Monday, February 13, 2012

Great Author Series: Master of the Haiku

Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) was a Japanese poet best known for his poems in haiku style. He renounced the social, urban life of the literary circles to wander the countryside seeking nurture. His poems encapsulate the essence of a scene in a few lines of simple elements.

Here is a select list of his enduring poetry which captures the intensity of life in stirring simplicity. (The required 5/7/5 syllabic lines are often not apparent with the translation.)

With dewdrops dripping,
I wish somehow I could wash
this perishing world

moonless night...
a powerful wind embraces
the ancient cedars

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

Culture's beginnings:
rice-planting songs from the heart
of the country

A mountain pheasant cry
fills me with fond longing for
father and mother

Selected by quoteflections.

Sick on my journey,
only my dreams will wander
these desolate moors

Spring air --
Woven moon
And plum scent.

The voices of plovers
Invite me to stare into the darkness
Of the Starlit Promontory

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