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The dragonfly
can't quite land
    on that blade of grass.
O Matsushima!
O Matsushima!
O Matsushima!
Autumn moonlight--
  a worm digs silently
    into the chestnut.
The pine tree of Shiogoshi
Trickles all night long
Shiny drops of moonlight.
A bee
A bee
staggers out
    of the peony.
Wrapping the rice cakes,
with one hand
    she fingers back her hair.
This old village--
not a single house
    without persimmon trees.
When the winter chrysanthemums go,
there's nothing to write about
    but radishes.
A cicada shell;
it sang itself
    utterly away.
Atop the mushroom
who knows from where
a leaf!
Moonlight slanting
through the bamboo grove;
    a cuckoo crying.
How admirable!
to see lightning and not think
    life is fleeting.
A monk sips morning tea,
it's quiet,
    the chrysanthemum's flowering.
the cicada's cry
    drills into the rocks.
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.
Spring rain
leaking through the roof
    dripping from the wasps' nest.
The oak tree:
not interested
    in cherry blossoms.
Nothing in the cry
of cicadas suggests they
are about to die
A caterpillar,
this deep in fall--
    still not a butterfly.
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.
At a hermitage:

    A cool fall night--
getting dinner, we peeled
    eggplants, cucumbers.
A snowy morning--
by myself,
    chewing on dried salmon.
Fleas, lice,
a horse peeing
    near my pillow.
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
The squid seller's call
mingles with the voice
    of the cuckoo.
Old pond,
Old pond,
frog jumps in
- splash
Awake at night--
the sound of the water jar
    cracking in the cold.
Oh bush warblers!
Now you've **** all over
my rice cake on the porch
First winter rain--
even the monkey
    seems to want a raincoat.
scent of plum blossoms
on the misty mountain path
a big rising sun
Awakened at midnight
by the sound of the water jar
cracking from the ice
First day of spring--
I keep thinking about
    the end of autumn.
Cold night: the wild duck,
sick, falls from the sky
    and sleeps awhile.
Staying at an inn
where prostitutes are also sleeping--
    bush clover and the moon.
Coolness of the melons
flecked with mud
    in the morning dew.
Bush warbler:
***** on the rice cakes
    on the porch rail.
Winter solitude--
in a world of one color
    the sound of wind.
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.
Snowy morning--
one crow
after another.
Heat waves shimmering
one or two inches
    above the dead grass.
What fish feel,
birds feel, I don't know--
    the year ending.
First snow
First snow
    on the half-finished bridge.
The morning glory also
turns out
    not to be my friend.
Blowing stones
along the road on Mount Asama,
    the autumn wind.
attached to nothing,
    the skylark singing.

— The End —