Basho's Oku-no-hosomichi
December 7, 2003 7:32 PM   Subscribe

Basho: Many old places brought down to us through poetry, but landslides and floods have altered paths and covered markers with earth, and trees arisen generations gone, and hard to locate anything now, but that moment seeing the thousand-year-old monument brought back sense of time past. One blessing of such pilgrimage, one joy of having come through, aches of the journey forgotten, shaken, into eyes. - Cid Corman's tr. of Basho's Oku no Hosomichi. 4 translations online.
posted by chymes (6 comments total)
Wonderful to think of Basho on this cold dark day...

On a journey, ill:
my dream goes wandering
over withered fields.
-- Basho

from a collection of death haiku.
posted by pandaharma at 8:48 PM on December 7, 2003

Allen Ginsberg had tremendous respect for haiku as a super-concise means of expressing the connection between the vast cosmic and the minute particular. He translated Basho's most famous poem as:

The old pond
A frog jumps in

In Ginsberg's classes (I was his teaching assistant at Naropa), he would gloss that haiku like this:

The old pond = "Heaven," vastness, the cosmos
A frog jumps in = Earth, mortal animal particularity
Kerplunk! = Heaven and Earth unified in an act of human perception
posted by digaman at 9:30 PM on December 7, 2003 [1 favorite]

Nice find, chymes. Thanks.
posted by hama7 at 8:48 AM on December 8, 2003

[this is good]
posted by plep at 1:04 PM on December 8, 2003

Thanks for the link. Its been ages since I read Bankei Zen which focuses on Basho.
posted by infowar at 1:07 PM on December 8, 2003

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