Bashō’s haiku 300 in Japanese and English by L. P. Lovee (21) ~ (30)


・あやめ草足にむすばん草鞋の緒    (21/300)

(ayamegusa ashini-musuban waraji-no-o)


sweet flags

I’ll tie at my feet_

the thongs of straw sandals



“ayamegusa” is a kind of sweet flag. It is a Japanese old custom for the festival on the fifth day of the fifth month (Lunar calender) to attach “ayamegusa” to the thatched roof of a private house so that no evil may invade into the house. Today, few people observe this custom, but many people still observe an old custom to put ayamegusa in their bath on Children’s Day (May 5) for the healthy growth of children.

Bashō composed this haiku to express his appreciation for the kindness of his host who gave him straw sandals.



駿河路や花橘も茶の匂ひ    (22/300)

(surugaji-ya hanatachibana-mo cha-no-nioi)


the Suruga road_

orange blossoms also smell

as the scent of tea


・閑さや岩にしみ入蝉の聲    (23/300)

 (shizukasa-ya iwa-ni shimiiru semi-no-koe)


the stillness_

the voice of a cicada

seeping into the crags



木啄も庵はやぶらず夏木立   (24/300)

  (kitsutsuki-mo io-wa-yaburazu natsukodachi)   


even woodpeckers

do not harm the hut_

summer trees


・梢よりあだに落けり蝉のから   (25/300) 

(kozue-yori adani-ochikeri seminokara)


out of a treetop

fruitlessly fell,

a cicada shell



僧朝顔幾死にかへる法の松   (26/300)

  (sō-asagao ikushinikaeru nori-no-matsu)


monks and morning glories

generations of dying to return_

the dharma pine tree



やがて死ぬ けしきは見えず 蝉の声   (27/300)

 (yagate-shinu keshiki-wa-miezu semi-no-koe)  



the voices of cicadas_

so brisk,

with no signs of soon dying




Soon I may die,

lying unable to see the scenery_

voices of cicadas



(A) is a translation based on the normal understanding of the haiku of Bashō.

(B) is a referential translation of this haiku, in which “keshiki” is written in “hirakana” ( i.e., “けしき”) so that grammatically it may mean “sign” or “scenery”. It is unknown whether Bashō intended to express such double meaning.



夏草や兵どもが夢の跡   (28/300)

  (natsukusa-ya tsuwamonodomo-ga yume-no-ato)


the summer grasses:

the remains of 

warriors' dreams



湖や暑さを惜しむ雲の峰   (29/300)

  (mizuumi-ya atsusa-o-oshimu kumo-no-mine)


the lake_

missing the summer heat,

the soaring peaks of cloud



Bashō composed this haiku after seeing Lake Biwa and Mt. Hiei.



須磨寺やふかぬ笛きく木下やみ    (30/300)

  (sumadera-ya fukanu-fue-kiku koshitayami)


Suma temple_

hearing the unblown fife,

in the dark of trees’ shade



Bashō composed this haiku in reference to “The Tale of the Heike”.