Matsuo Basho's famous haiku poems
Among the haiku poems, I would like to introduce you the 10 famous examples of his “Sabi” works including “old pond and frog”, “cicada” and his death poem .
- Most famous 10 haiku poems in Japanese and English
- Biography of Matsuo Basho
- Wabi and Sabi, Japanese unique sense of art
The haiku poems are shown in original Japanese 5-7-7 syllables, and translated to English three lines style to realize the meaning.
If you want to hear Basho’s haiku in Japanese, please subscribe for unlimited posts.
30 Matsuo Basho’s haiku poems including the best10 with Japanese voice (only subscriber)
Sample (Old Pond haiku poem)
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
A owner of the old thatched hut
Is also changed to another
It’s 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’ eyes are
*”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
The summer grasses.
All that remains
Of warriors’ dreams.
*Hiraizumi prospered as the independent country from Japan centered on Kyoto. However in the late Heian Period, the Kamakura government destroyed it.
五月雨の 降のこしてや 光堂
Samidare no/ Furinokosite ya/ Hikari-do
The early summer rain
Fall and fall yet
Leave untouched Hikari-do Hall.
*Hikari-do: Konjikido. One of the hall of Chusonji, in Hiraizumi.
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
Samidare wo/ Atsumete Hayashi/ Mogamigawa
The rains of summer join together.
How swift it is
Other Basho’s famous haiku poems
物いへば 唇寒し 秋の風
Mono ieba/ Kuchibiru samushi/ Aki no kaze
When you say something,
The lip feel cold.
The Autumn wind.
*The haiku poem expresses about that people told a bad mouth about someone. It is a rare poetry with self-discipline by Basho.
粽結ふ 片手にはさむ 額髪
Chimaki yu/ Katate ni hasamu/ Hitai gami
While rolling the Chimaki dumpling,
The other hand hold,
*Chimaki: A rice dumpling wrapped in bamboo leaves. Eating at Boys’ Festival
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
A 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.
Do you like it? If you want to hear Basho’s haiku in Japanese, please subscribe for unlimited posts.
30 Matsuo Basho’s haiku poems including the best 10 with Japanese voice (only subscriber)
Sample (Cicada haiku poem)
More Basho’s haiku poems
Other famous Japanese poets
Other traditional Japanese poetry “Tanka”