Wednesday, February 3, 2010

FreeVerse: three haiku by Basho in translation

Six more weeks of winter, and so today I am breaking out the winter haiku plus one that reminds me to look forward to summer. I picked up The Essential Basho, a collection of the writings of Matsuo Basho (1644 -1694) and there is some absolutely wonderful, wonderful stuff in here. I'm just getting started, but I leave you with three. Translation is by Sam Hamill, the book was published in 1999 by Shambhala. Sam Hamill also has a book of Issa's poetry that might be easier for me to find than The Autumn Wind.

Thanks to Cara for hosting FreeVerse over at Ooh... Books!


Normally spiteful --
but not even the crows
this snowy morning


All the stones are dead,
the waters withered and gone --
winter and nothing


Even these long days
are not nearly long enough
for the skylarks' song


Felicity Grace Terry said...

A bit sombre for my taste but thanks for sharing them.

Unknown said...

Yes, that second one is particularly grumpy, isn't it? I get like that towards the middle of March, when my gardening fingers are itching, and the ground is frozen, and the snow is grey and brown and sloppy instead of pristine.

Valerie said...

I have a book "The Essential Haiku" which features the three poets Basho, Buson and Issa; and compares them. I haven't gotten into it too deeply but really want to.

I agree that the second one reflects very well a winter that has gone on too long!

Kelly said...

I really like Haiku and these seem quite appropriate for the season.

Unknown said...

Valerie - I'd love to hear what you have to say about that book when you've had a chance to read it further! I've always liked haiku, the traditional Japanese haiku, but I know so very little about it.

Kelly - Glad you enjoyed!

Jenners said...

Totally fits winter ... the depressing cold side of winter. I just love haiku and I don't think anyone does it better than the Japanese.

Unknown said...

Jenners - Agreed, all the way through. I do love winter, and I'm still in love with it, but I *know* in about three or four weeks the shine's going to wear off and I'm going to be so ready for spring it's not funny.

Jeanne said...

I am a summer-lover, so find the skylark one interesting! Yesterday on my commute I wrote a winter haiku which I will inflict on you:
Freezing fog outlines
each roadside weed, glistening,

Suko said...

These are quite lovely!

Unknown said...

Jeanne - Thank you for sharing! I absolutely know that scene, and it's so pretty.

Suko - I'm glad you like them!