Matsuo Bashō · 128 pages
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“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.”
“Searching for the scent
of the early plum,
I found it by the eaves
Of a proud storehouse.”
“Had I crossed the pass
Supported by a stick,
I would have spared myself
The fall from the horse.”
“The River Mogami has drowned
Far and deep
Beneath its surging waves
The flaming sun of summer”
“Here is a greedy man who keeps to himself
The beautiful pears ripe in his garden.”
Coming to the verandah-edge,
Left its droppings
On the rice-cakes.”
“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”
“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.”
“It is only a barbarous mind that sees other than the flower, merely an animal mind that dreams of other than the moon.”
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)”
“Deborah was the only person on earth who knew what I really was, and even though she was still getting used to the idea, I had thought she understood the very careful boundaries set up by Harry, and understood, too, that I would never cross them.”
“Euclid discovered that perfect numbers are always the multiple of two numbers, one of which is a power of 2 and the other being the next power of 2 minus 1.”
“I wasn't quite as certain that I knew her soul.
When it came right down to it, I wasn't sure she knew me either.”
“Unbelievers enjoy the security of their unbelief; there is great confidence in ignorance. But”
“There’s not a lot to say about the Cul-de-Sac except to realize that it exists and to embrace the fact that when you find one, you need to get off it, fast. That’s because a dead end is keeping you from doing something else. The opportunity cost of investing your life in something that’s not going to get better is just too high.”
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