June 20, 2009


Haiku by Basho. From "Narrow Road to Oku:
I wrote the following haibun some years ago.
A mountain haijin has come to the seaside. I am at a hot spring along the coast of the Japan Sea (a twelve hour train ride from my town). The spring is located in the open, right by the beach. A few steps away is the wide, wide expanse of the Japan Sea. I watch the huge sunset as I warm myself in the hot water.

calm sea...
a boat's wake
leads to the setting sun

Basho walked along this beach on his "Narrow Road of Oku" and wrote the following haiku:

the rough sea -
flowing toward Sado Island
the river of Heaven

Sado is too far to see from where I am. And I do not stay outside to observe the river of Heaven, the Milky Way. I have a party to attend and, having been in the hot spring too long, I am more attracted to cold beer and sake.

a treat for travelers,
milk for Basho
and sake for me
(published on "Frogpond" and "American Haibun & Haiga", 2003)

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