Archives for category: Haiku

translated into a limerick by Alfred H. Marks

There once was a curious frog
Who sat by a pond on a log
And, to see what resulted,
In the pond catapulted
With a water-noise heard round the bog.

IMAGE:  “Basho’s frog haiku print” available at

by David Mura

After wandering years
Basho returned
to gaze at his umbilical cord
pickled in a jar. Plopped
in brine years ago
like the frog in the pond
in his famous haiku.
Of course
fame meant nothing
to him. He stood
in the blazing rain
in his family graveyard
and as a crow squawked overhead
the stones proclaimed him
the last of his line. He
kept feeling inside his
straw raincoat for a missing
limb or the hole where
the wind and rain
flew in. I’ll get drunk
tonight, he thought,
and his eyelashes glistened
as he trudged back
to his hermit’s hut
to gaze again at the jar.

SOURCE: “Frightening Things” appears in David Mura‘s collection The Last Incantations: Poems  (TriQuarterly Books, 2014), available at

ART: “Portrait of Matsuo Basho” by Katsushika Hokusai


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  David Mura is a writer, memoirist, poet, and performance artist whose work has won critical praise and numerous awards. He gives presentations at educational institutions, businesses and other organizations throughout the country. His books include The Last Incantations: Poems (Triquarterly Books, 2014), Turning Japanese (1991), Where the Body Meets Memory (1996), After We Lost Our Way (1989), The Colors of Desire (1995), Angels for the Burning (2004), and Song for Uncle Tom, Tonto & Mr. Moto (2002). Visit the author at

by Matsuo Basho
Translated by Allen Ginsberg

The old pond
A frog jumped in,

ART: “Good Fortune” by RHRussell. Original art available at

Thirty-six seconds of lovely pictures and music. Enjoy!


One Hundred Frogs: From Renga to Haiku to English

by Hiroaki Sato

BOOK DESCRIPTION:  Poet Ezra Pound described the haiku as “an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time.” It is the haiku’s sense of immediacy and its precision that continue to appeal to poets and poetry lovers today. In One Hundred Frogs, author Hiroaki Sato  discusses the haiku as well as the often ignored renga or linked-verse form, out of which the haiku grew. One Hundred Frogs features many renowned Japanese poets, most notably Matsuo Basho, in the translated poetry that illustrates the text. To reveal the myriad choices open to translators of renga and haiku, the author provides an in-depth analysis of one of Japan’s most famous haiku, Basho’s poem about a frog in a pond, and presents a compilation of over one hundred translations and variations of the poem.

Find One Hundred Frogs by Hiroaki Sato at


Matsuo Basho‘s frog poem is illustrated in this canvas print, available in various sizes at This translation of the poem reads:

A lonely pond in age-old stillness sleeps . . .
Apart, unstirred by sound or motion . . . till
suddenly into it a lithe frog leaps.

Frog Haiku
by Matsuo Basho
Translated by Alan Watts

The old pond,
A frog jumps in:

IMAGE: Fan painting of a frog (detail), Kano school (15th-19th century)

Calligraphy and animation by Ehsan Akbari.


People who follow the Silver Birch Press blog know that we love to pursue themes — and explore many facets of one particular idea or subject. As summer gets under way, frogs have been on my mind — and, for many, their call signifies the warm season. In reading Matsuo Basho‘s famous Frog Haiku recently, I found that there are many translations of the same few lines. During the coming weeks, we’ll feature some of these translations each day.

Basho’s Frog Haiku in the original Japanese:

Furu ike ya
kawazu tobikomu
mizu no oto

Translation by D.T. Suzuki:

Into the ancient pond

the frog jumps.

Water sound!

IMAGE: “Frog and gold beetle” by Kitagawa Utamaro (1788).

by Issa

may the wind send
this plum blossom scent
to Kyoto!

IMAGE: “Plum Blossoms” by Cindy Lee Longhini. Prints available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828) was a Japanese poet and Buddhist priest of the Jōdo Shinshū sect known for his haiku poems and journals. He is better known as simply Issa, a pen name meaning Cup-of-tea. He is regarded as one of the four haiku masters in Japan, along with Bashō, Buson, and Shiki.