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-22


Women in Basho Letters



From a letter to his brother, between 1685 and 1688

 

… one, I am most grateful to older sister’s kindness,
and two, cannot forget our mother’s heart of
“Great Compassion for Great Sadness”

 

This last phrase is associated with Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy. 

 

    Letter to Sampu,

 

Are Jokushi, his children, and wife too, alright?
If they are without misfortune, you need not respond.
However, if there is anything to tell me immediately,
a man at the Seki Jizo temple, Kasawara Yaihei
will send your letter special delivery.

 

From Letter to Ensui, May 24, 1688

 

 

On May 11th we went to the thatched hut
of Ima in Takenouchi. The water jug
in which the eel appeared is still there.
She served us tea and sake on straw mats.
This guy Mangiku wanted to sell his winter robe
then presented the money to Ima as we left.
What is interesting and funny is indeed transient play,
To see that hidden within Ima made me count my sins.
Mangiku wept for a while and could not settle down.

 

 Letter 38 to Ranran, February 16, 1689

 

I am grateful for your letter, for the barrel of
takuan radish sent from your honorable inner room;
for every favor and the heart attached, thank you.

 

 Letter 71 to Kyokusui August 1, 1690

 

Takesuke day by day getting bigger,
endowed with such intelligence
and in good health and mood because your wife,
the uba, and others there in your absence
behave more cheerfully than he,
so Takesuke shows no signs of loneliness.
I am glad to have seen this.

 

                         Lettter 85 to Sora, October 13:

Basho’s nephew Toin lived with a woman – later known as Jutei – and her son Jirobei and two daughters, Masa and Ofu. In autumn of 1690, Basho wrote to Sora who lived nearby:

 

Tell them that between parent and child,
brother and sister, there should be no discord.
from letter to Kyokusui, December 14, 1690
Here in Zeze, Master Takesuke growing up,
often laughing, a sturdy lad, as sturdy as
he can be in his second year of life.
And Osome and the uba are without misfortune.

 

The package marked “Toin ”should be taken
to the little nuns of my retainer of long ago.
While I know this is a bother,
if you would have Seiroku deliver it –-
Kyobashi, Yumi block, to Ishimaru Kento –
it will be received with gratitude.Tomiemon’s wife gave birth normally,
both mother and children without misfortune,
and the old mother’s joy boundless.

 

                        Letter to Uko, late October, 1690

 

This winter allow me to hide myself deep
in the mountains, but when Spring comes
again and again I shall be in your eyes.
I can hardly forget your long-standing
benevolence, nor can I say enough about it.

 

Thanks to the clothing you made for me,
I shall not be cold, so you need not worry about me.
Let us wait, without misfortune, for Spring.

 

Each evening
kettle surely boiling,
how I miss
those three pillows in
the room where we slept

 

                                             This is to you
                                                                Basho

 

May you raise Tei-chan without misfortune.
Yoshi from far away also says this to you.

 

Basho got the kid’s name wrong. Uko’s daughter is Sai.

“Yoshi” is short for Basho’s youngest sister Oyoshi, now about 40.

 

                               Letter to Chigetsu, New Years of 1691

 

Your daughter-in-law always, always
breaking her bones till it hurts to see her.
and so we should feel gratitude.
I hope you will be very, very aware of this.

 

Without Abigail Adams to remind him, Basho remembers the ladies.

 

            Letter to Ensui, June 6, 1691

 

I did some sightseeing and returned home,
and that was when I realized my gratitude
for your wife’s courtesy when I visited your home.        

 

                         From the Saga Diary, May 17, 1691

 

The nun Uko arrives for a festival in North Saga.
Kyorai also came out from Kyoto.
Kyorai’s brother’s wife sent us cakes and side dishes.

Tonight Uko and husband stay over and with five people
lying up and down in one mosquito net
even though it is night we cannot sleep
so after midnight we each come out from the net,
bring out the day’s cakes and sake cups,
then till the approach of dawn our talk grows light. . .
With daylight Uko and Boncho went back to Kyoto
while Kyorai stayed on.

 

                             From letter to Uko, October 3, 1691

 

With your letter came the cushion you made for my hips
and sent to me from the intention of your heart,
not from a shallow place within you, and so I am grateful.
Now as we wrap chrysanthemums in cotton:

 

In the first frost
flowers start to feel cold,
my hip cushion

 

When finally I can go to Kyoto I will thank you more.

I would like to think Sai-chan is becoming obedient.

 

p.s.      For the letter you sent to Chigetsu
           you have made me grateful.
           Gentle your heart’s intention,
           returning again and again.
            Chigetsu also knows that feeling.

 

Basho recognizes and affirms the solidarity between these two women.

 

 

                   Letter 147 to Hanzaemon, January 3, 1693

 

For now I will send no word to Hisai.
To inform would cause worry and benefit no one.
No matter what happens, I am in no hurry to tell her.
Please understand that I do not send you
a letter every time (his condition changes).
Please read the above as written to Oyoshi.

 

 

                            Letter 184 to Kyokusui February 23

 

Thank you for your New Year’s letter.
I treasure the knowledge that your wife and children
welcome the New Year without misfortune
That was a meager vegetable-mochi soup
I served you. This year at your house
the uba fed you so much you got sick of it.
p.s. Takesuke becoming a big boy,
his little sister I have yet to meet
I long to see them all.

 

                          Letter to Uko, February 23, 1693

 

You are kind to say everything reminds you of me;
I too awake and asleep have only memories of you.
I can never forget how you cared for me
for such a long time.

 

As for the two haiku you sent me, they do make the feeling
enter. I am glad to see your talent has not declined.
Of the two, the verse FIELD IN SPRING made me see
an image of the awful rash on your thin hands and legs.
From your verse in Monkey‘s Raincoat people feel attracted.
They ask “‘What sort of beauty is she? Is she ladylike?”
I reply, “She is not beautiful and she is not ladylike.
She became a nun only by the compassion in her heart.”
So discipline your heart to more and more compassion.
If Boncho can manage would be good, one step in your favor.
Impermanence so swift. And again.

 

From a letter to Sora, June 8, 1690

 

I hope Jutei’s move went well,
though I know you had no part in it,
please give her my best regards.

 

                                  Letter to Ihei, July 13, 1694

 

On July 8th in Kamo we stayed one night at your house.
I met your mother and Genza and your older sister.
Your Honorable Bag is without misfortune,
however as she has grown older than she was four years ago
her hearing has gotten worse. With your sister,
the two of them, pleading only for ‘dear Ihei’,
imploring again and again how good it would be to see you,
I had some difficulty.

 

                                    From Letter to Sampu, July 13, 1694

 

I know sometimes you go visit them at Fukagawa, though with
Jutei being sick, your tea is not properly served. Since you
are so busy you need not trouble yourself about them,
however, please make sure they follow Ihei and Torin’s
instructions to protect the house in my absence,
and are especially careful with fire.

 

 

After Toin died, Basho did what he could to help the struggling family. In summer of 1694 he took Jirobei on a journey so the mother and two daughters could move into his house.Letter to Ihei, July 23, 1694

 

In this season Rihei has no work in his craft
so you should take care he at least does not get annoyed. And would you do the same for Jutei?
And Ofu, with summer coming on,
is she without misfortune? Please write
and tell me the details of her condition

 

Receiving a letter from Ihei telling the death of Jutei, Basho writes back on July 29, 1694


Jutei was a person without happiness
and Masa and Ofu the same unhappiness;
to express my thoughts is difficult…
Because I had a hunch this might happen
I asked you to take care of her
in case of a mysterious turn of fate.
Everything, yes everything,
is in the world of dream and illusion.
In one word, it has no logic.

 

        Letter to Chigetsu, October 3, thanking her for food she and her servants prepared and sent to Basho          for his harvest moon party

 

If Tosuke and Benshiro are without misfortune, this brings me joy.
Give my special thanks to Misses Oseki and Oichi.
My brother Hanzaemon said with joy “This much!”
He sends his appreciation upon my words.

 

 

From a letter to Sampu, October 28th, 1694

 

So your third daughter is getting married in a few days.
I’m sure your household is in a bustle, but nature will take
its course and I await to hear good news from you.

 

P.s. to Letter to Hanzaemon, November 10th 

 

I humbly request your care for Grandma and Ohyoshi.

 

From his final letter to his older brother, November 26, 1694

 

Grandma and Oyoshi, their power shall decline.

 

From his Will, November 26, 1694

 

The two persons remaining have lost their direction
and must be upset. Please consult with Old Kosai
and others to make a proper decision for them.

 

Message to Jokushi:

 

Enjoy till the end your wife’s unchanging kindness.

 

 

 






<< Women in Basho Prose (L-21) (M-01) After Having Measles >>


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