A Year of Bashō

Twelve haiku translations from Bonsai, PIE Books, Tokyo, 2011,
translated by Emiko Miyashita and Michael Dylan Welch



『盆栽』 芭蕉句


The First Month
一月
幾霜に心ばせをの松かざり
ikushimo ni kokorobase o no matsukazari

after years of frost
the unchanged green heart
of the New Year pine decoration


The Second Month
二月
春もややけしきととのふ月と梅
haru mo yaya keshiki totonou tsuki to ume

gradually spring—
the land just so
with moon and plum


The Third Month
三月
はるなれや名もなき山の朝がすみ
harunare ya namonaki yama no asagasumi

truly spring—
nameless mountains
in a thin morning mist


The Fourth Month
四月
あらたふと青葉若葉の日のひかり
aratōto aoba wakaba no hi no hikari

how brilliant—
leaves both green and young
in the sun’s light


The Fifth Month
五月
するが地や花橘も茶の匂ひ
surugaji ya hanatachibana mo cha no nioi

Suruga road—
even the wild orange blossoms
smell of green tea


The Sixth Month
六月
六月や峯に雲置くあらし山
rokugatsu ya mine ni kumo oku arashiyama

sixth month—
clouds resting on the peaks
of Arashiyama


The Seventh Month
七月
清滝や波に散込青松葉
kiyotaki ya nami ni chirikomu aomatsuba

Kiyotaki River—
the green pine needles
fall into the waves


The Eighth Month
八月
名月に麓の霧や田のくもり
meigetsu ni fumoto no kiri ya ta no kumori

the harvest moon glows
over fog at the mountains’ feet—
misted rice fields


The Ninth Month
九月
秋を経て蝶もなめるや菊の露
aki o hete chō mo nameru ya kiku no tsuyu

deepening autumn—
is the butterfly also licking
the chrysanthemum dew?


The Tenth Month
十月
色付や豆腐に落て薄紅葉
irozuku ya tōfu ni ochite usumomiji

turning color—
a lightly tinted leaf
fallen to the tofu


The Eleventh Month
十一月
作りなす庭をいさむる時雨かな
tsukurinasu niwa o isamuru shigure kana

refined garden
the passing winter shower
brings it to life


The Twelfth Month
十二月
節季候の来れば風雅も師走哉
sekizoro no kureba fūga mo shiwasu kana

sekizoro beggars—
when they appear, poets also know
the year is ending

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