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
• Woman Central: Basho Honors Women and Girls
• 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  >  What Children Do: Basho Honors the Young  >  W-1


Introduction to What Children Do



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

100% of rights and royalties in perpetuity from the sale of this book are offered to an organization that helps children in need,in exchange for active promotion of book.


Let children know

what Basho wrote

about children

Basho4humanity@gmail.com

 

 

Any part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any

form without written permission – however please inform the

author of how you are using the material.

Basho4humanity@gmail.com

 

Robbins, Jeff 1952 –

What Children Do: Young and Alive with Basho

Includes bibliography and Subject Guide for Child Studies.

1. Child development 2 Infancy 3 Small children

4. Adolescence 5. Japanese society 6. Japanese

literature 7. Haiku 8. Essays 9. Letters

10. Anthropology 11. Matsuo Basho (1644-94)

Cover illustration drawn in crayons by a third-grade boy, Sakamoto

Taiyo,in Iga, Basho’shometown, 2009

 

This volume is dedicated to the children and teens reading it

May you share Basho with your children and grandchildren

 

 

 

 

Father and Son

Mary Cassatt

That my face

resembles my mother’s

fascinates

Biology lessons from Cassatt and Basho.

 

 

Contents

1      Introduction                                              9

        Translations and Commentaries                 12

         What Age Child is the Book For?               14

         What are Haiku?                                     15

          Lightness = Newness                             16

           Links of Childhoood and Adolescence      18

           Children in Basho Prose                         20

            Letters about Children                           21

            Basho Speaks                                       22

 

                 Poetry

2             The Poet of Children – Verses Only

3             Being a Baby

4             Age 3 to 7

5             Age 7 to 12

6              Teenagers

 

                  Prose and Letters

7             Blessings unto Kasane

8            Kids In His journals

9            In Basho’s Letters

10         Journey with Grandnephew

 

               Forerunners

11 Japanese Literature before Basho

12 Western Literature till Shakespeare

 

Basho’s Cartoon

Here to welcome children into this book. is a child-like bit of

nonsense drawn by Basho in 1687

Diagram of a Snore

 

 

 

 

 

 

From tiny mouth opening to huge roar in the middle,

then shaking away like crazy, and fading out to nothing,

this is how grown-up men snore.

So, kids, draw a picture of daddy’s snore and send it to us.

 

Introduction

We can read thousands of pages through the history and literature of a hundred lands and find almost no mention of children – except for children starving or dying. One poet of long ago, however, paid

attention to the young of our species and recorded their living activity and speech in a hundred poems and dozens of prose passages and personal letters. This was Basho who lived in Japan from 1644 to 1694. Basho actually paid attention to both boys and girls, and their care-givers, and portrayed them with gentle appreciation and hope for the future. In his final year, three months before he died, he told his

students:

Only this, apply your heart to what children do

 

When Basho applies his heart to what children do, he records his observations in poems even shorter than an tweet:


Knocking on back door
and running away home

 

We see that boys in his time played “Ring the Doorbell and Run” – without doorbells.


Sliding back
her tray with lunch
untouched

 

She is a young girl in Basho’s time, or in school today. What does the verse “mean”? You tell me.

It belongs to you. Feel the activity of her sliding back the tray, the discomfort that takes away her appetite.

sho does not moralize, telling children what to do or how to think; he simply records what they (you) do.

 

Several books in English include some of his poetry and prose, but not the works on children and teens.

The Basho haiku in those books are mostly nature poems with no human in the scene, or they are sad

lonely verses about poverty, growing old, and dying. The poems in What Children Do are altogether different. They are full of children and teens and their caregivers, full of youth and lively activity and

humor and that special energy called “Hope.”

 

Plum blossom scent,
old storybooks read
by a young girl

 

The lovely fragrance of plum blossoms opens the mind to the book (which, since this is Basho4Now, could be on a pad or e-reader) of romantic tales from long ago, and this girl reading for enjoyment. The haiku is a ‘sketch’ – just a few brush strokes and much blank space for each one of you to fill it from your own imagination. Explore it as you would explore a photo your friend tweets to you.


To quiet down
the unsettled heart
of the daughter

 

Basho portrays both the teenage girl upset in her search for love, and her mother who manages to say the right words in the right tone to soothe her turmoil.


Let’s spread Basho’s vision of children and teens beyond Japanese Literature and Japanese culture, to kids all over the world/internet. Let the children of Asia and the world, from kindergarten to college,

know the poems about them by one of the greatest, and certainly the most child-friendly and girl-positive, poets the world has ever produced.

 

Translations and Commentaries

Whether you open the book at random or read the pages in order, consider each two-page spread, left and right pages, as a unit. If you look for connections among the various items

on each two-page spread, you will find them.

 

Basho’swords in translation appear in bold face
                         indented for his poetry
not indented for sections from Basho’s essays, journals,
letters and spoken word recorded by his followers.

 

The same font, not bold, is used for poems and prose
by other poets, given to compliment Basho’swork.

 

The two different voices are seen in the succession of stanzas in a linked verse:

 

One stanza by another poet
followed by Basho’sreply


Prose and letters are given in lines,
Each clause to its own line,
So Basho’s words become free verse;
this is what they seem to me.

 

This ordinary font is used for commentary written by me, or translated from Japanese commentaries.

 

My aim in translation is to give you exactly the information in the original, no more, no less – to reproduce Basho’s actual words in English with nothing – or very little -- from my mind or another mind to “help you understand.” Remember a Basho verse is like a riddle – no fun if too easy to understand. You need to search.


My efforts for your understanding have gone not into the translations but rather into the commentaries there on the same page as Basho’s original. You never need to look in the back of the book for the clues to Basho’s riddles; instead look immediately before or after the translation. Japanese also rely on commentaries on the same page to find Basho’shidden meanings. In my commentaries I have followed authoritative commentaries by Japanese Basho scholars, however from that base I fly freely through the worlds of knowledge -

children’s songs, folktales, Basho biography, biology, anthropology, child development -- whatever is fun and interesting, or sad but teresting, whatever will make Basho more entertaining, or more inspiring.


My purpose in the commentaries is three-fold:

 

To have fun with Basho;
To learn more and more from Basho
To discover the warmth in Basho’s heart

 

Scholars may not approve of my “having fun with Basho”—they may not like the jokes and anecdotes and stream of consciousness wandering— but this trilogy is not Basho4scholars but rather Basho4Humanity, for ordinary people who like reading to be fun, enjoy learning about children and teens, and feel compassion and hope for them.

 

Who is the Book For?

What Children Do is a collection of resources for children, parents, and teachers to learn about children; you may read to them, or copy poems (with or without commentaries) for children to read and discuss. Small children, whether they read themselves or are to read to, will enjoy the poems about them in Chapters Four to Seven. Small children at first may read only the Basho poems in this font.


Spring rain -
sprouted to two leaves
eggplant seed

 

Children can learn to read from this haiku and dozens of others in this volume; for best results, provide an eggplant seed and cup of soil to each student. Even if a word or two is unfamiliar to the young reader,

the structure is so simple they will easily learn. The poems can be an avenue into reading the more difficult language in the commentaries in ordinary print. By fourth or fifth grade, children should be able to read and

understand much more of the book. Children between 7 and 12 will get a kick out of Chapter named for them. Teenagers who do not enjoy reading books may prefer these seven-word poems that make a tweet seem long-winded. Those learning English as a second language, especially in Asia, will appreciate the simple

straightforward, non-intellectual commentaries about Asian topics such as rice-planting and long straight black hair. I will be very happy if students in Asia use the book to study English as well as learn

Basho’s Asian thought, and equally happy if students in the West learn Basho’s universal and youthful thought.

 

Lightness = Newness

Basho, like many young people in every era, rejected the traditions important to his elders: he told Kyorai:


The attachment to Oldness
is the very worst disease a poet can have.

 

The disease of Oldness (which he also called “heaviness”) is the preference for old-fashioned literary words instead of the modern words young people use, the focus on heavy situations, disappointment and tragedy, dragging the reader down with allusions to the sad past or inevitable dying, the love for mono aware, the

pathos of all things and all people passing away, how sad it is. Basho said “Enough!” of that old past. Look rather at Now, actually focusing on what a child does in good health and ordinary circumstances -- crawling, crying, playing, sleeping, working, studying, fooling around, waiting, desiring. Sometimes he called it

“Lightness,” and sometimes “Newness.”

 

Fisherman’s child
to announce a whale
blows on a shell

 

The verse overflows with life and activity: boy standing tall and watching, whale breeching, waves surging, boy skillfully blowing into shell so sound travels throughout the village, adults running to their boats. The sound from the shell is the life-force of this child. The verse is “Light” because it has no tragedy in it, no grief

(except to the whale), just a direct appreciation of a living child, of his life-breath.

 

Most of the verses in this book contain an actual child or children; the few that do not are characterized by their fundemental simplicity, and will amuse children.


Bush warbler
poops on the rice cake
verandah’s edge

 

Mochi rice cakes are eaten during the New Year’s season which in Japan lasts up to three weeks. As the days pass, with no refrigerators or plastic wrap, the leftovers get moldy – however if dried in the sunshine, the mold can be wiped off and the mochi eaten – but not if it had bird poop on it. Usually we hear the lovely song of the bush warbler, but Basho notices something else about the bird. Scholar Kon Eizo says this verse is a “crystallization” of Lightness; it gives a definite form to Basho’s ideal: nothing poetic or philosophic.

romantic or tragic, simply life as is, with a touch of humor, to be interesting. Small children will like any verse with pee or poop in it, so this should be a favorite.

 

In a letter to two followers in 1690, Basho described Lightness as, neither heavy nor spinning about

A poem of Lightness does not sink down with literary weight; it goes somewhere, instead of spinning about aimlessly. It is full of life and Hope, not sadness or regret. Haruo Shirane says that Basho’s Lightness consists of “youthful playfulness, spontaneity, naturalness, and fresh perspective…” Those who love Western poetry may find Basho’s poems of Lightness so simple and childlike, so lightweight, they feel like nothing – yet they are alive and life-giving – so they please the young and childlike:

 

Haiku Moments

 

Haiku are single moments of experience

 

Wake up! Wake up!
Won’t you be my friend?
sleeping butterfly          

                 

A small child wishing for a playmate speaks to the butterfly before her eyes. Maria Montessori says that between age 3 and 6, the small child’s “mind compels her to sort through, order, and make sense of the information she unconsciously absorbed.

 

In Japanese each haiku has 17 on, or sound-units – however this word has been mistranslated to “syllables.”  They are closer to half-syllables. The word ramen,  noodles,  has two syllables, yet these contain four sound-units: ra-a me-n.  Japanese sound units are very brief, and 17 of them is only  room for  about seven words plus two or three  particles  for grammar. It is  usually easy and natural to  translate the seven words of a Japanese haiku (or three-line stanza of linked verse)  to about seven English words plus particles – and then  the syllables  come to  about eleven.  More important than the count of syllables, however, is the count of beat.  The 5-7-5 sounds-units of a Japanese have a 3-4-3 pattern of spoken beats, plus there are silent pauses in the first and third segments, so the rhythm because four-four-four,

            

Although Basho is known as a haiku poet, haiku were only a small part of his poetry; his major work was renku, or linked verses composed by a team of poets, each poet writing one stanza connecting in one way or another to the stanza before.  Although quite a few of his haiku explore the mind of a child, in renku we discover the depths of search for what children do, and how they (you) perceive the world.

 

 Links of the Child Mind

 

Most of the stanza-pairs in this book are a first stanza by another poet, then Basho’s stanza which fulfills the vision of the first stanza. Basho said the second stanza

  stands out to the eyes, not from our appreciation for this image,

but rather from the connection to the previous stanza

through the heart with Newness.”


Let us explore what he means:                                   

 

Flawless blue
fabric spreads out over
the  large yard
Baby crawls about
getting ‘that place’ dirty

 

At the home-and-shop of a cloth dyer we see a perfectly woven  expanse of fabric dyed indigo blue with no other colors, no designs,  no blemishes anywhere.  The baby crawls about here and there, sometimes sitting to explore what she finds. sometimes scooting about on his bottom.    the “dirt” on  “that place” may be poop, or dirt from the earth, or dust from the house, or – especially in this house – the residue of dyestuffs in any color; any or all of these could be there on the derriere. 

 

I love the contrast between immaculate blue fabric spreading over the yard and the haphazard collection of whatnot on this soft chubby tush. Basho actually wrote a poem about a baby’s rear end.  To truly appreciate this verse, to ‘get’ the link to the blue fabric verse, we need a mind as bizarre and fun-loving as his.

He shows us the mind of small children, age 7 to 12:

 

Granddaddy’’s ball sack
sticks to the brushwood
All the children
the “God of Poverty”
they call this

 

“Granddaddy’s ball sack,”  the egg sack of the praying mantis which the mother mantis attaches to brushwood, has a shriveled appearance which to a child might look like an old man’s testicles so scrawny and miserable that the highly imaginative kids call it bimbou gami, the name of that skinny, dirty, old-man-spirit who brings people hardship and misery. 

 

As children reach adolerscence, their minds and hearts become more complex:

 

Youngest daughter hates
the mole on her face
Robe for dancing                          
aimlessly she folds it
inside the box

 

 

The mole does not interfere with her intelligence or body movement, but everyone who meets her sees it, and consciousness of this saps her self-confidence. Having growing up together with her sisters who have no moles, she hates the unfairness of this, but there is nothing she can do about it.  Someone who cares for the daughter’s happiness has given her a gorgeous robe for dancing in the local shrine festival, but she is too ashamed of her mole to show it to the whole town. 

 

Children in Basho Prose

If Basho’s haiku are snapshots of reality, then his prose is the video. The most well-known child in Basho prose is the abandoned two-year old he encounters in Chapter Three, however his compassionate

account of this incident has been misunderstood to give Basho the reputation for being “that horrid man who left the child to die.” I try to repair the damage done.


Basho portrays his interaction, in 1688, with an eleven year old boy

 

 I decide to climb to the peak of Mount Tetsukai.
The child who is my guide hates this idea
and tries in many ways to distract me
but I coax him with a promise to buy him a snack
at the tea-house below the mountain
and he reluctantly gives his consent.

 

 

Through Basho’s lively active prose, we meet this kid dealing with an eccentric old geezer.

 

Eleven year olds, however, grow up to encounter inner urges more compelling than “a snack at the tea-house”


Beneath plum blossoms on the dark mountain
unknown to people, unexpectedly
we may be stained by the fragrance.
On a hill of deep longing,
with no one to guard the gate,
somehow indiscretions occur.

 

Yes, they do. If this passage speaks to the heart of teenagers today dealing with those adolescent urges, Basho would be very pleased.

 

Letters about Children

Authors with no knowledge at all of Basho’s letters – the repositories of his consciousness -- claim that he was “impersonal” and “detached.” (R 10-11) The many sections of deeply personal and human-involved

passages in his letters  prove how misguided these authors are. The letters in this book  reveal Basho’s devotion to children, his concern for their well-being.


We  met the infant Takesuke , and  learnmore about him and papa Kyokusui

Uko’s daughter Sai appears in two Basho letters and possibly in two haiku by her mom 

We meet the granddaughter of Basho’s childhood friend Ensui in two letters, and possibly one haiku, 

The most remarkable glimpses of children in Basho’s letters are those of his grandnephew Jirobei and grandnieces Masa and Ofu. He made the choice to take 15 year old Jirobei with him on his journey west in

1694. Basho’s observations of Jirobei adapting to the rigors of traveling 25 to 30 miles a day, much of this on foot, are only a dozen sentences in seven letters on pages 174-9, but they offer considerable insights into male adolescent development. Basho writes of Jirobei:


His first journey continues to be praiseworthy

 

In the 19th century, Charles Darwin initiated the study of child development with detailed systematic observations of his own children, but 200 years before Darwin, Basho’s undetailed and nonsystematic

observations of children and teens should be recognized as among the earliest portraits of young people in world literature, a forerunner of anthropological studies of children and adolescents, and furthermore a call for recognition of children as whole human beings.

 

Basho Speaks

In the 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 prefered.

 

The “heart’s immediacy” is the province of small children; as we grow up, we discover ways to interfere with that spontaneity. When we try to write a poem, all that mental baggage comes to mind. Basho searches for ways to avoid “too much making” and return to the heart untainted by adult words, thoughts, considerations, excuses, etc.


Basho observed that as people grew older, they lost their childhood innocence and could no longer could appreciate Lightness. He said,


“The skillful have a disease;
have a three-foot child get the poem

 

Adults are so full of their skill, they can never be simple and Light; this, according to Basho, is their “disease.” The child is three feet tall (not having three feet, which would be weird). To “get” a poem can

be to read, write, or interpret it. Basho is saying children have a wisdom that enables them to see the haiku moment and ‘get it.’ Instead of teaching them Basho, we should learn Basho from them.

 

Ride the Energy

Basho spoke to his follower Doho words that children may appreciate

 

Make poetry ride the Energy

 

The “Energy” here is ki, or qi, the “universal energy” of martial or healing arts, or as George Lucas called it “the Force.” Children who play a musical instrument, or surf the waves , or fly a kite, or practice a martial art, may best understand Basho’s meaning. To see how Basho himself rode the Energy in poetry, consider these two stanzas from the first of 300 sequences in which Basho participated. The year is 1666 and Basho is about 22. The first poet offers an elegant image of Japanese classical dance, and Basho takes that feeling into the world of children:


Hand of the dancer
quietly descends
More than appears
the Energy is obedient
in a small child

 

The movement of the dancer’s hand expresses more, much more, than simply getting from up to down; it expresses the dancer’s obedience to ki. The hand rides the Energy downward, as a surfer stays on the

board even as the board drops and rises. Likewise the small child may not follow adult commands, but is obedient to that universal Energy ashowas as far as I can tell, the only male author in world literature

who focuses on ordinary women and children in ordinary life, these works are a legacy belonging to women and children everywhere.

 

basho4humanity@gmail.com

 






<< Rape of Young Murasaki (N-17) (W-5 ) Age 7 to 12 >>


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
• Woman Central: Basho Honors Women and Girls
• 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