Bashō — a wild sea – at Never Ending Story

a wild sea –

stretching to Sado Isle

the Milky Way

– Bashō

Comment: This haiku is framed by the natural landscape, a “wild sea” (L1) and the “Milky Way” (L3) through Bashō’s effective use of inversion (in both the Japanese original and the English translation). Sado Isle, known for its long history of political exiles, surrounded by a wild sea and lying under the Milky Way, comes to “embody the feeling of loneliness, both of the exiles at Sado and of the poet himself. The poem has a majestic, slow-moving rhythm, especially the drawn-out “o” sounds in the middle line (Sado ni yokotau), which suggests the vastness and scale of the landscape” (Haruo Shirane, Traces of Dreams: Landscape, Cultural Memory, and the Poetry of Bashō, pp. 242-3) from — Chen-ou Liu, Never Ending Story

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