Wednesday, March 10, 2010

すばらしい水曜日は比較する- Basho VERSUS Issa

(Another pre-scheduled post to appear while I'm in Japan)

The regular Great Wednesday Compare will return on March 24. You can still vote here for the Louisa May Alcott/ D.H. Lawrence showdown. In the meantime, here's a haiku smackdown between two masters, Basho and Issa. I'll give you four haiku by each poet, and you can vote for your favourite poet (POET, not poem) below. If you know better haiku (or better translations) by either author, feel free to add them to the comments to help sway the vote in your favour.

Vote in the comments. Voting ends on March 23rd.

Who's better? Basho or Issa?

Moonlight slants through
The vast bamboo grove:
A cuckoo cries

A night boat
sails away
illuminated by a wildfire

Summer grasses
all that remains
of soldiers dreams.

My grumbling wife -
if only she were here!
This moon tonight...

Clouds appear
and bring to men a chance to rest
from looking at the moon.

O snail
Climb Mount Fuji,
But slowly, slowly!

The old pond:
a frog jumps in,-
the sound of water.

Snow is melting
and the village is flooded
with children.

On a withered branch
A crow has alighted:
Nightfall in autumn.

A day of haze;
the great room
is deserted and still.


´´Saray´´ said...

I could never choose between Basho and Issa. I adore them both.

Allow me to share with you all two of my favourite haiku of all time, by a contemporary Japanese haijin.

in the autumn dusk
the parrot repeats the name
of its dead master

and my ultimate favourite:

drawn by the cries
of the winging wild geese
the blind dog´s gaze

I´ve been writing haiku in English for several years and got many published in British journals. This form of poetry fascinates me so great to see you devote a post to it John :)

´´Saray´´ said...

Oh dear! I forgot the most important thing, the haijin´s name. Kohjin Sakamoto.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I exclaimed "oh I love this one" quite a few times while reading the works of both poets. But ultimately I exclaimed that more for Basho.

So Basho it is!

Have you hobnobbed with many haiku poets so far on your trip?

Melwyk said...

I love them both as well. But I love Basho incrementally I'll vote for Basho this week.

Bybee said...

I'm fond of Basho.