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.

 

Frog_Getsuju

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

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