Matsuo Basho

(1644 - 1694 / Iga Province / Japan)

The old pond


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 Stryck



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

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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Comments about this poem (The old pond by Matsuo Basho )

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  • Ken E Hall (3/15/2010 3:43:00 AM)

    The old frog preserved
    Frozen in cold immortality
    Basho's simplicity

    Thankyou for putting this haiku in my head (Report) Reply

  • David Escobar (1/31/2007 7:26:00 PM)

    Ahhh, The Old Pond... I can´t find anything greater than this haiku. It combines eternity with temporary reality, movement with stillness, Universe with a single living been, silence with noise... and all of this in only three lines. Great, isn´t it? (Report) Reply

  • Dick Sanders (2/23/2005 5:36:00 AM)

    The only translation worth the effort is that of Alan Watts. The euphony of the last line would have made the inscrutable Basho smile. (Report) Reply

  • Dick Sanders (2/23/2005 5:35:00 AM)

    The only translation worth the effort is that of Alan Watts. The euphony of the last line would have made the inscrutable Basho smile. (Report) Reply

Read all 5 comments »

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