The Essential Haiku – Basho

Deep autumn-
my neighbour,
how does he live, I wonder?

-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-

Autumn moonlight-
a worm digs silently
into the chestnut.

*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

First day of spring-
I keep thinking about
the end of autumn.

:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:-:

Spring!
a nameless hill
in the haze.

.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-

The oak tree
not interested
in cherry blossoms

-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

Harvest moon-
walking around the pond
all night long.

– – – – – – – –

How admirable!
to see lightning and not think
life is fleeting.

* * * * * * * *

Good house:
sparrows out back
feasting in the millet.

. . . . . . . .

Winter solitude-
in a world of one colour
the sound of wind.

– – – – – – – – – –

The clouds
are giving these moon-watchers
a little break.

* * * * * *

The beginning of art-
a rice-planting song
in the backcountry.

– – – – – – –

You could turn this way,
I’m also lonely
this autumn evening.

. . . . . . .

Don’t imitate me;
it’s as boring
as the two halves of a melon.

— — — — — — –

A field of cotton-
as if the moon
had flowered.

–Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)
-Edited with verse translation by Robert Hass