10+ quotes from Backroads to Far Towns: Basho's Travel Journal by Matsuo Bashō

Quotes from Backroads to Far Towns: Basho's Travel Journal

Matsuo Bashō ·  128 pages

Rating: (2.6K votes)


“In this mortal frame of mine which is made of a hundred bones and nine orifices there is something, and this something is called a wind-swept spirit for lack of a better name, for it is much like a thin drapery that is torn and swept away at the slightest stir of the wind. This something in me took to writing poetry years ago, merely to amuse itself at first, but finally making it its lifelong business. It must be admitted, however, that there were times when it sank into such dejection that it was almost ready to drop its pursuit, or again times when it was so puffed up with pride that it exulted in vain victories over the others. Indeed, ever since it began to write poetry, it has never found peace with itself, always wavering between doubts of one kind and another. At one time it wanted to gain security by entering the service of a court, and at another it wished to measure the depth of its ignorance by trying to be a scholar, but it was prevented from either because of its unquenchable love of poetry. The fact is, it knows no other art than the art of writing poetry, and therefore, it hangs on to it more or less blindly.”
― Matsuo Bashō, quote from Backroads to Far Towns: Basho's Travel Journal


“Searching for the scent
of the early plum,
I found it by the eaves
Of a proud storehouse.”
― Matsuo Bashō, quote from Backroads to Far Towns: Basho's Travel Journal


“Had I crossed the pass
Supported by a stick,
I would have spared myself
The fall from the horse.”
― Matsuo Bashō, quote from Backroads to Far Towns: Basho's Travel Journal


“The River Mogami has drowned
Far and deep
Beneath its surging waves
The flaming sun of summer”
― Matsuo Bashō, quote from Backroads to Far Towns: Basho's Travel Journal


“Here is a greedy man who keeps to himself
The beautiful pears ripe in his garden.”
― Matsuo Bashō, quote from Backroads to Far Towns: Basho's Travel Journal


“A bush-warbler,
Coming to the verandah-edge,
Left its droppings
On the rice-cakes.”
― Matsuo Bashō, quote from Backroads to Far Towns: Basho's Travel Journal


“The moon and sun are eternal travelers. Even the years wander on. A lifetime adrift in a boat or in old age leading a tired horse into the years, every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. —Bashō: Oku-no-hosomichi”
― Matsuo Bashō, quote from Backroads to Far Towns: Basho's Travel Journal


“Days and months are travellers of eternity. So are the years that pass by. Those who steer a boat across the sea, or drive a horse over the earth till they succumb to the weight of years, spend every minute of their lives travelling. There are a great number of ancients, too, who died on the road. I myself have been tempted for a long time by the cloud-moving wind - filled with a strong desire to wander.”
― Matsuo Bashō, quote from Backroads to Far Towns: Basho's Travel Journal


“It is only a barbarous mind that sees other than the flower, merely an animal mind that dreams of other than the moon.”
― Matsuo Bashō, quote from Backroads to Far Towns: Basho's Travel Journal


“夏草や
兵どもが
夢の跡

The summer grasses—
For many brave warriors
The aftermath of dreams.

- Donald Keene, Travelers of a Hundred Ages, New York, 1999, p. 316 (Translation: Donald Keene)”
― Matsuo Bashō, quote from Backroads to Far Towns: Basho's Travel Journal


About the author

Matsuo Bashō
Born place: in Matsuo Kinsaku, Japan
Born date January 1, 1644
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