Somehow land masses were folded like sweaters
and stacked in colored layers to dry
on these sandy shores full of bathers
who didn’t pack any sweaters for vacation
and don’t care about any geologic formations.
That Basho frog at the old pond –
I say it was an old pond.
That sound – a young, energetic diving frog.
Ancient pond, old water. Kerplunk. Frog ages.
Pond water ripples settle. Pond unchanged.
Basho’s frog haiku may be the most famous haiku. These three lines have been translated many times.
mizu no oto
Fu-ru (old) i-ke (pond) ya,
ka-wa-zu (frog) to-bi-ko-mu (jumping into)
mi-zu (water) no o-to (sound)
– Literal Translation by Fumiko Saisho
The old pond-
a frog jumps in,
sound of water.
– Translated by Robert Hass
The suggested donation to enter is expensive.
Each of us has our own gallery.
Mine is dark. Poorly lit. That’s intentional.
Letters, drawings, paintings, postcards, photographs – many poems.
It’s okay to touch. No one cares.
NOTE: I wrote this poem and used that title without knowing that such a museum actually exists. Read about all that synchronicity…
Breakfast in bed wife in bed hungers
scented summer river morning errands about town,
funeral procession passes café wine cigarettes
writer conversation notebook letters chardonnay thoughts schoolgirls
laughing stars appear walking home silk night.
James Joyce chose June 16 as the date setting for his novel Ulysses because it was on that day that he went on his first date with the love of his life, Nora Barnacle.