Homage to Bashō

by David Lehman

The butterfly dips

its wings in aroma of

violet wild orchid.

Red plums of summer,

first green figs, so many ears

of corn eaten raw.

Leaves that left the trees

are litter now on the ground

in orange and yellow.

No one on this road

but me: It must be autumn

in the dark country.

Comes the freeze, and rain

falls all through the night and soaks

the morning paper.

Winter blows its white

storms across the hills: Even

monkeys need raincoats.

The spring night vanished

while we talked among cherry

blossoms and petals.

From The Atlantic, November 2020.