furu ike ya kawazu tobikomu mizu no oto
the old pond;
a frog jumps in —
the sound of the water
© Basho (Tr. R.H.Blyth
For this new adventure proposed by Chèvrefeuille of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, we are to translate the famous “old pond” haiku written by Basho into our own language. Though I am not Italian, I’ve spoken the language for over 40 years so .. I can manage to write a haiku.
Not long ago, I came across a site called Matsuo Basho’s Frog Haiku. Here there are 31 translations of the famous poem, because haiku is not only words but sensations.
The famous Zen master D.T. Suzuki translated it like this:
Into the ancient pond
A frog jumps
Cid Corman, an American poet and translator wrote it like this:
Alan Watts, who is one of my favourite writers about all mystic things oriental, but especially Zen, translated it like this:
The old pond,
A frog jumps in:
One of the translation is very verbose, it is one of the first translations and was done by another American, Curtis Hidden Page …
A lonely pond in age-old stillness sleeps . . .
Apart, unstirred by sound or motion . . . till
Suddenly into it a lithe frog leaps.
And lastly the beat generation through Alan Ginsberg translated it like this:
The old pond
A frog jumped in,
The basic elements then are: a frog and an unkempt or perhaps just very old pond … with mould on the rocks and watery plants … maybe something like this:
We can imagine that it might be a warm day … or perhaps it’s in the evening. Perhaps Basho was meditating when he heard the sound of water and decided that it was a frog .. perhaps he saw the frog jump into the water … and what is the spiritual implications of the frog jumping into the pond – could this be a metaphor of something else?
How would I translate all this in Italian?
al vecchio stagno
si tuffa una rana
Basho (Tr. G.s.k. ’16)
(it’s interesting to note the onomatopoeic for an object hitting waster is splash)
translated back into English this would be
at the old pond
a frog dives in
Basho (Tr. G.s.k. ’16
The other day I wrote a completely different post for: Carpe Diem Vernacular, with a twist #1 the old pond because I misunderstood the prompt thinking we were to choose a haiku and translate it …