Mizu No Oto

by Bill Knott

Pain passes for sunlight at certain depths

which most of us never strike; the dive

is too far: or is the ear sheer enough—

Bashō by a pond heard a frog make

the usual faucet-dripping-into-a-keyhole

sound; it wisely ignored his efforts

to collaborate. Get your galleyslaves

rowing with icicles for oars, that’s

one way some say. Resist the urge

to halve the sea/be laser Moses,

to submerge yourself as a slice

specimen, all random camera words.

Beyond the caprice of earth to slake,

thirst issues from the source it breaks.

From Homages by Bill Knott, CreateSpace, 2014, page 57. Author’s Note: A meditation upon Bashō’s most famous haiku, whose final syllables I’ve used for the title.