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


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