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A Selection of Matsuo Basho's Haiku

Scarecrow in the hillock
Paddy field --
How unaware! How useful!
Passing through the world
Indeed this is just
Sogi's rain shelter.
A wild sea-
In the distance over Sado
The ilky !ay.
The she cat -
"rown thin
#ro$ love and %arley.
How wild the sea is&
and over Sado Island&
the 'iver of Heaven
orning and evening
So$eone waits at atsushi$a!
(ne-sided love.
!ra))ing du$)lings in
%a$%oo leaves& with one
she tidies her hair
(n *uddha's %irthday
a s)otted fawn is %orn +
just like that
(n *uddha's deathday&
wrinkled tough old hands )ray
the )rayer %eads' sound
I like to wash&
the dust of this world
In the dro)lets of dew.
,ochira $uke
!are $o sa%ishiki
Aki no kure
!ill you turn toward $e-
I a$ lonely too&
This autu$n evening.
As fir$ly ce$ented cla$-shells
#all a)art in autu$n&
So I $ust take to the road again&
#arewell& $y friends.
#arewell& $y old fan.
Having scri%%led on it&
!hat could I do %ut tear it
At the end of su$$er-
kono aki wa nande
toshiyoru ku$o ni tori
this autu$n
as-for why grow old
cloud to %ird
this autu$n
why a$ I aging so-
to the clouds a %ird
this autu$n
as reason for growing old
a cloud and a %ird
the whole fa$ily
all with white hair and canes
visiting graves
souls' festival
today also there is s$oke
fro$ the cre$atory
lotus )ond
as they are un)lucked
!ith dewdro)s dri))ing&
I wish so$ehow I could wash
this )erishing world
!on't you co$e and see
loneliness- .ust one leaf
fro$ the kiri tree.
$oonless night...
a )owerful wind e$%races
the ancient cedars
*ehind Ise Shrine&
unseen& hidden %y the fence&
*uddha enters nirvana
This ruined te$)le
should have its sad tale told
%y a cla$ digger
in $y new clothing
i feel so different& i $ust
look like so$eone else
low tide $orning...
the willow skirts are tailed
in stinking $ud
A green willow&
dri))ing down into the $ud&
at low tide.
a clear waterfall /
into the ri))les
fall green )ine-needles
overhanging )ine...
adding its $ite of needles
to the waterfall
The )ine tree of Shiogoshi
Trickles all night long
Shiny dro)s of $oonlight.
0ulture's %eginnings1
rice-)lanting songs fro$ the
of the country
Singing& )lanting rice&
Souls' #estival
*uddha's 2eath 2ay
fro$ wrinkled )raying hands
the rosaries' sound
not to think of yourself
as so$eone who did not count --
#estival of the Souls
all night
autu$n winds %eing heard
%ehind the $ountains
so clear the sound
echoes to the *ig 2i))er
the fulling %lock
taken in $y hand
it will vanish in hot tears
autu$n frost
%right red
the )itiless sun
autu$n winds
autu$n wind
%roken with sadness
his $ul%erry stick
autu$n winds
in the sliding door's o)ening
a shar) voice
autu$n wind1
as thickets in fields are
#uwa's %arriers
)eo)le no longer live
at the #uwa *arrier
in a house with wooden eaves
weathered %ones
just thinking of the wind
it )ierces $y %ody
in the world outside
is it harvesting ti$e-
the grass of $y hut
for one touched %y $onkey cries
village songs $ore lovely
than fa$ous city )oe$s
S)ring air --
!oven $oon
And )lu$ scent.
Heated s)ring air
In tiny waves of an inch or two
A%ove wintery grass.
#resh s)ring!
The world is only 3ine days
old -
These fields and $ountains!
A na$eless hill
in the ha4e.
it is s)ring!
a hill without a na$e
in thin ha4e
(h& these s)ring days!
A na$eless little $ountain&
wra))ed in $orning ha4e!
S)ring too& very soon!
They are setting the scene for it
)lu$ tree and $oon.
#ro$ all directions
!inds %ring )etals of cherry
Into the gre%e lake.
5nder the i$age of *uddha
All these s)ring flowers
See$ a little tireso$e.
The leafless cherry&
(ld as a toothless wo$an&
*loo$s in flowers&
indful of its youth.
That great %lue oak
indifferent to all %losso$s
a))ears $ore no%le
how is it when a child's
in autu$n winds
s)eaking out
$y li)s are cold
in autu$n wind
autu$n wind
in Ise's shrine ce$etery
even $ore lonely
walking on and on
even through I fall down sick
in fields of clover
fro$ this very day
erase the inscri)tion with dew
on the %a$%oo hat
autu$n colors
without a )ot
of red-%rown sou)
turn this way!
I too feel lonely
late in autu$n
Stone ountain
whiter than the stones
autu$n wind
%orrowing slee)
fro$ the scarecrow's sleeves
$idnight frost
I would like to use
that scarecrow's tattered
in this $idnight frost
along this road
going with no one
autu$n evening
autu$n dee)ens
the $an ne6t door
how is he doing-
The oak tree stands
no%le on the hill even in
cherry %losso$ ti$e
S)ring rain
conveyed under the trees
in dro)s.
S)ring rain
7eaking through the roof&
2ri))ing fro$ the was)s' nest.
In this war$ s)ring rain&
tiny leaves are s)routing
fro$ the egg)lant seed
The sun's way1
hollyhocks turn toward it
through all the rains of ay.
S)ring de)arts.
*irds cry
#ishes' eyes are filled with tears
3o %losso$s and no $oon&
and he is drinking sake
all alone!
Te$)le %ells die out.
The fragrant %losso$s re$ain.
A )erfect evening!
A little girl under a )each tree&
!hose %losso$s fall into the
(f the earth.
*y the old te$)le&
)each %losso$s8
a $an treading rice.
5nknown s)ring --
Plu$ %losso$
*ehind the $irror.
!ith )lu$ %losso$ scent&
this sudden sun e$erges
along a $ountain trail
9ery %rief1
"lea$ of %losso$s in the
(n a $oonlit night.
#ro$ a$ong the )each-trees
:*loo$ing everywhere&:
The first cherry %losso$s.
A lovely s)ring night
suddenly vanished while we
viewed cherry %losso$s
#ro$ every direction
cherry %losso$ )etals %low
into 7ake *iwa
,annon's; tiled te$)le
roof floats far away in clouds
of cherry %losso$s
<*odhisattva of 0o$)assion=
#ro$ all these trees +
in salads& sou)s& everywhere +
cherry %losso$s fall
0edar u$%rellas& off
to ount >oshi$o for
the cherry %losso$s.
(n a journey&
'esting %eneath the cherry
I feel $yself to %e in a 3oh
in the %losso$s? shade
as in the noh dra$a
a traveller slee)s
0louds of cherry %losso$s!
Is that te$)le %ell in 5eno
or Asakusa-
The te$)le %ell sto)s.
*ut the sound kee)s co$ing
out of the flowers.
all the $ore I wish to see
in those %losso$s at dawn
the face of a god
Searching storehouse eaves&
ra)t in )lu$ %losso$ s$ells&
the $os@uito hu$s
*ush clover in %losso$ waves
!ithout s)illing
A dro) of dew.
the $oon still is
though it see$s far fro$ ho$e
Su$a in su$$er
Taking a na)&
#eet )lanted
Against a cool wall.
In $orning dew&
!et with $orning dew
and s)lotched with $ud& the
looks es)ecially cool
The old )ond1
a frog ju$)s in&-
the sound of water.
#rog )ond --
A leaf falls in
!ithout a sound
The old )ond8
the frog.
At the ancient )ond
a frog )lunges into
the sound of water
Su$$er $oon -
0la))ing hands&
I herald dawn.
oga$i 'iver& yanking
The %urning sky
Into the sea.
>ellow rose )etals
Thunder -
A waterfall.
0old white a4alea -
7one nun
5nder thatched roof.
Three $onths after we saw
0herry %losso$s together
I ca$e to see the glorious
Twin trunks of the )ine.
I felt @uite at ho$e&
As if it were $ine slee)ing
In this house of fresh air.
.une clouds&
At ease on
Arashiya$a Peak.
(cto)us tra)s -
su$$er?s $oons)un drea$s&
soon ended.
Su$$er in the world8
floating on the waves
of the lake.
in your su$$er-roo$...
garden and $ountain going too
as we slowly walk
5goku ha $o
3aku osoroshiki
3atsu kodachi
Aven leaves don't $ove
Aweso$e is the
Su$$er grove
The su$$er's grass!
all that's left
of ancient warriors' drea$s.
Su$$er grasses1
all that re$ains of great
i$)erial drea$s
A thicket of su$$er grass
Is all that re$ains
(f the drea$s of ancient
All the rains of .une
it %rings together& and it is swift
the river orga$i.
Su$$er 4ashiki
ake $ove and enter
The $ountain and the garden.
This hot day swe)t away
into the sea %y the
oga$i 'iver
A lightning glea$1
into darkness travels
a night heron's screa$.
Along the roadside&
%losso$ing wild roses
in $y horse?s $outh
The far$er's roadside
hedge )rovided lunch for
$y tired horse
y horse
0li)-clo))ing over the fields--
(h ho!
I too a$ )art of the )icture!
All day in grey rain
hollyhocks follow the sun's
invisi%le road
An ivy s)ray
Trained u) over the wall
And a few %a$%oos
Inviting a te$)est.
How $any )riests
How $any $orning glories
Have )erished under the )ine
Aternal as law-
along the $ountain road
so$ehow it tugs at $y heart/
a wild violet
Traveling this high
$ountain trail& delighted
%y violets
looking carefully&
a she)herds )urse is %loo$ing
under the fence
)etal %y )etal
yellow $ountain roses fall/
sound of ra)ids
Petals of the $ountain rose
#all now and then&
To the sound of the waterfall-
The )etals tre$%le
on the yellow $ountain rose +
roar of the ra)ids
7ong conversations
%eside %loo$ing irises +
joys of life on the road
The lilies!
The ste$s& just as they are&
the flowers& just as they are.
The %ee e$erging
fro$ dee) within the )eony
de)arts reluctantly
Slender& so slender
its stalk %ends under dew --
little yellow flower
#or those who )roclai$
they?ve grown weary of
there are no flowers
A6hausted& I sought
a country inn& %ut found
wisteria in %loo$
orning glory trailing --
All day the gate-
%olt's fastened.
*reakfast enjoyed
in the fine co$)any of
$orning glories
The $orning glories
%loo$& securing the gate
in the old fence
%ush-clover flowers /
they sway %ut do not dro)
their %eads of dew
under harvest sun - stranger
To %ird& %utterfly.
without turning
into a %utterfly& autu$n
for the wor$
2ee) into autu$n
and this cater)illar
still not a %utterfly
A cater)illar
this dee) in fall
still not a %utterfly
!ith every gust of wind&
the %utterfly changes its )lace
on the willow.
(n the white )o))y&
a %utterfly?s torn wing
is a kee)sake
%utterflies flitB
that is all& a$id the field
of sunlight
%utterflies flit
in a field of sunlight
that is all