Basho's Frog in my Tent

5:17 p.m. on April 6, 2012 (EDT)
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5/7/5 contest version:

old green Seedhouse tent --

through a hole a frog jumps in

a soft sleeping bag


Technically, the translation of 5/7/5 to syllables ends up with a haiku that's too long when compared to the original Japanese form. Most modern English writers of haiku skip the 5/7/5 requirement and concentrate on the cutting word, a fragment and phrase and usually a seasonal word, but not always. If I were going to write this haiku in the style that I normally write in, it'd look like this:

old Seedhouse --

a frog jumps in

down bag

It's a play on Matsuo Bashô's frog haiku written in 1686, which has been translated in many ways, and is probably one of the most famous haiku. My favorite translation is by William J. Higginson:

old pond . . .
a frog leaps in
water’s sound

5:31 p.m. on April 6, 2012 (EDT)
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Excellent, Bryan! We're glad you joined in, shared your haiku, and explained the different versions. You are raising the bar.


5:32 p.m. on April 9, 2012 (EDT)
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I lover your second rendition ...down bag

5:13 p.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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4:58 a.m. on April 13, 2012 (EDT)
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I lover your second rendition ...down bag

Me too. I hope it counts though, bending the TS rules (^_-) on syllabicity.


When I first read about gear and haikus, I thought of this one:

first winter rain

even the monkey seems to want

a little straw raincoat

(trans. Jane Reichhold no. 613, [there's probably a smoother one - not to hand])


I never really 'got' why Basho's Old Pond was so popular but I think it grows on you, especially with a translation, and there are so many, that resonates.

Thanks for sharing that, Bryan.

12:47 p.m. on April 13, 2012 (EDT)
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That's a nice one. I've always liked the idea of a frog leaping into sound. It just clicks for me.

June 19, 2018
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