Friday, May 11, 2007

5/10/1689: Five Bashos Towards Matsushima

Much praise has already been lavished on the wonders of the islands of Matsushima. Yet if further praise is possible, I would like to say that here is the most beautiful spot in the whole country of Japan, and that the beauty of these islands is not in the least inferior to the beauty of Lake Dotei or Lake Seiko in China.
~trans. Nobuyuki Yuasa

There are countless islands; some tall, like fingers pointing to heaven; some lying prostate on the waves; some grouped together in twos and threes, branching to the left or stretching to the right; some with babes upon their backs or clasped to their bosoms, like parents and grandparents.
~trans. Dorothy Britton

Green of the pines deep, needles and branches mauled by the salt winds - though contorted by nature, look artificially trained. The feeling: one of intense beauty, of a lovely creature engrossed in her glass.
~trans. Cid Corman and Kamaike Susume

Truly, Matsushima might have been made by Oyamazumi in the ancient age of the mighty gods! What painter can reproduce, what author can describe the wonder of the creator's divine handiwork?
~trans. Helen Craig McCullough

The island coastline of Ojima juts from the main body of land, an island looking like a penninsula. One can still see the site of the detatched temple of the Zen Priest Ungo, along with such other things as the stone he sat upon for meditation. In the shade of the pines there were also one or two priests who had renounced the world, leading the lives of hermits in their grass-thatched huts, above which rose the thin smoke of fires built of pine cones or fallen needles.
~trans. Earl Miner

No comments: