Reading Basho, I Notice the Cicadas

The tympanal clicks in the hottest hours

counting out a song in another language.

One of mating, and not of love,

that I know well and repeat myself

in the five seven of this poem.

 


Two Haiku by Basho

Nothing in the cry
of cicadas suggests they
are about to die

Lonely silence,
a single cicada’s cry
sinking into stone

 

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Poetry 101

WordPress offers an Intro to Poetry 101 freebie online “course” to inspire you to write 10 poems in 10 days. Really, it is just a very brief one-word prompt and some poetry suggestions.

Day One: Haiku, the Purest of Forms
The sashimi of poetry. Seventeen syllables channeling the essence of sound and meaning. Haiku.
A traditional Japanese form now popular around the world, Haiku come with a preset structure: three lines containing five, seven, and five syllables, respectively (or, in more modern haiku, three lines following the long-short-long pattern)

I don’t normally need much prompting to write, but it is good to get poked into writing once and awhile.  And though this site is devoted to ronka poems, a few haiku and other forms might slip in now.  Poems for this little side project will be tagged #poetry101 here, and you can see poems by others as part of this project at wordpress.com/tag/poetry101

Here is my day one water haiku.

Rainfall, petals fall
Water returns to sky
Plants back to earth

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