Autumn epigram . . .

Kono michi ya!
Yuku hito nashi ni,
Aki no kure.
                     
–Bashō

17th-century pilgrimage poet, Matsuo Bashō, wrote that haunting haiku in the autumn of his travels.  The poem’s shape shifts effortlessly in the hands of different translators as they try to walk down Bashō’s  road.  Here are two of my favorites:

All along this road
not a single soul–only
autumn evening comes

My way–
noone on the road
and it’s autumn, getting dark

Both translations, for me, capture the spirit of the original.  I’m only sorry that I can not credit the anonymous translators I found online while tracing Bashō’s footsteps.  Even so, I think their translations are beautiful . . . and they’ve inspired me to try my own variation (reinvention?) of the original:

Down this road–alone
silent, solitary, still
watching autumn fall.

Why not share your version of Bashō’s autumn journey with me?

 

 

 

 

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About Margaret Dornaus

I’m a writer and a teacher, as well as a haiku-doodler. I live in a beautiful woodland setting, surrounded by native oak forests, that inspires me to record haiku snapshots of luna moths and our resident roadrunner, and even an occasional black bear as it hightails it across the top of my road, my mongrel dog barking at its heels as I watch with wonder. My work as a travel writer has appeared in publications from The Dallas Morning News to the Robb Report. You can find examples of my travel writing–as well as excerpts from a travel memoir I’m working on–at my other WordPress site, Travelin’ On. What more than that do you need to know? Only that I started this blog with an eye toward collaboration. Got a haiku? Send it my way. . . . I’m all about new visions & voices. Best, Margaret
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7 Responses to Autumn epigram . . .

  1. Van K. Brock says:

    Good suggestion for a haiku about autumn. What haiku is and isn’t.

    BY KIKAKU, A STUDENT OF BASHO’S
    DARTING DRAGON-FLY …
    TAKE ITS SHINY WINGS, NOW LOOK…
    BRIGHT RED PEPPER-POD. KIKAKU

    BASHO’S Reply (THAT’S NO HAIKU, HERE):
    BRIGHT RED PEPPER-POD …
    GIVE IT SHINY WINGS. O, SEE:
    BRILLIANT DRAGONFLY. BASHO

  2. Van K. Brock says:

    Outside, the leaves fall,
    Inside, I read, alone, gold
    covering the lawn.

  3. MLA says:

    Another translation I like (by Makoto Ueda):
    The road here —
    No traveler comes along
    This autumn evening.

    My version:
    night fall —
    and there’s no one
    nearby to help

    Thanks, Margaret, fun post. 🙂

  4. That’s one of my favorite haiku…the first one I dared to paraphrase myself, too. My version:

    Lonely road
    No one to greet
    This autumn evening.

  5. Eric says:

    This looked like fun, so I thought I’d give it a shot:

    Alone on this road
    Autumn’s darkness all around
    Walking in the dark

    • Thank you, Eric. Basho’s poem has inspired quite a few readers here to try their hands at an interpretation, and I am grateful for them all! Thank you, too, for introducing me to your sites. I love the pictures of bare trees you have up right now, as I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about how I’ll feel once the leaves here finally fall . . .

  6. Pingback: November 15: Basho and me « Red Dragonfly

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