basho's crow haiku: 16 translations

Here are the 16 translations of basho's famous crow haiku i found in my library. earlier translations attempt to keep the 17 syllable form in english while others have fewer syllables. [many authors now agree that english haiku needs only about ten to twelve syllables to have nearly the same duration and rhythm as a japanese haiku, which is based on onji sound units]

kareeda | ni | karasu | no | tomarikeri | aki | no | kure
bare-branch | on | crow | 's | is-perched | autumn | 's | evening

On a bare branch
A crow is perched -
Autumn evening.
         Makoto Ueda [1]

On a withered bough
A crow alone is perching;
Autumn evening now.
         Kenneth Yasuda [2]

On a withered branch
a crow has settled...
autumn nightfall.
         Harold G. Henderson [3]

on a dead branch
the crow settles -
autumn evening
         Bruce Ross [4]

On the dead limb
squats a crow -
autumn night.
         Lucien Stryk [5]

On a withered branch
A crow is perched,
In the autumn evening.
         R. H. Blyth [6]

on a bare branch
a crow has alighted...
autumn nightfall.
         Makoto Ueda [7]

on a bare branch
a crow lands
autumn dusk
         Jane Reichhold [8]

A crow
has settled on a bare branch -
autumn evening.
         Robert Hass [9]

on dead branches crows remain
perched at autumn's end
         Hiroaki Sato [10]

on a barren branch
a raven has perched -
autumn dusk
         William J. Higginson [11]

a solitary
crow on a bare branch -
autumn evening
         Sam Hamill [12]

on a leafless branch
a crow comes to nest -
autumn nightfall
         Haruo Shirane [13]

on a withered branch
a crow has settled -
autumn evening.
         David Landis Barnhill [14]

on a leafless branch
a crow -
autumn dusk.
         Takafumi Saito and William R. Nelson [15]

on a withered branch
a crow is perched
an autumn evening.
         Robert Aitken [16]


[1] Ueda, Makoto
Basho and His Interpreters: Selected Hokku with Commentary
Stanford University Press, 1995.

[2] Yasuda, Kenneth
Japanese Haiku: Its Essential Nature and History
Tuttle Publishing, 2002.

[3] Henderson, Harold G.
An Introduction to Haiku: An Anthology of Poems and Poets
From Basho to Shiki

Doubleday Anchor Books, 1958.

[4] Ross, Bruce (ed).
Haiku Moment: An Anthology of Contemporary North American Haiku
Charles E. Tuttle Company, Vermont, 1993.

[5] Stryk, Lucien
On Love and Barley: Haiku of Basho
University of Hawaii Press, 1986.

[6] Blyth, Reginald Horace,
Hokuseido Press, 1997.

[7] Ueda, Makoto
Matsuo Basho
Kodansha America, 1983.

[8] Reichhold, Jane
Writing and Enjoying Haiku: A Hands on Guide
Kodansha International, 2003.

[9] Hass, Robert
The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson & Issa
Ecco press, 1994.

[10] Sato, Hiroaki

[11] Higginson, William J. with Penny Harter
The Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Share and Teach Haiku
McGraw-Hill, 1985.

[12] Hamill, Sam
The Sound of Water: Haiku by Basho, Buson, Issa and Other Poets
Shambhala Publications, 1995.

[13] Shirane, Haruo
Traces of Dreams: Landscape, Cultural Memory and the Poetry of Basho
Stanford University Press, 1998.

[14] Barnhill, David Landis
Basho's Haiku: Selected Poems of Matsuo Basho
State University of New York Press, 2004.

[15] Saito, Takafumi and Nelson, William R.
1020 haiku in translation: the heart of basho, buson and issa
Booksurge press, 2006.

[16] Aitken, Robert
the river of heaven: the haiku of basho, buson, issa and shiki
Counterpoint, 2010.

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