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.



thom hogan puts it beautifully.
Data is a great and powerful thing. Collect the right data and interpret it well, and you can make very intelligent decisions. Collect the right data and interpret it incorrectly and you can make very dumb decisions. Collect the wrong data, well, you were just dumb to start with.


recently noted quotes

every ten years, collective wisdom degrades by half. -- nassim nicholas taleb's corollary to moore's law

the question to be asked at the end of each day is, "how long will you delay to be wise?" -- the good book [a.c. grayling]

Who’s to say that the tone-mapped creations of today will not be the bell-bottom jeans of tomorrow? -- guy tal

i'm sorry, but we can't send a search-and-rescue team into plato's cave. -- xkcd

a great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep. – Saul Bellow

light is the best disinfectant. -- Louis Brandeis, Supreme Court Justice

my personal thing is, I don't want to step in the same river more than twice.-- sting

context determines appropriate tone, reader. no use fighting it. -- bill stott [write to the point]

in the realm of belief we are all hostages to fortune. -- michael philips [undercover philosopher]

remember: think different. that's why your macbook has the same hoary old architecture in ye old generic wintel box ... -- tenfourfox

human intuition is useless both in predicting randomness and in recognizing it. -- james gleick

[in front of a deer head] I'm confused. are we investigating a murder or preparing lunch for the palin family? -- mr nigel-murray [bones]

asked the kid where his protractor is. "how do you draw a circle? by hand?" he says "there is an authenticity to a hand drawn circle"

[kid helping me to meditate] let your thoughts blow away like the summer wind. [he includes the wind sound]

if aliens were ever to visit, NOW would be a good time! -- eren yigit