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Matsuo Basho Haiku translations II

Dusk-gliding swallow, 
please spare my small friends
flitting among the flowers! 
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

A bee emerging
from deep within the peony's hairy recesses
flies off, sated
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

That dying cricket, 
how he goes on about his life! 
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Nothing in the cicada's cry
hints that it knows
how soon it must die.
—Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Pausing between clouds
the moon rests
in the eyes of its beholders
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The moon: glorious its illumination! 
Therefore, we give thanks.
Dark clouds cast their shadows on our necks.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The surging sea crests around Sado...
and above her? 
An ocean of stars.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Fire levitating ashes: 
my companion's shadow
animates the wall...
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Among the graffiti
one illuminated name: 
Yours.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Scrawny tomcat! 
Are you starving for fish and mice
or pining away for love? 
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Nothing happened! 
Yesterday simply vanished
like the blowfish soup.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Fever-felled mid-path
my dreams resurrect, to trek
into a hollow land
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Sick of this autumn migration
in dreams I drift
over flowerless fields...
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The first soft snow: 
leaves of the awed jonquil 
bow low
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Come, investigate loneliness! 
a solitary leaf
clings to the Kiri tree
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The cheerful-chirping cricket
contends gray autumn's gay, 
contemptuous of frost
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Whistle on, twilight whippoorwill, 
solemn evangelist
of loneliness
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The sea darkening, 
the voices of the wild geese: 
my mysterious companions! 
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The first chill rain: 
poor monkey, you too could use
a woven cape of straw
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

This snowy morning: 
cries of the crow I despise
(ah, but so beautiful!)
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

I wish I could wash
this perishing earth
in its shimmering dew
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Dabbed with morning dew
and splashed with mud, 
the melon looks wonderfully cool.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The butterfly 
perfuming its wings 
fans the orchid
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Will we remain parted forever?
Here at your grave:
two flowerlike butterflies!
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Ballet in the air!?
two butterflies, twice white, 
meet, mate, unite.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

A spring wind
stirs willow leaves
as a butterfly hovers unsteadily.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

As autumn deepens, 
a butterfly sips
chrysanthemum dew.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Come, butterfly, 
it's late
and we've a long way to go! 
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

An ancient pond, 
the frog leaps: 
the silver plop and gurgle of water
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

An ancient pond sleeps
untroubled by sound or movement...until...
suddenly a frog leaps! 
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Explosion! 
The frog returns
to its lily pad.
—Michael R. Burch

Lightning
shatters the darkness—
the night heron's shriek 
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Let us arrange 
these lovely flowers in the bowl
since there's no rice
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Like a heavy fragrance
snowflakes settle: 
lilies on rocks
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

High-altitude rose petals
falling
falling
falling: 
the melody of a waterfall.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Revered figure! 
I bow low
to the rabbit-eared Iris.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Cold white azalea—
a lone nun
in her thatched straw hut.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Glimpsed on this high mountain trail, 
delighting my heart—
wild violets
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

A simple man, 
content to breakfast with the morning glories—
this is who I am.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Ah me, 
I waste my meager breakfast
morning glory gazing! 
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Morning glories blossom, 
reinforcing the old fence gate.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Morning glories bloom, 
mending chinks
in the old fence
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

I too
have been accused
of morning glory gazing...
—original haiku by by Michael R. Burch

Curious flower, 
watching us approach: 
meet Death, our famished donkey.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Spring has come: 
the nameless hill 
lies shrouded in mist
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

The legs of the cranes
have been shortened
by the summer rains.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

An empty road
lonelier than abandonment: 
this autumn evening
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

As autumn draws near, 
so too our hearts
in this small tea room.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Late autumn: 
my neighbor, 
how does he continue? 
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Winter in the air: 
my neighbor, 
how does he fare? 
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Winter solitude: 
a world awash in white, 
the sound of the wind
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Except for a woodpecker
tapping at a post, 
the house is silent.
—Matsuo Basho translation by Michael R. Burch

Keywords/Tags: Matsuo Basho, Japan, Japanese, nature, seasons, spring, summer, fall, winter, life, death

Copyright © Michael Burch

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