Friday, April 4, 2008


Basho gave this advice to his disciplines:

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 let go of your subjective preoccupation with yourself. Otherwise you impose yourself on the object and don't learn. Your poetry arises by itself when you and the object become one, when you have plunged deep enough into the object to see something like a hidden light glimmering there. However well-phrased your poetry may be, if your feeling isn't natural--if you and the object are seperate--then your poetry isn't true poetry but merely your subjective counterfeit.

Basho, pen name for Matsuo Basho, Japanese Poet
(Qtd. in The Enlightened Heart ed. Stephen Mitchell)


gingatao said...

old pond
frog jumps in

It is, in my opinion, the greatest poem of all. It contains an entire cosmology in 6 words and it has almost stopped me writing poetry again and again over the decades. Why bother adding more and more ripples?

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