Basho: “Testing this fleeting life”

Alludes to a Saigyo tanka. He is implying that he wishes the dew dropping would clean the sad, unclean world. My Translation The dew drip-dripping, Testing this fleeting life— This sooty world Original Japanese 露とくとく試みに浮世すすがばや Pronunciation Tsuyu toku-toku Kokoromi ni ukiyo Susuga-baya Literal Translation Dew …

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Basho: “At the barrier gate of Fuwa”

Alludes to Fujiwara no Yoshitsune’s tanka. My Translation Autumn breeze— And the thickets and field At the barrier gate of Fuwa Original Japanese 秋風や薮も畠も不破の関 Pronunciation Aki-kaze ya Yabu mo hatake mo Fuwa no seki Literal Autumn wind ! Bush/thicket [and / equal emphasis] [farm/field] [and …

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Basho: “A traveling sleep, almost the end”

My Translation Not dying yet! A traveling sleep, almost the end— Autumn’s evening Original Japanese 死にもせぬ旅寝の果てよ秋の暮 Pronunciation Shini mo se-nu Tabi-ne no hate yo Aki no kure Literal Translation die ! doing not [journey sleep = sleeping on a journey] [end/exhaust/die] autumn ’s/of [dark/evening/end-of (autumn/year)]

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Basho: “The sound of hailstones”

My Translation Harsh! The sound of hailstones On my cedar hat Original Japanese いかめしき音や霰の桧木笠 Pronunciation Ikameshiki Oto ya arare no Hinoki-gasa Literal Translation [harsh/grave/solemn/rough/intense sound] sound ! [hail/hailstone] ’s/of [hinoki cypress hat / conical hat made of thin cypress]

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Basho’s “Lumpy snowflakes ~ twist into mochi threads”

My Translation Lumpy snowflakes Twist into mochi threads— The weeping willow Original Japanese 餅雪を白糸となす柳哉 Pronunciation Mochi-yuki wo Shira-ito to nasu Yanagi kana Literal Large snowflakes White thread into make/form/do/change into Weeping willow how! “Mochi-yuki” is large snowflakes that remind people of mochi, or rice cakes. …

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Basho’s “The weeping willow’s hair”

My Translation Spring wind combs Here and there— The weeping willow’s hair Original Japanese あち東風や面々さばき柳髪 Pronunciation Achi-kochi ya Men men sabaki Yanagi-gami Literal 1. over there [east wind/spring wind] /  [homonym = here and there] 2. [each one / all / every direction] [judge/handle/arrange/comb (hair)] …

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Basho: “If only the wind wouldn’t sour!”

My Translation The full bloom Of apricots untouched— If only the wind wouldn’t sour! Original Japanese 盛りなる梅にす手引く風もがな Pronunciation Sakuri naru Sude ni su-de hiku Kaze mogana Literal 1. [flourishing/full bloom] is/becomes 2. [Japanese apricot] [[empty/vinegar/sour] hand taking = leave w/o touching] 3. Wind [also how! …

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