Thursday, 12 January 2012

A Haiku for the inhabitants of Frog End

Here's a Haiku for Daughter-who-takes-photos (author of Rambles from Frog End which is the name of their home) and Son-in-law-and-friend-who-loves-otters which I found on Ruby's blog:-

Furu ike ya
kawazu tobikomu
mizu no oto

The old pond;
a frog jumps in —
the sound of the water.

This Haiku was written by Matsuo Bashô (1644-1694) and this page has 31 translations of it. It is probably the most famous poem in Japan, and after three hundred and more years of repetition, it has, understandably, become a little stale for Japanese people. But the scope for some brilliant translations continues here in English. Many more versions can be found in Hiroaki Sato’s One Hundred Frogs (Weatherhill, 1995), which includes over 100 translations plus a number of adaptations and parodies.

My favourites are:-

The ancient pond
A frog leaps in
The sound of the water.

The old pond,
A frog jumps in:

Old pond
leap — splash
a frog.

old pond
a frog in-leaping



  1. Which just shows that sometimes things really do lose something in translation!

  2. Scriptor,
    Our son was crazy about frogs as he was growing up! Here is something he wrote...

    Ribbiting, he hops.
    The whole pond quivers for the
    amphibious king.

    I told you he loved his frogs! Still does, actually.

  3. I've already made the point that I don't really 'get' this as a 'great' poem.

    Can it compare with:

    A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
    Its loveliness increases; it will never
    Pass into nothingness.


  4. Thank you. I love this.

    Feels like Spring here so I've already started checking the ponds for spawn.

  5. I get the simplicity of the Haiku, but also love the melody in Grahams presentation, there!

    The plop! makes my belly laugh.

    Graham's is like a dance of words.

    I like them both :)

  6. frogs and poetry...what a wonderful combination! thanks for the joy! I didn't realize that I was missing reading or writing poems. Just tell your brother that the poem he admires is just different from these, no competition needed, GB! :)

  7. we used to catch tadpoles, but they never grew adult size, mum made us throw them back.

  8. I like the pond-frog-plop! But I have one objection: none of these translations is technically a haiku, ie 5-7-5 syllables.

    an old garden pond
    silence broken by a splash
    a frog just jumped in


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