Among them, I would like to introduce you the 10 famous examples of his works including about “old pond and frog”, “cicada” and his death poem(“sick on a journey”). The haiku poems are shown in original Japanese 5-7-7 syllables, and translated to English three lines style to realize the meaning.
Other famous haiku poets
The Narrow Road to Deep North
草の戸も 住替る代ぞ ひなの家
Kusa no to mo/ Sumikawaru yo zo/ Hina no ie
The door of thatched hut
Also changed the owner.
At the Doll’s Festival.
*Basho gave his house another before going on a journey. Apparently it seems that the new residents were a family with girls.
行春や 鳥啼き魚の 目は泪
Yuku haru ya/ Tori naki uwo no/ Me ha namida
Spring is passing.
The birds cry, and the fishes fill
With tears on their eyes.
*”Spring is passing” often means an eternal parting. The birds and the fishes mean Basho and his friends.
夏草や 兵どもが 夢の跡
Natsukusa ya/ Tsuwamonodomo ga/ Yume no ato
Grasses in summer.
The warriors’ dreams
All that left.
*Hiraizumi prospered as the independent country from Japan centered on Kyoto. However in the late Heian Period, the Kamakura government destroyed it.
閑けさや 岩にしみいる 蝉の声
Shizukesa ya/ Iwa ni shimiiru/ Semi no koe
Penetrating the very rock,
A cicada’s voice.
Translated by Helen Craig Mccullough
*The haiku poem at Risshakuji Temple, Yamagata Prefecture.
五月雨を あつめてはやし 最上川
Dewa. Mogami River, A Perspective View of Mount Gassan by Utagawa Hiroshige.
Samidare wo/ Atsumete Hayashi/ Mogamigawa
The early summer rain,
Gathering it and fast
Other Basho’s famous haiku poems
物いへば 唇寒し 秋の風
Mono ieba/ Kuchibiru samushi/ Aki no kaze
The lip feel cold.
The Autum wind.
*The haiku poem expresses about that people told a bad mouth about someone. It is a rare poetry with self-discipline by Basho.
旅に病んで 夢は枯野を かけ廻る
Tabi ni yande/ Yume wa kareno wo/ Kakemeguru
Sicking on journey,
My dream run about
The desolate field.
*The last haiku poems of Matsuo Basho. As in the preface of Oku-no Homichi, it is a farewell poem of him who was obsessed by a journey.
More Basho’s haiku poems
Other famous Japanese poets
Other traditional Japanese poetry “Tanka”