Leading haiku poet of the late 18th century and, with Basho and Issa, one of the great names in haiku. Also known as Yosa Buson or Taniguchi Buson. Also a distinguished Bunjinga(literati-style) painter, he perfected haiga ("haiky sketch") as a branch of Japanese pictorial art. His best-known painting disciple, Matsumura Goshun, also known as Gekkei, founded the Shijo school.
Born near Osaka, as a youth Buson went to Edo (now Tokyo). For five years (1737-42) he belonged to a haikai linked-verse circle over which Hayano Hajin (1676-1742) presided. Here he learned the traditions of the Basho school haikai as transmitted by Hattori Ransetsu and Takarai Kikaku. After Hajin's... more »
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Yosa Buson Poems
Dawn-- fish the cormorants haven't caught swimming in the shallows.
Hokku Poems in Four Seasons
Spring The year's first poem done, with smug self confidence
My arm for a pillow
My arm for a pillow, I really like myself under the hazy moon.
A bat flits
A bat flits in moonlight above the plum blossoms.
Harvest moon-- called at his house, he was digging potatoes.
Early summer rain
Early summer rain-- houses facing the river, two of them.
Listening to the moon
Listening to the moon, gazing at the croaking of frogs in a field of ripe rice.
Before the white chrysanthemum
Before the white chrysanthemum the scissors hesitate a moment.
Lighting one candle
Lighting one candle with another candle-- spring evening.
Blow of an ax
Blow of an ax, pine scent, the winter woods.
Not quite dark yet
Not quite dark yet and the stars shining above the withered fields.
Blown from the west
Blown from the west, fallen leaves gather in the east.
Buying leeks and walking home under the bare trees.
Old well, a fish leaps-- dark sound.
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821)
fish the cormorants haven't caught
swimming in the shallows.
Translated by Robert Hass