Sunday, March 08, 2009

B3: 365 Days of Basho Splash

It's only Day 12, but Derek, on his blog, "tobikomu – 365 days of overdoing Bashō," is attempting exactly that: a Basho translation a day.

But it's more than that.

It's a translation a day of one Basho hokku, the famous frog poem.

IMHO, the worst to date:
antiquated pond
amphibian leaping in
aquatic sounding
But he knew that:
The sounds are lovely...but those words don't sound right to the English ear, unless you're a pretentious shit. Plus, they're just not accurate...
The best to date is the second attempt (followed closely by the first):
an old pond
a frog leaps in--
water's sound
But maybe the most original is this serendipitous piece:
mold pond--
frog hops through
water's sound
Why serendipitous? Because:
h/t to my son Pete, who overheard Ann and I last night talking about the first line, and he pipes up "mold pond?" Which was fortuitously misheard, really, since I'd been trying to figure out how, exactly, I might communicate the imagination I had of Basho's pond.
This is some good stuff. Not only the translations themselves, but the commentary as well. Derek is very particular about his Japanese, and it shows. Very much unlike my very free approach.

Will he be able to last all year? As one who attempted such a feat with my Thoreau blog, I know well the difficulty of doing so. In the end, I missed about a dozen days that first year (which I since have corrected, I might add).

But I for one am cheering him on.

1 comment:

Derek said...

Thanks for the kind words, and sorry to have let you down--exams, dissertation, teaching, kids, job search, etc. all kind of got in the way. I'm hoping to get things back underway come the first of the year--hope you'll check back in then.