The Old Pond

written by Matsuo Basho

The Old Pond

— Matsuo Basho

Following are several translations
of the 'Old Pond' poem, which may be
the most famous of all haiku:

Furuike ya
kawazu tobikomu
mizu no oto

- Basho



Literal Translation

Fu-ru (old) i-ke (pond) ya,
ka-wa-zu (frog) to-bi-ko-mu (jumping into)
mi-zu (water) no o-to (sound)


Translated by Fumiko Saisho



The old pond-
a frog jumps in,
sound of water.


Translated by Robert Hass



Old pond...
a frog jumps in
water's sound.


Translated by William J. Higginson



An old silent pond...
A frog jumps into the pond,
splash! Silence again.


Translated by Harry Behn



There is the old pond!
Lo, into it jumps a frog:
hark, water's music!


Translated by John Bryan



The silent old pond
a mirror of ancient calm,
a frog-leaps-in splash.


Translated by Dion O'Donnol



old pond
frog leaping
splash


Translated by Cid Corman



Antic pond-
frantic frog jumps in-
gigantic sound.


Translated by Bernard Lionel Einbond



MAFIA HIT MAN POET: NOTE FOUND PINNED TO LAPEL
OF DROWNED VICTIM'S DOUBLE-BREASTED SUIT! ! !

'Dere wasa dis frogg
Gone jumpa offa da logg
Now he inna bogg.'

- Anonymous


Translated by George M. Young, Jr.



Old pond
leap - splash
a frog.


Translated by Lucien Stryk



The old pond,
A frog jumps in:.
Plop!


Translated by Allan Watts



The old pond, yes, and
A frog is jumping into
The water, and splash.

Translated by G.S. Fraser

About the poet


Matsuo Basho

Bashō was born Matsuo Kinsaku around 1644, somewhere near Ueno in Iga Province. His father may have been a low-ranking samurai, which would have promised Bashō a career in the military but not much chance of a notable life. It was traditionally claimed by biographers that he worked in the kitchens. However, as a child Bashō became a servant to Tōdō Yoshitada, who shared with Bashō a love for haikai no renga, a form of cooperative poetry composition. The sequences were opened with a verse in the 5-7-5 mora format; this verse was named a hokku, and would later be renamed haiku when presented as stand-alone works. The hokku would be followed by a related 7-7 addition by another...

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