Matsuo Bashō

From Quotes
The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.
John Maynard Keynes
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松尾芭蕉 - Matsuo Bashō

Matsuo Bashō 松尾芭蕉 (1644 - 28 November 1694) Japanese poet; his name has also sometimes been rendered as Matuo Basyou or Matuwo Baseu, but he is usually called simply Bashō.


  • 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.


  • 朝顔に
  • 京にても
    • Kyou nitemo
      kyou natsukashi ya
    • Even in Kyoto
      hearing the cuckoo's cry
      I long for Kyoto.
    • Translation: Robert Hass
  • 古池や
    • furu ike ya
      kawazu tobikomu
      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.
  • 旅に病で
    • 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:
      Travelling, sick
      My dreams roam
      On a withered moor.
  • 静けさや
    • shizukesaya
      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.
  • 見るところ花にあらずと云ふことなし、
    • 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.
      • Translation: R. H. Blyth
  • 古人の跡を求めず、
    • 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)

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