Saturday, December 8, 2012

Haiku by Basho - Translated by Robert Hass

Matsuo Basho composing a Haiku
Robert Hass

A ball of snow

you make the fire
and I’ll show you something wonderful:
a big ball of snow! 

A bee

A bee
staggers out
of the peony.

The old pond

The old pond--
a frog jumps in,
sound of water.

A caterpillar

A caterpillar,
this deep in fall--
still not a butterfly.

A cool fall night

A cool fall night--
getting dinner, we peeled
eggplants, cucumbers.

A field of cotton

A field of cotton--
as if the moon
had flowered.

A monk sips morning tea

A monk sips morning tea,
it's quiet,
the chrysanthemum's flowering.

A snowy morning

A snowy morning--
by myself,
chewing on dried salmon.

Awake at night

Awake at night--
the sound of the water jar
cracking in the cold.

Blowing stones

Blowing stones
along the road on Mount Asama,
the autumn wind.

Cold night: the wild duck

Cold night: the wild duck,
sick, falls from the sky
and sleeps awhile.

First snow

First snow
on the half-finished bridge.

Coolness of the melons

Coolness of the melons
flecked with mud
in the morning dew.

How Admirable

How admirable!
to see lightning and not think
life is fleeting.


attached to nothing,
the sky lark singing.

Taking a nap

Taking a nap
feet planted
against a cool wall.

The dragonfly

The dragonfly
can’t quite land
on that blade of grass.

The oak tree

The oak tree
not interested
in cherry blossoms.

What fish feel

What fish feel,
birds feel, I don’t know—
the year ending.

When the winter chrysanthemums go

When the winter chrysanthemums go
there’s nothing to write about
but radishes.

Winter solitude

Winter solitude—
in a world of one color
the sound of wind.

First winter rain

First winter rain--
even the monkey
seems to want a raincoat.

Sick on a journey

Sick on a journey
my dreams wander
the withered fields.

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