Zen Monks Talking Big

by Judy Halebsky



inazuma ni

satoranu hito no

tattosa yo

Bashō played softball, second base

he also slept with the nuns and had to leave town

drank sake in rice fields

talked to spiders and half moons and cobwebs

laughed at the rain getting his sleeping mat wet

watching the lightning

those who share simply

are noble

inazuma (lightning) ni (with)

satora (enlightened, realized) nu (not) hito (people) no (possessive)

tattosa (honorable, noble) yo (yo)

I repeat: yo means yo

highbrow talk

ever the lightning

such a pity

From Sky = Empty, Kalamazoo, Michigan: New Issues Press / Western Michigan University, 2009, page 16. Bashō’s haiku has also been translated as “how admirable / to see lightning / and not think life is fleeting.”