That Basho Frog

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.

Furuike ya
kawazu tobikomu
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 Museum of Broken Relationships

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…

16 June

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.