April is National Poetry Month in the U.S., so let’s learn about haiku, which is a traditional Japanese short poem form. Here’s an example by the haiku master Basho:
A haiku has three lines with five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second line, and five syllables in the third line. It also usually includes words that are connected to Nature and philosophy and has some sort of small surprise.
Since the original frog haiku is in Japanese, there are many ways to translate it. Here are 30 below:
The original Japanese:
Furu ike ya
mizu no oto
An old pond —Translated by Kenneth Rexroth
Of a diving frog.
Pond, there, still and old!
A frog has jumped from the shore.
The splash can be heard.
Translated by Eli Siegel
old pondTranslated by Cid Corman
The old pond,Translated by Alan Watts
A frog jumps in:
Breaking the silenceTranslated by Nobuyuki Yuasa
Of an ancient pond,
A frog jumped into water —
A deep resonance.
The old pondTranslated by Allen Ginsberg
A frog jumped in,
Listen! a frogTranslated by Dorothy Britton
Jumping into the stillness
Of an ancient pond!
Old pondTranslated by Lucien Stryk
leap — splash
The old pond —Translated by Robert Hass
a frog jumps in,
sound of water.
At the ancient pondTranslated by Sam Hamill
a frog plunges into
the sound of water
ancient is the pond —Translated by Tim Chilcott
suddenly a frog leaps — now!
the water echoes
pondTranslated by James Kirkup