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Japan Book Club: The Narrow Road to the Deep North – Part 2

September 12, 2011

We’re continuing on with one of the best loved pieces of Japanese literature – The Narrow Road to the Deep North  this week.  This time, though, we’re going to take a closer look at the poetry that Basho and his protege Sora wrote on their journey. (If you don’t have a copy of the book yet, click on the title and it will give you a free online copy).

This week we want you to read to page 35 (PDF) or page 33 (page numbers in the text).  This is confusing, because the page numbers in the text don’t match the page numbers of the PDF file we’re sending you.  Either way, stop when you see this poem:

And Sora wrote:

Yudono Mountain –
as I walk through pilgrims’ coins
tears come to my eyes

After you’ve read, please copy your favorite poem from the book (there are a ton more poems in the very back of the PDF copy of the book) into the comments section of this page.  Tell us why you selected that poem.  What does it mean?  More specifically, what does it mean to you?  Why is that poem your favorite in the book?

Be sure to type out your answers in complete sentences.  Be sure to back up your ideas with some examples, evidence, or proof.  Be sure to check back and see what other people say too.  Be sure to comment on what they say.

Every student in our Japan group is required to participate.  You must comment on this post with your thoughts (probably a good paragraph or two – maybe more), then, come back and comment on what other people have said – you are required to make an effort to keep the conversation going by replying to at least 2 other students (more than just “I agree” or “you are right.” Give them reasons why you agree/disagree or what they said that was meaningful – make this a discussion). 

In just two more weeks, we’ll start the next book – The Old Man Mad About Drawing by Francois Place.  We’ve been telling you about this one for several months now, so everyone should have a copy.  If you don’t get it from the library or a bookstore now.   After that, we’ll be reading Bushido: The Soul of Japan a story about the samurai by Inazo Nitobe – you can look for a copy if you want, but I will be sending everyone a free ebook copy of Bushido when we get to it. 

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77 Comments leave one →
  1. Tyler Pearson permalink
    September 15, 2011 7:05 pm

    And Sora wrote:

    Yudono Mountain –
    as I walk through pilgrims’ coins
    tears come to my eyes

    I chose this poem because it gave me a near-instant connection with Sora. I’ve been through the slums of Chicago and Tinley enough to know how the poverty and horrid conditions in those areas gave me if anything a slight connection with how he felt traveling that mountain. This easily Helps me to understand how the horrid conditions had felt with him. Please add a comment.

    • September 18, 2011 1:48 pm

      i agree with the fact that their is poverty in Chicago, because their is, but also because it is hard to see what goes on their just by passing by.

    • Lyssette Bedolla permalink
      September 18, 2011 2:30 pm

      Once you see how little people have while you have so much and still want more really breaks your heart and you cant help tearing up about it. I know that when authors write realistic fiction stories that have a sad twist I tear up when I read it even though I know it isn’t real but, this story is.

      • September 18, 2011 5:37 pm

        i know what you mean, thats a really good point. kind of like, you never really know how good you’ve got it until you seem someone in worse conditions.

    • DREW BURJEK permalink
      September 18, 2011 7:00 pm

      Great connection, I feel the same way. When I used to live it the Chicago area, and when I visit, there is much poverty there. It is also very easy for me to connect with Sora. That is one of my favorite poems from the book, too. It made me stop and think about what Sora could have been thinking and imagining.

    • Bobby cortesi permalink
      September 18, 2011 7:04 pm

      i also agree with the fact that there may be poverty in chicago but there is poverty almost everywhere you go and also i disagree with the fact that Sora had felt his conditions were bad, he chose to go with his master and i think that he was amazed by the pilgrims creation because to be coined means to create and he was speaking about the pilgrims creation.

  2. Persephone Allee permalink
    September 15, 2011 7:14 pm

    Deep into autumn
    and this caterpillar
    still not a butterfly

    This poem to me is flawless. Breathtaking. Superb. He has taken something we have all heard of, the metamorphisis of a caterpillar to a butterfly, and made it amazing. We don’t think of a caterpillar on a time limit when going into metamorphisis. Heck, we don’t even think about caterpillars. On the surface it is just a caterpillar maturing a little to late but once you dig, it means much more. I may just be going too deep but this seems to resemble the differences in everybody. Not everyone will “grow up” at the same time. People will go their own ways in life and will end up taking different paths. The fact that Basho can do this with what seems to be with great ease is the trully amazing part.

    • Blair Tuider permalink
      September 18, 2011 4:08 pm

      I agree beacuse you sometimes forget about the little things in life. But they can turn into something beautiful, such as a butterfly. Also, it gives a messege that over time you grow and experience new things, and you have to be ready to take them on.

  3. September 17, 2011 9:50 am

    Deep into autumn
    and this caterpillar
    still not a butterfly

    I like this one because it makes me picture what he’s saying. Plus he has describe something that we all know and put into different words. It amazes me when authors do that because they take an idea that we all know and describe it in different words. He is also saying that everyone is different. Not everyone will grow up together, no we all grow up depending on how we mature. He shows us a point in just a different way.

  4. September 17, 2011 12:04 pm

    Deep into autumn
    and this caterpillar
    still not a butterfly

    I like this one because it makes me picture what he’s saying.Plus he has describe something that we all know and put into different words. It amazes me when authors do that because they take an idea that we all know and describe it in different words. He is also saying that everyone is different. Not everyone will grow up together, no we all grow up depending on how we mature. He shows us a point in just a different way. It means that not everyone will grow up or mature at the same time as others. Everyone is different which means they grow up faster or slower than others, but that’s just how life goes and we all have to accept that. This poem is just like how we are except it has to do with caterpillars. We are both the same, but we are both also different. That is what he was trying to tell us.

    • September 18, 2011 1:52 pm

      i agree with you on the part that u say how u can picture that, i also can do the same because it is everyday life to see this.

    • Persephone Allee permalink
      September 18, 2011 2:05 pm

      I agree with you, this is my personal favorite poem. I think it has a certain type of elegance. I take just about the same thing from the poem as you. It shows that though we are similar in what we are, we may take different paths. People are different and grow up at different times. I must say that my favorite part of it though is how Basho used a caterpillar to represent it. It is a beautiful poem.

    • Lyssette Bedolla permalink
      September 18, 2011 2:23 pm

      I agree he is saying everyone is different. When I read this I thought that is just like saying just because you dont have that right now doesn’t mean you never will.

    • Yazmine Thomas permalink
      September 25, 2011 4:51 pm

      I agree it gives you a clear picture, but it also has true meaning behind it and i think you explained it well .Everyone is different and soon that catpiller will become a butterfly but it will do it on its own time

    • cj moody permalink
      November 1, 2011 4:41 pm

      i agree its crazy that something so simple like everyday life can make such a great poem/haiku

  5. Ben Trouvais permalink
    September 17, 2011 3:51 pm

    The utter silence…
    cutting through the very stone
    a cicada’s rasp

    I chose this poem because, for me, it showed how quite and peaceful it was as the summit of the mountain. It says that the peaceful silence feels so strong that it could cut through stone. It also says that you can only hear a cicada. This speaks to me because I camp on a regular basis. At times, I’ll sit outside the tent listining to mother nature. This poem describes what I hear. A silence that is almost too quite. The cicada’s rasp is normally common for me to hear. That is why this poem puts me in Sora and Basho’s shoes.

    • Persephone Allee permalink
      September 18, 2011 1:54 pm

      I have only been camping once and I remember very little about it. The most memorable part of it though was the silence. It was strong, as said, and you can hear just the sounds of nature. It was peaceful and I enjoy this poem, too. It was my second pick for this homework.

    • Bobby cortesi permalink
      September 18, 2011 7:08 pm

      i agree that this poem makes you think and gives you the image of peace and quite which makes it seem like and visual and serene.

    • Sydney Bebar permalink
      September 29, 2011 7:00 pm

      I have also been camping and that is what its like. Its nice you could find a personal connection. That always builds a firm foundation for a poem. I completely agree!

  6. September 18, 2011 1:35 pm

    A weathered skeleton
    in windy fields of memory,
    piercing like a knife

    I chose this poem because, to me it means that when looking at a weathered skeleton, it brings back memories that hurt piercingly. the actual poem itself means that “Through frozen rice fields, / moving slowly on horseback, / my shadow creeps by”. i like this poem because its kind of showing what he feels, and what he sees. kind of seems like hes scared maybe not to happy.

    • Blair Tuider permalink
      September 18, 2011 3:59 pm

      I agree beacuse when you do look back at sad memories it can feel like a piercing knife. You doon’t always want to face sadness, but it is part of life and you have to accept it. It’s an emotion everyone feels at some point in life, and you have to be ready it for it to come.

  7. Blair Tuider permalink
    September 18, 2011 3:55 pm

    Seperated we shall be
    For ever, my friends,
    Like the wild geese
    Lost in the clouds

    I chose this poem because in my opinion friends can be really close at one point in life and not the other. Eventually you leave, or you go to other places and you’ll lose connection to those people. It does relate to wild geese lost in the clouds because flocks of geese can be seperated while flying. Same as friends, you’ll lose closness to lose people, while they persue other things.

    • Mark Burjek permalink
      September 18, 2011 7:22 pm

      This is another one of my favorites, because I think the message relates to everybody. Friends will always come and go many times in your life, and a lot of times you just have to live with it. I know I have, and most others have too.

    • Jessica Sherwin permalink
      September 18, 2011 7:49 pm

      I liked the descriptive way you show for the appreciation of this poem. I agree that friends and geese are similiar when it comes to leaving, but at some point, maybe even not realizing it, you will someday see them again.

    • Shane Chetney permalink
      September 19, 2011 4:06 pm

      This can relate to everyone because in life we all lose friendships for different reasons. We choose different paths, we move, or we may even fight. But no matter what, we carry those frienships with us throughout our lives.

  8. Blair Tuider permalink
    September 18, 2011 4:01 pm

    This is my favorite poem beacuse it happened to me once. It also happens to others because somethimes friends seperate and it is sad but it’s a part of life. Basho is a great poet, and this a poem that relates to me.

    • tyler webber permalink
      September 19, 2011 9:53 pm

      What was your favorite poem ?

  9. Lyssette Bedolla permalink
    September 18, 2011 4:18 pm

    Winter solitude–
    in a world of one color
    the sound of wind.

    I like this poem because it reminds me of a time in winter when I was younger. I was playing Hide- and- Go Seek one day with my brother, sister and other family members. I remember sitting alone in the snow looking around me and seeing the color white where ever I turned. As I waited to be found it was so quiet you could here the wind blowing. The wording in the poem basically reminded me of a fun time I had in winter I felt like I was actually there again and it felt nice to reminisce about it.

    • Mark Burjek permalink
      September 18, 2011 7:25 pm

      I feel the same way. When I read this, I remember all of my childhood memories of the winter. I think of all the times I played in the snow with my brothers, and the memories make me feel good. When a poem can do that, you know it’s great.

    • DREW BURJEK permalink
      September 18, 2011 8:15 pm

      I like how you connected the poem to hide-and-seek because I love that game. In the winter everything is white, and that is what makes it so peaceful. In the winter, you hear wind (and the snowplow, but that didn’t exist back then), which is also very peaceful. You seem as if you are by yourself, in solitude. In comparison to the hot summer days where it is colorful and noisy. Winter is the isolated season, and I think that is what this poem is trying to tell you.

    • Sydney Bebar permalink
      September 29, 2011 7:02 pm

      It is always great to connect to poems, it will help understand them. I also remember being a little kid and playing in the snow. Now I just like laying here and listening to the wind and looking at the trees. I love your connection!

  10. Zachary Ciko permalink
    September 18, 2011 4:23 pm

    Fleas and lice all round –
    and now a horse that piddles
    right by my pillow
    I choose this poem because it shows you how people lived if they were some what poor. They would sleep with the animals have all sorts of lice and fleas from the animals. They would have animals waste near them and all sorts of bad hygiene. Also this was my favorite because it describes so much in 15 words. It shows you how guards live, it shows you how much wealth they have, and it also shows you where most of the bugs go due to poor hygiene.

    • September 18, 2011 5:35 pm

      I like the fact that this poem has a slight humorous feel, talking about the horse. I also agree with hoe you talk about the life style and how they lived in nature, good choice. :3

    • Jacob Kosinski permalink
      November 14, 2011 7:32 pm

      Its amazing how many things Basho could say in only a small amount of words. I bet that in a longer poem, he could really tell a lot about what he is writing about.

  11. September 18, 2011 5:30 pm

    Coming home at last
    At the end of the year,
    I went to find
    My old umbilical cord.
    This poem really related to me, and that is the main reason why i chose it. It talks about returning home to where you were born, and i know that this is something i would love to do. To really go back and relive the moments from your childhood, especially after years of being away. All of the other poems usually focused on what you would see, and the feelings you would get by being there, but this one talked about how he felt. There are a few others that also relate to how he specifically was feeling at that moment, but this one stuck out more to me.

  12. Jacob Kosinski permalink
    September 18, 2011 5:53 pm

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

    I choose this poem because it made me think about what it meant, but the words sill flow together amazingly. To me the poem says that we should not fear death, and instead of thinking about it, we must live our lives to the fullest potential like the cicada(except they are bugs).

    I can compare this to when I was about 6 or 7, and I won a goldfish in a carnival. After about a week, I forgot to feed it for a while. I never noticed until he was lying on the bottom of the fish tank. I saw the fish every day, but you couldnt tell that it was dead and going to die until it was dead.

    • Jessica Sherwin permalink
      September 18, 2011 7:47 pm

      I agree about how not to fear death, it reminds me of The Big Wave. I also liked the fact that you were able to have a good relation to this poem about the cicada.

    • Ben Trouvais permalink
      September 24, 2011 10:13 am

      I too can pesonally see how you have connected with this poem. The fact that the Japanese don’t fear death in separate forms of literature shows how important that lifestyle is to them.

    • cj moody permalink
      November 1, 2011 4:40 pm

      i like how it related to the poem with the goldfish and also it makes me think of the big wave how people thought theyd die.

  13. Bobby cortesi permalink
    September 18, 2011 6:58 pm

    Matsushima, oh …
    you will need cranes’ wings to fly
    little cuckoo bird
    I chose this poem because it was my favorite, reminds me of when i use to study birds, and the way its written. It reminds me of when i used to study bird and you dont have to be a complete genius to know that a crane is not even close in size compared to a cuckoo bird so it has a great difference and strong comparision between the two. It shows instead of tells that the place is beautiful but you’ll need more to accomplish something this big. (It is a metaphor because it is comparing Matsushima to a cuckoo bird). Sora is kind of being sarcastic because in the lines before he says “I felt a marvelous exhilaration.” and loves the breath taking view of the beautiful place.

    • Hannah Schram permalink
      September 25, 2011 7:43 pm

      This was one of my other favorite poems from the book and I agree how it shows that the place is beautiful but you’ll need more to accomplish something big. At first, i wasn’t sure on hat it meant but then I thought for a while and definitely agree with this metaphore.

  14. DREW BURJEK permalink
    September 18, 2011 7:07 pm

    Seperated we shall be
    For ever, my friends,
    Like the wild geese
    Lost in the clouds

    I chose this poem because it explains most friendships. Friends at one time, could be closer to you then even your family has ever been. But, at one point, no matter what, friends will get in a fight. They will drift away from each other, and may never see each other again. And maybe they leave you, even if it is in a dreadful way. You will always remember that person as your friend, even if you hate each other or will never see each other ever again.

    • tyler webber permalink
      September 19, 2011 9:53 pm

      I do agree that this poem explains most frienships, does this explain any of your friendships ?

  15. Mark Burjek permalink
    September 18, 2011 7:14 pm

    Don’t imitate me;
    it’s as boring
    as the two halves of a melon.

    For some reason, I found this pretty funny. I think the reason I really like it is because Basho is one of those guys who seems serious all the time. This poem shows me that he can be comedic on the rarest of occasions. I prefer books that have mix in comedy every once in a while. Even though I don’t know the context behind this, because I found it in the back of the book, I can imagine the way Basho would be speaking it to someone. I may be wrong, and Basho may be speaking serious in this poem, but either way it’s funny. I hope I find more of these throughout the story.

    • Shane Chetney permalink
      September 19, 2011 3:50 pm

      Yes Mark, this one is pretty funny. I didn’t see this one until you pointed it out. I agree, the context is unknown, but either way it’s hilarious. I do think Basho was a serious writer, but this may show he had a sense of humor.

    • Hannah Schram permalink
      September 25, 2011 7:36 pm

      I absolutely agree with you. I thought Basho would be more of the serious and sophisticated type of poets after reading some of his other poems, but this poem is pretty funny.

    • Kamil Czaplinski permalink
      September 27, 2011 10:08 pm

      I think that everybody has some “funny” in them. Some people just express it more than others. In this situation, Basho expresses it VERY rarely and personally, if this is meant to be humorous, then I really like his type of humor. If only he would have showed it more often.

  16. Jessica Sherwin permalink
    September 18, 2011 7:28 pm

    gathering the rains
    of summer, how swift it is –
    Mogami River
    I love the way he can describe a river in such little use of words, which is why I chosen this poem. Even though it’s easy to tell what it means, I think he could also be telling something more deep. He talks about the creation of the Mogami River; “gathering the rains of summer”, overtime the river was made by the rain of summer, as Basho had described. It means to me the beauty of nature that Basho was able to describe that I would wish to describe in only a sentence. It proves on how magnificent his work can be in such a small amount of words, which makes this poem one of my favorites of this book; since, of course, there are more that aren’t as amazing but are still terrific as this one.

  17. Shane Chetney permalink
    September 19, 2011 3:44 pm

    the utter silence…
    cutting through the very stone
    a cicada’s rasp

    This poem reminds me of my family cottage. We spend many of our summer nights there around the campfire surrounded by hundred year old oak trees, a flowing river and all the woodland animals. In the still of the night all that is to be heard is the sound of thousands of chirping cicads. I think this poem meant the same to Basho as it does to me. As he sat on the summit in the complete silence, all he could hear was the sound of the cicads. Basho, like me, enjoyed the peacfulness of his surroundings and appreciated nature for its beauty.
    This was one of my favorites because I felt the connection between him sitting on that summit and me sitting at my cottage.

    • Ben Trouvais permalink
      September 24, 2011 10:15 am

      I totally agree with you. I love being out in the woods, relaxing and listining to nature. Many of the points that you made I too also feel.

  18. tyler webber permalink
    September 19, 2011 9:52 pm

    oh what sweet delight …
    the cool fragrances of snow
    in southern valley
    I selected this poem because I enjoy the winter season and it makes me imagine being up on the mountains or in between the valleys. This means that the smell and lightness of snow are covering the ground and everythere inbetween, including the valleys. This poem means to me that no matter where you are or no matter what a tough spot you are in the delight of snow will be where ever you go on the mountain. This is my favorite poem in the book because like i said before i enjoy winter and this poem really stood out to me and i liked the wording.

    • Yazmine Thomas permalink
      September 25, 2011 4:43 pm

      This would have ben my second favorite poem . I like how you explained what it ment it gave me a clear understanding . I would have done this poem but i didnt know what it ment but now i do thanks to you.

  19. Yazmine Thomas permalink
    September 25, 2011 4:31 pm

    Don’t imitate me;
    it’s as boring
    as the two halves of a melon.

    I chose this poem because it made me think……boring like two halves of a melon .
    Finally i figured out what the poem ment.In other words, dont copt me its boring your not your own unique self. its like two halves of a melon because once you cut one half you know what the other side is going to look like i This is my favoriet because i can relate to it with my little sister if i want somthing she wants it too etc.

    • Elise Vice permalink
      October 12, 2011 6:48 pm

      I agree, I think it’s always good to be unique. Don’t hide behind someone you’re not..

    • January 4, 2012 4:59 pm

      I wonder why Basho think two halves of a melon is boaring. There are many fun, unique, and exciting things you can do with two halve of a melon.

  20. Hannah Schram permalink
    September 25, 2011 7:31 pm

    How admirable!
    to see lightning and not think
    life is fleeting.

    I chose this poem because the whole topic of it tells about the beauty of the dangers in nature. Usually when people see lighting or thunder, they fear of it leading to destruction. In this case, Basho tells about how nice it is to just sit back and watch thunder not as a threat, but as a beautiful landscape. To me, I believe that this shows how Basho doesnt fear death but enjoys it like some of the people in Japan to this day. It’s by far my favorite because I rather sit there and enjoy the lightning instead of thinking that the “world is at its end.” This shows me that not only is Basho a good poet, but he also shows you into a world where nature is something you dont want to miss.

    • Kamil Czaplinski permalink
      September 27, 2011 9:39 pm

      I enjoy watching lightning. I find it fascinating, how a streak of light can at random appear anywhere, and have a different pattern every time. I honestly never thought about the damage lightning can do.

      • nate zurawski permalink
        October 10, 2011 10:16 am

        I never think of lightning as any danger either, I think things you see far away don’t seem any harm until they are right in front of your face.

    • Jacob Kosinski permalink
      November 14, 2011 7:42 pm

      This reminds me of The Big Wave, how we should not fear death, but rather enjoy it. I also agree with you Nate, you would never thing something like that would happen, until it actually does.

  21. Kamil Czaplinski permalink
    September 27, 2011 9:06 pm

    The morning glory also
    turns out
    not to be my friend.

    I think the meaning behind this poem, is that Basho doesn’t like to wake up early in the morning. I chose it because it relates to me very well. I very strongly dislike waking up early in the morning. Yes, there are some advantages to do so (such as your day seems longer) but, I would still rather sleep in. The first time I read this poem, I immediately thought about how I don’t like to wake up in the morning.

    • Elise Vice permalink
      October 12, 2011 6:46 pm

      I know I see it differently than you do, but I see it more of a way of saying he doesn’t like another day passing. Either way, though, it’s a beautiful poem.

      • Alyssa Gue permalink
        February 23, 2012 3:05 pm

        I agree with you elise, it’s kind of the whole ” Well that’s over, and wasnt all that special” sort of thing, like he resents it.

  22. Sydney Bebar permalink
    September 29, 2011 7:09 pm

    Gathering the rains
    of summer, how swift it is –
    Mogami River.

    This poem is my favorite because it really relates to water. I think it means that no matter how much trouble they go through with rain, the river will always be there to collect the runoff. It really stands out to me because it is almost like it is collecting the people’s troubles and rushes them away smoothly and swiftly. Also, I am absolutely a fish out of water. I love the ocean and rivers, they seem so peaceful and calm. This poem completely relates to me and that is why it is my favorite.

    • Meghan Moreno permalink
      October 10, 2011 6:15 pm

      I really like this poem too. I like how calm the waters are and then how feirce and destructive they can be. They are alwasy there though and just like people, they can start over with a fresh runoff, if that makes sence to you.

    • Alyssa Gue permalink
      February 23, 2012 3:04 pm

      I liked this poem too syd 🙂 i used to be the same way when i was younger, a total fish out of water 😛

  23. Kevin Wilson permalink
    October 8, 2011 8:01 pm

    i agree that the oceans and rivers do seem peaceful. Even though they can be very destructive they just seem to be able to help you relax. The sound of the rushing water is one of the most peaceful things.

  24. Kevin Wilson permalink
    October 8, 2011 8:14 pm

    The utter silence…
    cutting through the very stone
    a cicada’s rasp

    I chose this pome because i never thought of silence being able to cut through stone. this sows just how peaceful that it was. Also it shows how peaceful and quiet places can be. a quiet place like this would be anamazig place to think.

    • nate zurawski permalink
      October 10, 2011 10:14 am

      I don’t think of silence as being able to cut through stone either.

      You spelled some words wrong too

      And you icon looks like a potato

  25. nate zurawski permalink
    October 10, 2011 10:12 am

    The old pond,
    A frog jumps in:.
    Plop!

    I like this poem because I think the wording in it is funny. And it makes me think of how someone can see something they can see everyday and write something amazing about it.

    • Meghan Moreno permalink
      October 10, 2011 6:10 pm

      It is funny, Nate! PLOP! You wouldn’t think anyone would write about a frog jumping into a pond. There really is no point but Basho makes it beautiful.

  26. Meghan Moreno permalink
    October 10, 2011 6:07 pm

    the utter silence …
    cutting through the very stone
    a cicada’s rasp
    I like this poem because Basho shows you how beautiful this mountain temple is and appriciate the nature around it. This poem makes me love the little things in life that aren’t always noticable. It kind of reminds me of myself in a way. People don’t always see the good and skills that i can have. Basho brings all the unseen things in Japan.

    • Kevin Wilson permalink
      November 13, 2011 2:17 pm

      i agree with you that this poem makes you apreceate the little things in life that you don’t always notice or think about. and it shows you just how peaceful a place can be.

  27. Elise Vice permalink
    October 12, 2011 6:44 pm

    A weathered skeleton
    in windy fields of memory,
    piercing like a knife.
    This poem means a lot to me, for reasons I’m not quite sure of. Literally it would mean memories that you want to forget, the ones that hurt you. In a more figurative sense, though, it could go a lot deeper. Maybe a person in a memory, and you are seeing the future, of what they may do. I love the way it’s worded, though.

  28. cj moody permalink
    November 1, 2011 4:36 pm

    Fleas and lice all round –
    and now a horse that piddles
    right by my pillow
    i chose this because while having a slight humorous story it was a serious wake up call for me on how people live in those times. he was traveling though, so that makes it a little bit different from people living in one place. also it shows how bad and filthy lives were. its actually pretty sad how bad it is.

    • January 4, 2012 4:55 pm

      I remember that one. My book’s version:
      Bitten by fleas and lice,
      I slept in bed,
      A horse urinating all the time
      Close to my pillow.
      I was like poor Basho. Why wouldn’t he move over some to at least get out of the horse way?

  29. January 4, 2012 4:50 pm

    Just to forwarn, my copy of the book is… well… messed up in a way.

    Clear voiced cuckoo,
    Even you will need
    The silver wings of a crane
    To span the islands of Matsushima.

    I picked this poem because I like how it said “cuckoo” and how it discribes the crane. To me, this poem is stating that the islands of Matsushima take a while to travel arcossed. I think when it talks about cuckoo it means the bird. So even though cuckoo bird has wings to help it travel, it needs even stronger wings, like the crane, to travel the islands. This is my favorite poem in the book because when I read it my mind goes from a sun rise sence with a cuckoo bird chriping to a fast pased sence with a full moon and darkness with just s sliver blur left by the crane.

  30. Alyssa Gue permalink
    February 23, 2012 3:02 pm

    Winter solitude–
    in a world of one color
    the sound of wind.

    This poem makes me think about Christmas with my dad’s side of the family one year when we all had this Nerf fight. It was a legit white christmas that year, and it was one of the only years when people weren’t arguing or yelling on that side. It was a great Christmas, and winter, considering i hate the season.

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