Basho Matsuo


松尾 芭蕉 Basho Matsuo 1644-1694 born 松尾 金作 Matsuo Kinsaku is one of my favorite haiku poets because I like his simplicity and clarity in his haiku. Basho was born into a samurai family in Ueno in Inga Province during the Edo period. He served Yoshitaka son of feudal lord Todo Yoshikiyo. He studied haiku under the teachings of Kitamura Kigin 1624-1705. A teacher by trade, Basho often wandered around the country to gain inspiration for his haiku poetry capturing scenes with simple elements. Later Basho and his disciples moved to Edo (Tokyo) and started his own haiku style called “Sho Fu” (Basho style).

an ancient pond
a frog jumps in
the splash of water

wintry day,
on my horse
a frozen shadow.

temple bell,
a cloud of cherry flowers —
Ueno? Asakusa?

summer grasses
all that remains
of soldiers dreams.

along this road
goes no one;
this autumn evening.

the wind from Mt. Fuji
I put it on the fan.
here, a souvenir from Edo.

spring departs.
birds cry
fish eyes are filled with tears

in the cicada’s cry
no sign can forestall
how soon it must die

no blossoms and no moon
and he is drinking sake
all alone

Temple bells die out
The fragrant blossoms remain
A perfect evening!

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