Author Archives: peterjohnstill

…samidare wa…mine ni matsukaze…

It rains and rains…
from up on the ridge: the wind in the pines…
down here in the valley:  water…running…

– – – Gusai

…Akishino ya…toyama no sata ya…

Over in Akishino,
up in distant mountain villages
the drizzle must be freezing:
high on Mount Ikoma’s peak
the heavy clouds hang thick and close…

– – – Saigyo


…on preparing to travel – with kasa and zori…

Basho is leaving –
and after his death,
the years have no end…

– – – Buson

…some waking up haiku, renku, kanbun and waka…

The First Dream of the Year

The year’s first dream:
still in my nose –
the heart of what it is to be a flower…

– – – Chiyo Ni

read more…

…some haiku and kambun on ‘the Way’, the road, the path…

…spring rain…
…in a gap between the trees you can see
a trail that goes to the sea…

– – – Otsuji

    • *

Seeing a temple
at the turn in the trail
and all those wild crysanthemums!

– – – Shiki

    • *

The moon shines in my little cabin
…books are scattered all about…
and in the midst of them… sleeping

Outside, next day,
for healing leaves and flowers
amongst grasses and herbs I go…

Bucking and rearing as they meet…
these Nambu horses
do not like my village horse

But over that river,
a castle rises above the trail…

– – – Etsujin, Ransetsu ,  from ‘Fresh Sake‘ from Wastelands

    • *

This is a road that no-one travels…
…it’s Autumn,
and night is falling

– – – Basho

    • *

The Autumn mountain’s
yellow leaves
are grown so thick
that I am lost, and my sweet sister
wandered away…
along a mountain trail I cannot see…

– – – Kakimoto Hitomaru

    • *

Swirling around – more and more –
just look at the snow coming down…
… – – – in the darkness – covering the trail – – –

– – – Kito

    • *

…lighting candles before the portrait of Fujiwara no Teika…

The old, old songs,
and the trails of the heart…
stopping my horse
at the wide stretch of snow at the ford at Sano,
this clean sheet of paper is all I can see…

– – – Shotetsu

    • *

Snow swirling down
deep and thick over the moors
at Kano – but you can make out the tracks
of that big wagon,
that’s set out at daybreak…

– – – Shotetsu

    • *

And if you come looking,
there isn’t a trail –
and nobody knows it…
…here in my heart
you are now…
and I come and I go…

– – – Princess Shikishi

    • *

Pink and white bindweed
by the roadside… all the way…
thirty long miles…

– – – Buson

    • *

The twittering of birds and the voices of insects –
completely communicate the secrets of the mind:
the intelligence of flowers and the color of grasses
are none other than studying books of the Way…
a learned man perceives the essence clearly
and his heart hears the bright-jeweled sound:
whatever he touches, his heart can handle…

– – – from the Saikontan

    • *

And I keep walking
through the grove – – –
the deserted market with the broken-down stalls
there’s not a soul – – –
an evening crow cries,
and under these trees: the trail

– – – Shotetsu

    • *

Dusk hangs from this willow-tree – – –
its shadow spreading
over the deserted road

– – – Buson

…some haiku, renku and kambun about bamboo…

a stand of bamboo
blown about by the winter rain – –
what an evening!

– – – Seisei


Fallen blossoms –
just like scattered paper now!!!…
…my bamboo broom…

– – – Buson


Falling water……
and behind the bamboo water-chute…a cricket sings…

– – – Onitsura

read more:

…apple-blossom time!!!…


…ume no hana!!!…


– Haiku by Soin Nishiyama –

we’ve translated some haiku by the poet SOIN Nishiyama (1605-1682) – – –
Soin was a great influence on Basho, and we think he should be better known:

Being in this world
Is like a butterfly alighting –
However things may be…


So distant from this scattered world –
The cold evening moon.

read more…

…from the Sand and Pebbles Collection…

the fresh
sprouting reeds
in the burned over field
are  a “mandala”!!!
– so the people say – – –

– – – Muju