Taniguchi Buson (1715-1783)

Buson followed close behind Basho in time and talent. He was also a well-known painter. Buson’s outlook on life was more secular than Basho’s path. Yet, he did not so closely identify himself with the human condition as did Issa who followed him. Buson weaves his words into poems with excellent craftsmanship. He stepped back a bit and became a brilliant observer of life. He rarely exhibited the personal intensity of Basho or Issa.

Morning haze –
like a painting of a dream,
people pass by.

Buson felt that working too hard at things got in the way of poetry and living. Most of his fellow poets approached spring blossoms as a challenge to their talents, but not Buson.

I come to the blossoms
and go to sleep under the tree –
free time!

Yet, sometimes the whole world is contained in the sharp eye of this painter-poet.

The spring rains fall
and on the roof being soaked
is a cloth hand-ball!