Basho Matsuo 1644 - 1694 (50)

Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.


selected haikus

His last haiku:

Falling sick on a journey
my dream goes wandering
over a field of dried grass

Matsuo Basho (Matsuo Mounefousa was his real name) was a Japanese poet, founder and main representative of haiku. Haiku is part of the Japanese tradition, small pieces of poetry with just 17 syllables (5 + 7 + 5), a typical expression of the Japanese lyricism. Matsuo was born in 1644 in Ueno and was a descendant of samurai family. He served as samurai at the local lord Yoshitada with whom they became very good friends. When Yoshitada died, Matsuo went into a Buddhist monastery but he didn’t find the answers he was looking for. He turned to poetry writing and renewed haikai which was light and fun poetry, to create haiku, which emerged as serious literature. Haiku quickly spread throughout Japan.

In 1863 a big fire destroyed his town, Matsuo was saved at the last moment by jumping into a tank with water. Alone and without family he began to travel endlessly in villages and towns of Japan. For 30 years he walked, studied Zen, wrote haiku and explored the world. He became sick with a stomach illness and died surrounded by his disciples on November, 28, 1694,