- The haiku that reveals seventy to eighty percent of its subject is good.Those that reveal fifty to sixty percent,we never tire of.
- All who have achieved excellence in art possess one thing in common;that is,a mind to be one with nature,throughout the seasons.
- Kyou nitemo
kyou natsukashi ya
- Even in Kyoto
hearing the cuckoo's cry
I long for Kyoto.
- Translation: Robert Hass
- furu ike ya
mizu no oto
- An old pond;
A frog jumps in —
The sound of water.
- at the ancient pond
the frog plunges into
the sound of water
(Translation: Sam Hamill)
- The first cold shower;
Even the monkey seems to want
A little coat of straw.
- tabi ni yande
yume wa kareno wo
- Sick on a journey,
my dreams wander
the withered fields.
- Basho's last poem, written while he was dying of a stomach illness; (Translation: Robert Hass)
- Variant translation:
My dreams roam
On a withered moor.
iwa ni shimiiru
semi no koe
- How still it is!
Stinging into the stones,
The locusts' trill.
- World Within Walls, pg 89
- Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.
- Miru tokoro hana ni arazu to iu koto nashi,
omou tokoro tsuki ni arazu to iu koto nashi
- There is nothing you can see that is not a flower;
There is nothing you can think that is not the moon.
- kojin no ato wo motomezu,
kojin no motometaru no tokoro wo motome yo
- Seek not the paths of the ancients;
Seek that which the ancients sought.
- from 「柴門の辞」"Words by a Brushwood Gate" (also translated as "The Rustic Gate")
- It rains during the morning. No visitors today. I feel lonely and amuse myself by writing at random. These are the words:
Who mourns makes grief his master.
Who drinks makes pleasure his master.
- The fact that Saigyo composed a poem that begins, "I shall be unhappy without loneliness," shows that he made loneliness his master.
- Sabi is the color of the poem. It does not necessarily refer to the poem that describes a lonely scene. If a man goes to war wearing stout armor or to a party dressed up in gay clothes, and if this man happens to be an old man, there is something lonely about him. Sabi is something like that.
- "My body, now close to fifty years of age, has become an old tree that bears bitter peaches, a snail which has lost its shell, a bagworm separated from its bag; it drifts with the winds and clouds that know no destination. Morning and night I have eaten traveler's fare, and have held out for alms a pilgrim's wallet."
- Genjūan no Fu ("Prose Poem on the Unreal Dwelling"; quoted from Donald Keene's Anthology of Japanese Literature, pg 374)
Last modified on 18 September 2008, at 23:40