Wednesday, June 5, 2013


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

leave your subjective preoccupations with yourself. Otherwise you

impose yourself on the object and do not learn. Your poetry issues

of its own accord when you and the object have become one —

when you have plunged deep enough into the object to see

something like a hidden glimmering there. However well phrased

your poetry may be, if your feeling is not natural — if the object and

yourself are separate — then your poetry is not true poetry but

merely your subjective counterfeit.


Matsuo Basho

The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches
(translated by Nobuyuki Yuasa, 1966)

photo : © Tony McNicol