Brian's Reviews > The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches

The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches by Matsuo Bashō
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
1551688
's review
Sep 10, 09

bookshelves: asian, read-2009
Read in September, 2009

Matsuo Basho was a poet. He traveled throughout Japan. He wrote poems about it... and short essays. Prose and poetry mix. It is a beautiful thing when the two meet seamlessly.


...it was a great pleasure to see the marvelous beauties of nature, rare scenes in the mountains or along the coast, or to visit the sites of temporary abodes of ancient sages where they had spent secluded lives, or better still, to meet people who had entirely devoted themselves to the search for artistic truth. Since I had nowhere permanent to stay, I had no interest whatever in keeping treasures, and since I was empty-handed, I had no fear of being robbed on the way. I walked at full ease, scorning the pleasure of riding in a palanquin, and filled my hungry stomach with coarse food, shunning the luxury of meat. I bent my steps in whatever direction I wished, having no itinerary to follow. My only mundane concerns were whether I would be able to find a suitable place to sleep at night and whether the straw sandals were the right size for my feet. Every turn of the road brought me new thoughts and every sunrise gave me fresh emotions. My joy was great when I encountered anyone with the slightest understanding of artistic elegance. Even those whom I had long hated for being antiquated and stubborn sometimes proved to be pleasant companions on my wandering journey. Indeed, one of the greatest pleasures of traveling was to find a genius hidden among weeds and bushes, a treasure lost in broken tiles, a mass of gold buried in clay, and when I did find such a person, I always kept a record with the hope that I might be able to show it to my friends.

To talk casually
About an iris flower
Is one of the pleasures
Of the wandering journey.


Regardless of weather,
The moon shines the same;
It is the drifting clouds
That make it seem different
On different nights.
written by a priest

Autumn air whispers
A fallen leaf speaks gently
Basho is with us. Brian
2 likes · likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches.
sign in »

No comments have been added yet.