Canadian equivalent of Basho’s “old pond” haiku REVISED = équivalent canadien du haiku « vieil étang » de Basho RÉVISÉ

Canadian equivalent of Basho’s “old pond” haiku REVISED = équivalent canadien du haiku « vieil étang » de Basho RÉVISÉ

beaver pond
frog springs

beaver pond haiku620

étang des castors
la grenouille s’élance

Richard Vallance

3 excellent translations of the original haiku from:

matsuo basho old pond examples

original haiku:

furu ike ya kawazu tobikomu mizu no oto

old pond kanji latinized


old pond
frog leaping

Cid Corman

the old pond,
a frog jumps in:

Alan Watts

the old pond —
a frog jumps in,
sound of water.

Robert Hass

old pond kanjia

2 horrible translations:

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

Chris Hidden Page

The old pond, yes, and
A frog-jumping-in-the-
Water’s noise! 

G. S. Fraser

from the Commentary on this page:

Ya is a cutting word that separates and yet joins the expressions before and after. It is punctuation that marks a transition — a particle of anticipation.
Though there is a pause in meaning at the end of the first segment, the next two segments have no pause between them. In the original, the words of the second and third parts build steadily to the final word oto. This has penetrating impact — “the frog jumps in water’s sound.” Haiku poets commonly play with their base of three parts, running the meaning past the end of one segment into the next, playing with their form, as all artists do variations on the form they are working with. Actually, the name “haiku” means “play verse.”

It is highly advisable to read this entire commentary.


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