Basho remix (2)

Basho portrait by Yosa Buson
Basho portrait by Yosa Buson (Wikimedia Commons ~ public domain)

If we’re going to keep classic poetry relevant, we ought to consider updating it from time to time to reflect current realities. Back in April 2007, in response to a “Poetry Thursday” prompt, I updated three of Matsuo Basho’s most famous haiku (hokku, if you want to get technical). I forgot about the post until just last week, when I ran across it in the archives. Time for a few more, I thought.

*

Summer grasses—
all that remains
of soldiers’ dreams

Summer grasses—
all that remains
of shareholders’ dreams

*

A bee
staggers out
of the peony

A bee
staggers out
of the hive

*

A caterpillar
this deep in autumn—
still not a butterfly

An Asian ladybug
this deep in autumn—
still not acclimated

*

A field of cotton—
as if the moon
had flowered

A field of cotton—
as if the earth
had surrendered

*

Second and fourth Basho translations by Robert Hass (The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, & Issa). The other two are my own versions.

4 Replies to “Basho remix (2)”

  1. In MN Asian ladybugs move into your house for the winter. We had dozens if not hundreds, a few people had thousands. Pretty, disease-free, generally clean and harmless though they can nip you.

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