Posts Tagged ‘The Essential Haiku’

Two days ago, I had to go to a government office (which will remain nameless) to deal with paperwork (which was necessary but ultimately not very important). I anticipated waiting awhile before I would be helped, so I brought a book: The Essential Haiku edited by Robert Hass. While the blur of government routine went on around me, I thought about Basho, a 17th century Japanese poet and poetry teacher. He chose his own pen name, which means “banana tree” (yes, I agree, a vivid choice!), and he was a haiku master. Here are some examples of his verse, translated into English, for interested mortals such as ourselves:

felling a tree

and seeing the cut end —

tonight’s moon


a bee

staggers out

of the peony


harvest moon —

walking around the pond

all night long



attached to nothing

the skylark singing

So many extraordinary poems! I loved them all. It made my wait seem short.

If you have somewhere to go, and you know you will be waiting a long time, I suggest reading Basho. You will feel as if you are traveling without moving, seeing the wonders of nature in your soul even if you are confined to a chair!

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