Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Sound of Water: Haiku by Basho, Buson, Issa, and Other Poets” as Want to Read:
The Sound of Water: Haiku by Basho, Buson, Issa, and Other Poets
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Sound of Water: Haiku by Basho, Buson, Issa, and Other Poets

4.37 of 5 stars 4.37  ·  rating details  ·  191 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Here are more than two hundred of the best haiku of Japanese literature translated by one of America’s premier poet-translators. The haiku is one of the most popular and widely recognized poetic forms in the world. In just three lines a great haiku presents a crystalline moment of image, emotion, and awareness. This illustrated collection includes haiku by the great master ...more
Paperback, 152 pages
Published November 14th 2006 by Shambhala (first published 2000)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Sound of Water, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Sound of Water

The Complete Poems by Emily DickinsonLeaves of Grass by Walt WhitmanShakespeare's Sonnets by William ShakespeareThe Waste Land and Other Poems by T.S. EliotAriel by Sylvia Plath
Best Poetry Books
200th out of 1,479 books — 1,611 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 364)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
I was given this book for participating in a haiku "challenge" (I was chosen randomly); and not only is the tiny book cute and elegant (Can it be both those things? Yes, I think it can.) with a few soft illustrations scattered throughout, it is a nice sampling of haiku (from my admittedly small knowledge of the genre) from the 15th century through to the 19th century.

I read it straight through, but I think it would be fun to open randomly and mediate on the one you happen to land upon. My favori
I meant to get Basho's The Narrow Road to the Far North out from the library, but it was a very large square library-bound book that upon opening emitted that unpleasant smell of a book that is old enough to change scent while sitting unread on the library shelf but not quite old enough for that scent to be a good one. Also, the book included colour photographs from the 1970s which are the sort that seem to physically assault the sensitive aesthetic sensibilities of those of us who have grown up ...more
Ben Wood
An excellent, and appropriately succinct collection of the greats (Basho, Buson, and Issa) and some other noteworthy ones at the end. Basho's haiku are the most beautiful and delicate:

With a warbler for
a soul, it sleeps peacefully,
this mountain willow.

This dark autumn
old age settles down on me
like heavy clouds or birds

Come out to view
the truth of flowers blooming
in poverty

Chilling autumn rains
curtain Mount Fuji, then make it
more beautiful to see

With dewdrops dripping,
I wish somehow I could wash
May 11, 2009 Arlyce rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: attentive readers
Recommended to Arlyce by: Daniel
This is my favorite little haiku book. I like flipping it open randomly and seeing what it has to offer. It's far better than a horoscope.
my boyfriend got me a copy of this book. Great cover. Great poems. it gave me the impression that the japanese have it all figured out..
-- Basho --

At the ancient pond
a frog plunges into
the sound of water

Behind Ise Shrine,
unseen, hidden by the fence,
Buddha enters nirvana

With dewdrops dripping,
I wish somehow I could wash
this perishing world

Seas slowly darken
and the wild duck's plaintive cry
grows faintly white

Tremble, oh my gravemound,
in time my cries will be
only this autumn wind

Sick on my journey,
only my dreams will wander
these desolate moors

-- Buson --

In seasonal rain
along a nameless river
fear too has no name

-- Issa --

In the m
When I think I have forgotten peace.
Robert Beveridge
Sam Hamill (ed.), The Sound of Water: Haiku by Basho, Buson, Issa, and Other Poets (Shambhala, 1995)

Very small, very concentrated book. One hundred twenty-five pages, most with two haiku per page (some pages are simple illustrations from the period). I was unfortunately too much of an idiot to keep this with me until I wrote the review so I could quote some of the world's finest haiku at you, so all I can say is trust me on this one: there's a reason these guys are known as the masters of haiku

Notable to me mostly because it's not your usual Basho--ie; not the poet's most frequently anthologized pieces. These poems delve deep into aging, unrequited love, abandonment, isolation, and the complex world of man's interrelationship with nature.

Ponderous and absorbing.
It's a small size paperback book that one can carry everywhere..Yet, it includes the best Haiku poems in Japanese literature..You can pull it out anytime and read the greatest and shortest poetry pieces you've ever tasted .. Have this book and you won't regret it.
Absolutely stunning.

One of my favorites:

True obedience:
Silently the flowers speak
To the inner ear.


To learn how to die
Watch cherry blossoms, observe

Lonely silence,
A single cicada's cry
Sinking into stone (Basho)
Thomas Dolan
Awesome. What else can you say?

I did find one poem by Issa rather, vulgar, to say the least...but due to his insightful command of the form, I suppose I'll let it slide.
I loved everything about this collection of haiku. It's tiny, it has neat artwork, and it has a wide variety of poems, from the thought provoking to the ridiculous.
Mar 28, 2009 Matt rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
A convienient pocket size with a wide variety of haiku examples from many authors. Without the Japanese romansh I find it lacking a little bit however.
Kindle Embers
I'm loved this book. Read some haikus to my beloved husband. This book made me fall in love with haikus. Pure, simple, beautiful.
Nov 09, 2014 Tonya marked it as to-read
A tiny book of haikus that I got interested in when I took a poetry class. Looking forward to learning more about and reading more haiku.
Tiny book of Haiku by major Haiku poets. Nice translations of familiar Haiku with beautiful ink paintings for illustrations.
ArEzO.... Es
هدف هايكو زيبايي نيست
بلكه به سادگي تمام چيزي را نشان مي دهد كه خود هميشه مي دانستيم
A great survey of haiku. Tranquil and and also hilarious.
I think I like Basho the best.
Ohyoon Kim
Ohyoon Kim marked it as to-read
Mar 10, 2015
David Bates
David Bates marked it as to-read
Mar 08, 2015
Mil Kutzner
Mil Kutzner marked it as to-read
Mar 06, 2015
Julia marked it as to-read
Mar 05, 2015
H Mcinnes
H Mcinnes marked it as to-read
Feb 28, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 12 13 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • 100 Poems from the Japanese
  • The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa
  • The Haiku Anthology
  • On Love and Barley: Haiku of Basho
  • The Selected Poems
  • The Ink Dark Moon: Love Poems by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu, Women of the Ancient Court of Japan
  • The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain
  • One Robe, One Bowl: The Zen Poetry of Ryokan
  • Japanese Death Poems: Written by Zen Monks and Haiku Poets on the Verge of Death
  • Sky Above, Great Wind: The Life and Poetry of Zen Master Ryokan
  • The Selected Poems of Tu Fu
  • Sources of Japanese Tradition (Volume I)
  • Dua Belas Pasang Mata (Twentyfour Eyes)
  • Haiku Handbook: How to Write, Share, and Teach Haiku
  • The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi & Arrowroot
  • The Earliest English Poems
  • The Temple: The Poetry of George Herbert
  • The Spring of My Life and Selected Haiku
The Erotic Spirit: An Anthology of Poems of Sensuality, Love, and Longing (Shambhala Library) The Essential Chuang Tzu The Poetry of Zen Love Poems from the Japanese Poets Against the War

Share This Book