Frog Poem

by


Matsuo Basho created an early form of haiku known as "haikai no renga," which involves a group of poets taking turns delivering 17 and 14 syllables they made up on-the-spot, to display their wit (and when it was first developed, also their vulgarity). Frog Poem was composed in 1681, translated by William George Aston in 1899. We offer both the literal and figurative translations below.
An illustration for the story Frog Poem by the author Matsuo Basho An illustration for the story Frog Poem by the author Matsuo Basho An illustration for the story Frog Poem by the author Matsuo Basho

Literal translation:

Fu-ru (old) i-ke (pond) ya, ka-wa-zu (frog) to-bi-ko-mu (jumping into) mi-zu (water) no o-to (sound)

Figurative translation:

An ancient pond!
With a sound from the water
Of the frog as it plunges in.

Japanese: ふるいけやかわずとびこむみずのおと Furuike ya kawazu tobikomu mizu no oto

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