Pine Trees screen (Shōrin-zu byōbu, 松林図 屏風) by Hasegawa Tōhaku, c. 1595

Riveted by Nature’s Beauty

Five Japanese Haiku Poems

By Matsuo Bashō, (1644-1694)

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   Winter is here, and low
Droop the poor frail narcissus leaves
   Under their weight of snow.

   Come out! Come out with me!
‘Tis worth a tumble in the snow
   The wondrous sight to see.


   The hail falls pitter pat,
And fiercely rattles down upon
   The brave old pine-tree’s hat.

Plum Park in Kameido (亀戸梅屋舗, Kameido Umeyashiki), woodblock print by Hiroshige

   The year is nearly o’er,
And it will do me good to see
   The plums in bloom once more.


   The year draws to its end;
Abundant joy and happiness
   To each and every friend.

Matsuo Bashō, (松尾 芭蕉) was born Matsuo Kinsaku, (松尾 金作) and was known as  Matsuo Chūemon Munefusa, (松尾 忠右衛門 宗房). in the 17th century. He was the most famous poet of Japan’s Edo period and the founding master of haiku, three-lined verses of seventeen syllables arranged in lines of five, seven, five.

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