A banana plant in the autumn gale

by Matsuo Basho


Original Language Japanese

A banana plant in the autumn gale --
I listen to the dripping of rain
Into a basin at night.

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Basho took his name from the Japanese word for "banana tree." He was given a gift of a banana tree by a student and the poet immediately identified with it: the way the small tree stood there with its large, soft, fragile leaves.

So, in this haiku, when Basho writes of "A banana plant in the autumn gale" he is writing about himself, so open to everything amidst the harsh, swirling activity of the world around him.

Then the next two lines switch to an internal awareness, the quiet "dripping of rain." Despite the torrent outside, Basho is in meditation, patiently observing the gathering of the raindrops "into a basin."



Recommended Books: Matsuo Basho

Zen Poetry: Let the Spring Breeze Enter The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry The Poetry of Zen: (Shambhala Library) Haiku Enlightenment The Four Seasons: Japanese Haiku
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