Lorraine Margueritte Gasrel Black

Bronze Star - 5,000 Points (July 12,1952 / New York City)

Basho's Haiku


The following series of haiku are based on Matsuo Basho's famous The Old Pond and frog haiku.They are my interpretations.Basho invented the haiku form.I just read the article titled Masters of Short Poetry (November 15,2008 Providence Journal Books) about him on the home page and found this challenge in his poetry section on PoemHunter where several poets have written their interpretations based on translations.All of the stanzas in my tribute haiku are written in the three-lined 5-7-5 syllable format.It reflects how I feel about Matsuo Basho's inspirational poem.I thank him for inventing this short poem style.


Matsuo Basho

master haiku creator

frog old pond splashing



The croaking frog leaps

under the lily covered

pond splashing bubbles


Silently bubbles

follow the path leaping frogs

trail in the old pond



Frozen pose Zen frog

release then leaps under pads

the old pond's secret


The fourth haiku in this series is dedicated to a pet Zen frog we had named Prince Phroggy.This tiny species will strike a suspended pose and freeze motionless in the water for several minutes and then release itself suddenly from a Zen meditative state and swim very rapidly.If you keep several in an aquarium they will perform the frog version of synchronized swimming.




A green flash splashing

diving from lotus blossoms

wary eyes peeking





The old pond draws thoughts

What happens under water?

Frogs play happily.




Many green frogs jump

into the murky water

ancient pond absorbs



Ancient pond song shared

by little green or bullfrogs

needeep ribbit splash



Why does the frog jump

into the old pond's waters?

To avoid the pan.

Submitted: Sunday, November 16, 2008
Edited: Sunday, December 07, 2008

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  • Bronze Star - 5,000 Points Lorraine Margueritte Gasrel Black (11/25/2008 10:46:00 AM)

    Dick Sanders,
    My haiku are a variation of a major theme.Have you read the other poet's interpretation? -there are 30 plus interpretations of Basho's Old Pond and Frog haiku on line.Also I have seen a pop art and cartoonish version of the Mona Lisa.The originals will always be admired but the beholder interprets their own reality based on impression. Using the basic elements of his haiku and applying my own powers of observation I gave Basho and the modern day reader an answer to what happens when the frogs are under water and why do they jump in the first place.I have no idea if Basho could spend time underwater in the 1600s when he lived and wrote this most challenging and inspiring work but he certainly leaves a very long and impressive gift of the haiku style poetry to the poets of this world to imitate. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my hard work. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Dick Sanders (11/25/2008 2:29:00 AM)

    Hi Lorraine
    You asked me for my opinion.
    To be honest with you, your versions don't excite my sensibilities.
    I am sorry if this offends as I do not mean to.
    But you did ask.
    Basho's original was evocative.
    I find your haikus to be descriptive.
    You were game to try though.
    I wouldn't have.
    To me it would be like trying to repaint the Mona Lisa.
    Regards
    Dick (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Tj Becker (11/16/2008 3:36:00 PM)

    I love Haiku form
    How the can be so beautifully done. You have accomplished that with this one (Report) Reply

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