Chad Sweeney

 

 

 

33 Translations of One Basho

 

1
            ancient pond;
            the frog jumps in—
            splash!

 

2
            a frog leaps
                        into the old well—
            sound of water

 

3
            self absorbs
                        into the flux
            death bell or birth?

 

4         
                                                pear rots
                        in the entropy of bees 
            dark night of the soul

 

5
            dragon in search of the golden sun ball
            dives into a koan of irreconcilable relations
            [old well: new water] the myriad worlds

 

6
            a thief plummets
            from the fire escape:
            listen

           
7
            Grandpa mumbles something
            about the truck in snow
            insinuating tomorrow

 

8
            a desire
            hidden in the dream—
                        one feather dipped in blood

 

9
            y = mx + b
            x2 + y2 = 169
                   

 

10
            Quetzalcoatl
                        disappears into capitol steps   :
            history

 

11
            twin snakes
                        coupling in the garden 
                        dew on the jasmine

 

12
            thesis
            antithesis           
                        synthesis

 

13
                        Oedipus overlooks himself
            in the sphinx
                                    unified in the oracle

 

14
            the boy is older
                        than his mother
            shaking loose the wars

15
            suicide note:
            the world is a nothing
            blooming

           
16
            Krishna reaching out through everything
            gives Radha a blue bracelet
            we live by the sound of its rustling

 

17
                         
                        no frog without
            this rain: no rain
                        without the frog

 

18
            servant girl wearing the king’s medallion
            falls into her own reflection:
            poetry
           
           
19 
            iroko tree
            offers to the circle of young wives
            seed in the belly

             
20

            no target no
                        arrow no bow
            bull's eye!

 

21

            man-lion at dusk
            NaraSingha—
                        the gateless gate
 

22
            all day rain falls
            until mountains return to egg
            in the whiteness

 

23
                                    bare arm
            briefly lit against the night
            then the banjo

 

24
            ferry boat crosses
                        the swollen river
                 despite the cries of warning

 

25

            from her left breast
                        mother
                        fed me language

 

26

            where
            was the sound  
                        before the sound?

 

27
                        despite the wind
            smoke draws a line
                        straight up from the candle
                       

 

28
            by use of transitional objects the infant
            actuates into the larger community
            but not without trauma

 

29
            minnows nibble
                        roots in dark water
            the child is thinking

 

30        
            the dancer
            dissolves into energy
            latent in the audience

 

31
            in the cage
                                                he wakes
            beside his old harmonica

 

32
            Mt. Fuji
                        floating
            on the eye
                        makes a new thing
           not me: not snow          

           
33
                        the frog has escaped
            to lay her eggs
                        in the rain gutter