The Cuckoo--

Through the dense bamboo grove,

Moonlight seeping.



  Basho (Matsuo Kinsaku--ca. 1644-1694) was one of the most influential of the Japanese poets, famous for his hakai and clear haiku poems.  I first encountered him while reading some of his accounts of his wanderings across Japan in which he combined his description of the journey with his poetry (The Narrow Road to the Deep North). Check the links for more on the life of this wonderful man.  I will be adding some of my favorites of his poems in the days to come...


This first fallen snow 
       is barely enough to bend 
 the jonquil leaves 


Into the ancient pond
A frog jumps
Water’s sound!   

(see here for 30 translations of this poem, probably the most famous in Japan)

Breaking the silence
Of an ancient pond,
A frog jumped into water —
A deep resonance.

On a withered branch
a crow is perched:
an autumn evening.







Wikipedia article

A very readable account of his life...part of this wonderful site