Heartfelt Thanks to all of the visitors who have found their way to the site, and to all my teachers(all of you), those who supported my efforts, and the many who allowed their work to be displayed here, and of course, my wife Paula for reminding me what time it was in the wee hours of the morning.


                What follows are interpretations of Basho's works by three editors and translators, three gentlemen that would seem to have the qualifications for the task; R.H.Blyth, Lucien Stryck, and Peter Beilenson. There are also some comments by a fourth,Kenneth Rexroth. I began putting together this list as a means to clarify, for myself, what this lovely art form is all about. Opinions seem to vary wildly about just what constitutes haiku. There doesn't seem to be any "concrete" answers. Mr. Rexroth points out, however, in the preface to "One Hundred Poems from the Japanese" that "the Japanese language is almost as rich in homonyms and ordinary double meanings as is Chinese" and there are engo, "associated words rising from the same concept,occupy a position between our similes and metaphors...". He further speaks of the kake kotoba, a pivot word employed in two senses, even three on rare occasions. Rexroth makes the statement that "The pivot word shades into the pun, and some Japanese poems have so many puns that they may have two or more quite dissimilar meaning." I have also read that the kigo or "season word" is also a metaphor (there's that word again) for the stages of our lives. I guess my point is, if I have to have one, that an absolute statement as to the correct way to write haiku would be practically impossible. I found some of all three of the following interpretations to my liking. Mr. Beilenson attempts to stick with the 5-7-5 format, occassionally to the poems detriment. Stryck on the other hand seems very Spartan in his translations, and in the book his poems are taken from, "On Love and Barley - Haiku of Basho" one of Basho's poems seems to have two interpretations, it is appended to the list below.

        R.H. Blyth

        Moonlight slants through
        The vast bamboo grove:
        A cuckoo cries

        Ah, summer grasses!
        All that remains
        Of the warriors dreams.

        Along this road
        Goes no one;
        This autumn evening.

        From time to time
        The clouds give rest
        To the moon beholders..

        The butterfly is perfuming
        It's wings in the scent
        Of the orchid.

        Yes, spring has come
        This morning a nameless hill
        Is shrouded in mist.

        It is deep autumn
        My neighbor
        How does he live, I wonder.

        The old pond
        A frog jumps in
        The sound of water.


        From moon wreathed
        bamboo grove,
        cuckoo song.

        Summer grasses
        all that remains
        of soldiers dreams.

        Not one traveller
        braves this road -
        autumn night.

        Clouds -
        a chance to dodge

        Orchid breathing
        incense into
        butterfly wings.

        Spring - through
        morning mist
        what mountains there?

        Autumns end
        how does my
        neighbour live?

        Old pond
        leap - splash
        a frog.


        Moonlight slanting
        through all this long bamboo grove
        and nightingale song.

        Here where a thousand
        captains swore grand conquest
        Tall grasses their monument.

        By lonely roads
        this lonely poet marches
        into autumn dusk.

        Glorious the moon
        therefore our thanks, dark clouds
        come to rest our necks.

        Lady butterfly
        perfumes wings by floating
        over the orchid.

        Spring morning marvel
        lovely nameless little hill
        on a sea of mist

        In my dark winter
        lying ill, at last I ask
        how fares my neighbor

        Old dark sleepy pool
        quick unexpected frog
        goes plop! Watersplash.

                This haiku seemingly has 2 interpretations by Stryck: Fading bells - Dusk - though last now musky blossoms bells faded peal in dusk airs cherry rich and this one by Blyth: The temple bell dies away The scent of flowers in the evening Is still tolling the bell.

Basho:Gentlest Friend of Moon & Winds A childrens story for all ages

Commentaries on Basho's "lonely road".

Basho's own comments on his life as a poet. The Haiku Poets Hut Entrance