Following are several translations
of the 'Old Pond' poem, which may be
the most famous of all haiku:
mizu no oto
MANY ingenious lovely things are gone
That seemed sheer miracle to the multitude,
protected from the circle of the moon
That pitches common things about. There stood
Amid the ornamental bronze and stone
An ancient image made of olive wood --
And gone are phidias' famous ivories
And all the golden grasshoppers and bees.
We too had many pretty toys when young:
A law indifferent to blame or praise,
They sent me a salwar kameez
&nb sp; peacock-blue,
& nbsp; and another
glistening like an orange split open,
embossed slippers, gold and black
&nbs p; points curling.
Candy-striped glass bangles
&n bsp; snapped, drew blood.
Like at school, fashions changed
&n bsp; in Pakistan -
For God's sake hold your tongue, and let me love,
Or chide my palsy, or my gout,
My five grey hairs, or ruin'd fortune flout,
With wealth your state, your mind with arts improve,
Take you a course, get you a place,
Observe his Honour, or his Grace,
Or the King's real, or his stamped face
Contemplate, what you will, approve,
So you will let me love.
The flesh is sad, Alas! and I have read all the books.
Let’s go! Far off. Let’s go! I sense
that the birds, intoxicated, fly
deep into unknown spume and sky!
Nothing – not even old gardens mirrored by eyes –
can restrain this heart that drenches itself in the sea,
O nights, or the abandoned light of my lamp,
on the void of paper, that whiteness defends,
no, not even the young woman feeding her child.
I will go! Steamer, straining at your ropes
I am kind of this perpetually tired
Sack of flour
I’ve been staring at the walls for hours
All I am full of is nothing
And it sounds pretty dramatic
But when i’m fulfilled, there’s no room for sadness
There’s no madness
I feel fine (if fine is the absence of anything)
I feel tired
All the time
In the hall of clocks and mirrors,
Winds of time bring fragrant whispers,
Of midnights of magic moonlight,
And reflections of past delights!
Of golden days when lost in blooms,
And dancing joy in summer rooms!
A blur of green in woodland scene,
And the purple twilights velveteen.
The park is filled with night and fog,
The veils are drawn about the world,
The drowsy lights along the paths
Are dim and pearled.
Gold and gleaming the empty streets,
gold and gleaming the misty lake,
The mirrored lights like sunken swords,
Glimmer and shake.
In the wild soft summer darkness
How many and many a night we two together
Sat in the park and watched the Hudson
Wearing her lights like golden spangles
Glinting on black satin.
The rail along the curving pathway
Was low in a happy place to let us cross,
And down the hill a tree that dripped with bloom
While your kisses and the flowers,
She is too kind, I think, for mortal things,
Too gentle for the gusty ways of earth;
God gave to her a shy and silver mirth,
And made her soul as clear
And softly singing as an orchard spring's
In sheltered hollows all the sunny year--
A spring that thru the leaning grass looks up
And holds all heaven in its clarid cup,
Mirror to holy meadows high and blue
With stars like drops of dew.