Matsuo Basho

(1644 - 1694 / Iga Province / Japan)

The Old Pond - Poem by 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

Translated by Cid Corman

Antic pond-
frantic frog jumps in-
gigantic sound.

Translated by Bernard Lionel Einbond


'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:.

Translated by Allan Watts

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

Translated by G.S. Fraser

Topic(s) of this poem: haiku

Form: Haiku

Comments about The Old Pond by Matsuo Basho

  • (10/19/2017 8:33:00 PM)

    The old pond
    A crane comes flying
    Catches a fish
    (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (4/3/2017 1:11:00 PM)

    These interpretations still make me laugh.. (Report) Reply

  • (11/22/2016 7:18:00 PM)

    (The Old Pond - Poem by Matsuo Basho.) Love ‘The Old Pond’ haiku. (Report) Reply

  • Fabrizio Frosini (11/11/2016 8:16:00 AM)

    Basho's advice to his disciples: '' follow the 'zoka' '' (= the creative force of nature)
    '' old pond — / a frog jumps in / the sound of water ''

    Basho's bright intuition... the frog jumping into the metaphysical sound of water...
    (Report) Reply

  • Fabrizio Frosini (1/21/2016 7:42:00 AM)



    furu ike ya / kawazu tobikomu / mizu no oto

    an ancient pond / a frog jumps in / the splash of water [1686]
    (Report) Reply

  • (1/9/2016 1:36:00 AM)

    Some old translators
    jump into a poem
    - splashing around.
    (Report) Reply

  • (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

  • (11/16/2008 2:51:00 PM)

    Really reflective.I wrote some interpretations and I call it Basho's Haiku. (Report) Reply

  • (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

  • (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

  • (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 11 comments »

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

Read poems about / on: frog, haiku, water, mirror, poem, music, silence

Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

Poem Edited: Monday, January 5, 2015

[Report Error]