Teachers Source Notes - Master Basho's Spirit

natsu-gusa ya / tsuwamono-domo-ga / yume no ato
summer grasses (:!) / strong ones' / dreams'site
All that remains of
Those brave warriors' dreamings -
These summer grasses.
Summer grasses,
All that remains
Of soldiers' dreams
(trans. Stryk)

Evening rain:
the basho
speaks of it first
Ill on my journey -
dreams roam
parched moors
An inch or two
above dead grasses
heat waves
The petals tremble
on the yellow mountain rose -
roar of the rapids
I'll take these back
for the city slickers -
sour chestnuts
My way -
no-one on the road
and it's autumn, getting dark
A terrible sound -
the gilded helmet's
trapped cricket
In the moonlight a worm
drills through a chestnut
With what kind of voice
would the spider cry
in the autumn wind?
The shallows -
a crane's thighs splashed
in cool waves
A dragonfly, trying to -
oops, hang on to the upside
of a blade of grass
Deep into autumn
and this caterpillar
still not a butterfly
Watching for snow,
the boozers' faces -
a flash of lightning
All my friends
viewing the moon -
an ugly bunch
Winter gusts
strop the crag
through a gap in the cedars
Like stroking a boil
the touch of the tip
of the willow-branch
Ice in the night -
the water jar cracks,
waking me
Thirty p each:
a cup of tea,
and a singing bird
From the bough
floating downriver,
insect song.
The puppy too
they pelt with snowballs
till he scampers off!
Once in the box
every one of them is equal -
the chess pieces
Silverfish escaping -
fathers, children
Sprawled like an X -
how carefree,
how lonely
House burnt down -
dance in embers
One bath
after another -
how stupid!

My old home -
wherever I touch,
My empty face,
by lightning
Snail - baring
to the moon
Bright moon,
welcome to my hut -
such as it is
Are there
short-cuts in the sky,
summer moon?
(Lady Sute Jo, trans. Stryk)
How long the day:
the boat is talking
with the shore
Fields and mountains
all taken by snow -
nothing remains
The skylark:
Its voice alone fell,
leaving nothing behind
Asleep or awake
the night is long -
the sound of rapids
(Santoka, translated Stevens)
Wet with morning dew
I go
in any direction I want
(Santoka, translated Stevens)
The thief left it behind -
the moon
at the window
(Ryokan, translated Stevens)
The wind has brought
enough leaves
to make a fire
(Ryokan, translated Stevens)
Spring rain -
everything becomes
more lovely
(Lady Chiyo-ni)
Shelling peas -
hard rain falling
on the chimney cowling
(Maggie West)
In the Rose Garden
a man I don't much like
enjoying the sun
(George Marsh)
Do this! Do that!
Spring cleaning
Mom's in a bad mood
(Matt Hunt, age 11)
Scooping up water -
the moon in my hands, I pick up
nothing at all
(Sirintip Pumson, age 11)
By the flare
of each rocket
I see my friend
(Misato Hirashita, age 12)
Snowflakes falling
watching from my window
sipping hot chocolate
(Emily Wiseman, age 9)
Drawing a house
with a fenced-in yard
the deaf boy
Five mince pies
in tissue paper -
no message, no name
In a passing car
just time to see
the batsman, out
(Jackie Hardy)
It's no use mouthing
O after O at me -
I don't speak goldfish!
(David Cobb)
Birthday dinner -
lid of the ricepot
bubbling over
(David Cobb)
Children panicking
out of the tiger cage
a wasp
(David Cobb)
Coming down
through lark-song, my daughter
on a parachute
(David Cobb)
Minding the robots
technicians shift their weight
from foot to foot
(David Cobb)
Close circuit TV:
watching myself going
the other way
(David Cobb)

A scarecrow in church -
how wide the pleading arms,
how stiff the knees!
(David Cobb)
The spiritualist
his dog snapping
at unseen flies
(Brian Tasker)
Embers die
the chair where the friend sat
fills with moonlight
(Cicely Hill)
Down the chimney
First a pigeon's cooing
then a crust of bread
(Cicely Hill)
Under forest trees
gold globes of horse dung steaming
in the frosty air
(Cicely Hill)
The scarecrow in the distance;
it walked with me
as I walked
The blade of grass
sits waving in the wind
with millions surrounding it
(Tony, age 12)
Wayne runs down the wing
with deep thoughts of Wembley
crash - he's tackled again
(David, age 11)
Trees waving in the wind
rain thunders down
trees loosen their roots
(Emma, age 7)
The big willow waved
washing away the breeze
leaving fresh branches
(Jason, age 11)
Hard rain reveals
in the garden mud
glints of sharp glass
(Connaire Kensit)
Waves crash
against fortifications
dead of night
(Michael Gunton)
Behind a lone tree
on the mountain ridge
immense clouds moving
(Michael Gunton)
In the forest
a man shouting
day after day
(Michael Gunton)
In spring sunshine
its face worn away
the sandstone saint
(Michael Gunton)
Just echoing boards
this empty house
where we laughed and cried
(Jim Norton)
Dare I tell him?
From my neighbour's dung-yard
a double rainbow
(Jim Norton)
Beyond the crossroads
deep into autumn
the hillroad disappears
(Jim Norton)
Each morning in spring
the birds and the toaster
doing their stuff
Winter starlings -
a hundred-bird silence
over my head
The yellowed leaves
are the feelings of the tree
falling away