10 November, 2009

Dozing on Horseback

half-asleep on horseback
half-dreaming the moon far off,
smoke from morning tea-fires

- Matsuo Basho


Anonymous said...

I think it's 'horse', not 'horseback' - so much gets lost in the translation of this junky slang

Anonymous said...


五行雲子 said...

Hmmm.. better to be on the horse's back than it's front when one is half asleep.

Hobbes said...

Dear Anonymous,

There are as many translations of this classic haiku as there are translators - thanks for adding yours. I subscribe to the Ezra Pound school of translating Oriental poems - beauty and rigour are often at odds in a translation, and it is the task of the translator not merely to render something into another language, but to attempt conveyance of its spirit.

(I should add that I do not read Japanese, and that this is most definitely not my work - rather, it is the most appealing to me of very many translations of this Basho classic.)



Anonymous said...

The moon was closer to this horseman than he ever dreamed.