping.
 

Finally, to make the teenage girl feel better, Genji has his retainer give her inoko no mochi, rice cakes sweetened for children and colored to look like cute little baby boars – although the text does not say whether the “child” Murasaki felt any improvement. Later on,

 

She now refused to look at him, and his jokes only sent her into a more sullen silence. 
         

In 1689 in his hometown Iga, Doho begins and Basho follows:

 

Woman with a cough
behind door of weeds
Upon leaving,                    
sweet baby-boar mochi                                                   
he gives to her

 

女咳たる / 藪の戸の内

きぬぎぬの / 亥の子の餅を / 配るとて

 

Onna sekitaru / yabu no to no uchi

Kinu ginu no / inokono mochi o / kubaru tote

 

Woman lives in sickness and poverty.  Man visits her, relieves his sexual tension inside her, then goes back to his world. Before he leaves, he gives her the mochi cakes Genj gave to teenage Murasaki to cheer her up.  How shall we interpret this?

 

First consider the Japanese male scholar’s view.  They see the scene in the Tale as Genji and Murasaki’s “bridal bed” which the gift of baby-boar mochi “celebrates.” Eventually Murssaki gets over her misery from being raped, and grows to accept the luxury the wealthy Genji provides. So her misery and hatred of him was just a phase a young girl has to go through, part of growing up to fit herself into the patriarchal world.

 

Modern women and some men as well may see it differently.  Genji raped the teenager, destroyed her innocence, then to further insult her integrity, gave her some sweets.  The man in Basho’s stanza does nothing to relieve her cough or her poverty; he gives her the cakes so he will feel better about being such a shithead.

 

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

  After a quarrel
  the soft rubbing sounds
  of hands wringing

 White tissue paper          

 soaked by her tears 

 

口舌事 / 手をさらさらと / おしもんで

しら紙ひたす/ 涙也けり


Kusetsu-goto / te o sara sara to / oshimonde

Shira kami hitasu / namida nari kere

 

 Two hands twisting around each other in “wringing” produce faint, unobtrusive pressure sound – in Japanese sara sara -- which most people would not even call sound.   The activity and sound of a woman’s hands contain her feelings of upset and loss of self-confidence.  Basho completes the image with the physical-ness of tissue paper in her hands soaked by her tears. 

 

From his seclusion
he comes to peak in on
his wife and kids                  

 

With one song in his ears
the play quarters linger

 

遁世の /よ所に妻子を / 覗き見て
つぎ歌耳に / のこるよし原


Tonsei no / yoso ni tsumako o / nozoki mite
Tsugi uta mimi ni / nokoru Yoshiwara

 

He abandoned his family long ago to join the fun and games in the pleasure-quarters; he no longer goes there, but has not returned to them. Instead he stays in seclusion, without responsibility for anyone but himself. Sometimes he peaks in on them and wonders what would of happened if… then he returns to his seclusion. Sometimes in his auditory brain he recalls a particular merrymaking song along with memories of the place where he heard and sang it.

 

Because men can get away with this sort of shit, women are oppressed.

 

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/ やまかせむ / 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.

 

She too is oppressed, for deprivation is a form of oppression,   

All she can do is long for a love she will never know.

 

 

basho4humanity@gmail.com

 

 






<< Power of Women (L-02) (L-04 ) Women with Goddess >>


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