The dragonfly
can't quite land
    on that blade of grass.


O Matsushima!
O Matsushima!
O Matsushima!

The pine tree of Shiogoshi
Trickles all night long
Shiny drops of moonlight.

Autumn moonlight--
  a worm digs silently
    into the chestnut.

A cicada shell;
it sang itself
    utterly away.

When the winter chrysanthemums go,
there's nothing to write about
    but radishes.

Wrapping the rice cakes,
with one hand
    she fingers back her hair.

How admirable!
to see lightning and not think
    life is fleeting.

This old village--
not a single house
    without persimmon trees.

A bee

A bee
staggers out
    of the peony.

Atop the mushroom
who knows from where
a leaf!

A monk sips morning tea,
it's quiet,
    the chrysanthemum's flowering.

Moonlight slanting
through the bamboo grove;
    a cuckoo crying.

Don't imitate me;
it's as boring
    as the two halves of a melon.

Teeth sensitive to the sand
in salad greens--
    I'm getting old.


the cicada's cry
    drills into the rocks.

Spring rain
leaking through the roof
    dripping from the wasps' nest.

Nothing in the cry
of cicadas suggests they
are about to die

The oak tree:
not interested
    in cherry blossoms.

A caterpillar,
this deep in fall--
    still not a butterfly.

Fleas, lice,
a horse peeing
    near my pillow.

At a hermitage:

    A cool fall night--
getting dinner, we peeled
    eggplants, cucumbers.

The squid seller's call
mingles with the voice
    of the cuckoo.

Four Haiku

A hill without a name
Veiled in morning mist.

The beginning of autumn:
Sea and emerald paddy
Both the same green.

The winds of autumn
Blow: yet still green
The chestnut husks.

A flash of lightning:
Into the gloom
Goes the heron's cry.

Oh bush warblers!
Now you've shit all over
my rice cake on the porch

A snowy morning--
by myself,
    chewing on dried salmon.

Awake at night--
the sound of the water jar
    cracking in the cold.

First day of spring--
I keep thinking about
    the end of autumn.

Following are several translations
of the 'Old Pond' poem, which may be
the most famous of all haiku:

Furuike ya
kawazu tobikomu
mizu no oto

        -- Basho

Literal Translation

Fu-ru (old) i-ke (pond) ya,
ka-wa-zu (frog) to-bi-ko-mu (jumping into)
mi-zu (water) no o-to (sound)

    The old pond--
a frog jumps in,
    sound of water.

Translated by Robert Hass

Old pond...
a frog jumps in
water's sound.

Translated by William J. Higginson

An old silent pond...
A frog jumps into the pond,
splash! Silence again.

Translated by Harry Behn

There is the old pond!
Lo, into it jumps a frog:
hark, water's music!

Translated by John Bryan

The silent old pond
a mirror of ancient calm,
a frog-leaps-in splash.

Translated by Dion O'Donnol

old pond
frog leaping

Translated by Cid Corman

Antic pond--
frantic frog jumps in--
gigantic sound.

Translated by Bernard Lionel Einbond


'Dere wasa dis frogg
Gone jumpa offa da logg
Now he inna bogg.'

        -- Anonymous

Translated by George M. Young, Jr.

Old pond
leap -- splash
a frog.

Translated by Lucien Stryck

The old pond,
A frog jumps in:.

Translated by Allan Watts

The old pond, yes, and
A frog is jumping into
The water, and splash.

Translated by G.S. Fraser

Cold night: the wild duck,
sick, falls from the sky
    and sleeps awhile.

Awakened at midnight
by the sound of the water jar
cracking from the ice

Bush warbler:
shits on the rice cakes
    on the porch rail.

Coolness of the melons
flecked with mud
    in the morning dew.

scent of plum blossoms
on the misty mountain path
a big rising sun

Staying at an inn
where prostitutes are also sleeping--
    bush clover and the moon.

First winter rain--
even the monkey
    seems to want a raincoat.

Old pond,

Old pond,
frog jumps in
- splash

A field of cotton--
as if the moon
    had flowered.


The summer grasses
All that remains
Of brave soldiers dreams

Taking a nap,
feet planted
    against a cool wall.

Winter garden,
the moon thinned to a thread,
    insects singing.

Winter solitude--
in a world of one color
    the sound of wind.

Heat waves shimmering
one or two inches
    above the dead grass.

What fish feel,
birds feel, I don't know--
    the year ending.

The morning glory also
turns out
    not to be my friend.

First snow

First snow
    on the half-finished bridge.


Snowy morning--
one crow
after another.

Blowing stones
along the road on Mount Asama,
    the autumn wind.


attached to nothing,
    the skylark singing.

— The End —