Fallen Sick on a Journey

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  • Topic: Matsuo Bashō, Haiku, Season
  • Pages : 3 (649 words )
  • Download(s) : 34
  • Published : October 31, 2012
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Oku No Hosomichi (1694)
Basho, Matsuo

Fallen sick on a journey,
In dreams I run wildly
Over a withered moor.

An old pond!
A frog jumps in-
The sound of water.

The first soft snow!
Enough to bend the leaves
Of the jonquil low.

In the cicada's cry
No sign can foretell
How soon it must die.

No one travels
Along this way but I,
This autumn evening.

In all the rains of May
there is one thing not hidden -
the bridge at Seta Bay.

The years first day
thoughts and loneliness;
the autumn dusk is here.

Clouds appear
and bring to men a chance to rest
from looking at the moon.

Harvest moon:
around the pond I wander
and the night is gone.

Poverty's child -
he starts to grind the rice,
and gazes at the moon.

No blossoms and no moon,
and he is drinking sake
all alone!

Won't you come and see
loneliness? Just one leaf
from the kiri tree.

Temple bells die out.
The fragrant blossoms remain.
A perfect evening!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Asian Poetry
Matsuo Basho was a famous Japanese poet, who traveled across Asia, mostly on foot, unfortunately on one such a journey he had fallen sick and a stomach illness claimed his life. While Basho was ill he wrote “Oku No Hosomichi” which was essentially about seasons and the process of dying. In lines 10-12 he says: “In the cicada's cry No sign can foretell How soon it must die” I believe he is referring to himself, that even though his relatives and those close to him know he’s dying and are mourning his passing, no one knows when the day will come that he’s not with them anymore. In the lines 13-15 He first mentions that he is alone “No one travels Along this way but I, This autumn evening” in lines 19-21 He speaks of being lonely “The years first day thoughts and loneliness; the autumn dusk is here.“ And later on in the poem he mentions it twice more in lines 33-38: “No blossoms and no moon, and he is drinking sake all alone!” “Won't you come and see loneliness?...
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