Hafez and Basho




A strange flower 
for birds and butterflies
the autumn sky


Glorious the moon . . .
therefore our thanks
dark clouds
Come to rest our necks

Shoson Ohara Koson Pluvier au bord de la Mer avec un croissant de lune

The first day of the year:
thoughts come – and there is loneliness;
the autumn dusk is here.


None is travelling
Here along this way but I,
This autumn evening.


Dewdrop, let me cleanse
in your brief
sweet waters . . .
These dark hands of life
In the twilight rain
these brilliant-hued
hibiscus . . .
A lovely sunset


Fever-felled half-way,
my dreams arose
To march again . . .
Into a hollow land




Wholesome is the ambergris-scented, fragrant breeze
that arose, longing for you at dawn
O bird of good omen, be my guide
My eye melted in yearning for the dust of that door
To recall my ailing body, drowned in my heart’s blood
look at the crescent moon in the evening twilight
It is I who breathe without you. What a shame!
Unless you forgive me, I have no excuse for my sin
The way of love, the dawn learned from your lovers
to tear its black garment at daybreak
When I am gone from this world with the love of your face
Instead of grass, the red rose will bloom from my dust
Do not allow your sensitive heart to be hurt by me
For your Hafez has just said “Bismillāh.”



خنک نسیم معنبر شمامه‌ای دلخواه            که در هوای تو برخاست بامداد پگاه
دلیل راه شو ای طایر خجسته لقا          که دیده آب شد از شوق خاک آن درگاه
به یاد شخص نزارم که غرق خون دل است                     هلال را ز کنار افق کنید نگاه
منم که بی تو نفس می‌کشم زهی خجلت         مگر تو عفو کنی ور نه چیست عذر گناه
ز دوستان تو آموخت در طریقت مهر             سپیده دم که صبا چاک زد شعار سیاه
به عشق روی تو روزی که از جهان بروم                ز تربتم بدمد سرخ گل به جای گیاه
مده به خاطر نازک ملالت از من زود           که حافظ تو خود این لحظه گفت بسم الله



O Saqi, brighten my cup with the light of wine
Musician, sing, for the world is now as I wish

The sky’s green sea and the crescent moon’s cup
have been filled with the blessings of our Hajji Qavām

ساقی! به نور باده برافروز جام ما            مطرب، بگو که کار جهان شد به کام ما

دریای اَخضَر فَلَک و کشتی هِلال                   هستند غرقِ نعمتِ حاجی قوام ما



Basho on poetry

zen enso

“What is important is to keep our mind high in the world of true understanding, and, returning to the world of our daily experience, to seek therein the truth of beauty. No matter what we may be doing at a given moment, we must not forget that it has a bearing upon our everlasting self which is poetry.”


The autumn full moon
All night long
I walked around the lake

japanese pine

“Go to the pine if you want to learn about the pine, or to the bamboo if you want to learn about the bamboo. And in doing so, you must leave your subjective preoccupation with yourself. Otherwise you impose yourself on the object and do not learn. Your poetry issues of its own accord when you and the object have become one – when you have plunged deep enough into the object to see something like a hidden glimmering there. However well-phrased your poetry may be, if your feeling is not natural – if the object and yourself are separate – then your poetry is not true poetry but merely your subjective counterfeit.”




The cicada: Camaron and Basho


A cicada shell;
it sang itself
utterly away.


In the cicada’s cry
There’s no sign that can foretell
How soon it must die.


sinking into the rocks,
cicadas’ cry
—Barnhill, Bashō’s Haiku, 94, #392





Don’t sing cicada
silence your chirping,
For I carry a pain in my soul,
A dagger that strikes me
knowing that when I sing
my luck expires sighing
Under the shade of a tree
and the beat of my guitar
This happy song,
because the road has ended
and do not want to die dreaming,
oh, like the cicada died.

Life, life, life is,
is a setback,
life is life.
Oh life is, life is …



Ya no cantes cigarra,
apaga tu sonsonete,
que llevo una pena en el alma,
que como un puñal se me mete
sabiendo que cuando canto
suspirando va mi suerte.

Bajo la sombra de un árbol
y al compás de mi guitarra
canto alegre este huapango,
porque la vía se acaba
y no quiero morir soñando,
ay, como muere la cigarra.

Ábreme la puerta
que vengo najando,
y los gachés, primita de mi alma,
sí a mí me ven
me la van buscando.

La vida, la vida, la vida es,
es un contratiempo,
la vida, la vida es.

Ay la vida es, la vida es…