Basho and me, sojourners

 

Furuikeya(An old pond)

Kawazu tobikomu (a frog jumps in)

Mizuno oto (a sound of)

(Translation)

A sound of a frog

Jumping into

An old pond

I don’t pretend to know many Haiku poets. In fact, I know one – Basho. And I like the one above the best. I don’t feel the need to know any other.

I imagine an old pond in the back of an old, apparently abandoned, Buddhist temple. It’s been there for ever. Silence dominates. Its stagnant murky water is green,alive with algae, larvae, and god-knows what else. Suddenly, there was a soundbreaking the peace rudely, something jumping into the water. A frog. Not much splash though because water is syrupy. Wakes lingered only a few second. Silence returns. It seems like a description of my life in the world of eternity.

Aratohto (How precious is it)

Aoba Wakabano (Fresh green leaves)

Hinohikari (In the sunlight)

(Translation)

How precious is it!

Fresh green leaves

Dancing in the sunlight

Basho loved to travel. In fact, he traveled all his life, and died while traveling. Like him, I have been a sojourner all my life. I lived in many places. I loved every place I stopped, but I moved on. It is like exquisite beauty of a fleeting sunlight dancing in the fresh green leaves of early summer.

My father wrote a song about this Haiku and sung it for us often. He began with the first stanza, and concluded it with the last two stanza.

Aratohto

Tabiosumikato

Kusafukaki

Okunohosomichi

Tadoriyuku

(Translation)

How precious is it:

Traveling is home:

Groping my way

Onto a narrow path

Among tall grass

In a back country.

Okinaga Katano Yasehoneni

Furiwake no nimo Itaitashi

Tsueni Sugarite Wakeiran

The backpack on the tired old

Shoulder bones is painful :

But I keep on

Leaning on

My walking stick.

Yamawa Futara ka Uzukinaru

Is that Mt. Futara in May?

Aoba wakabano

Hinohikari

Fresh young green leaves

Dancing in the sunlight.

 It sounds like a summary of my entire life.

 

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