“Lightning” by Matsuo Bashō

Japanese poet Bashō composed the following haiku in the fall of 1694, just months before his death. A jag of lightning— Then, flitting toward the darkness, A night heron’s scream. —Translated by David Bowles, July 2013 Original Japanese inazuma ya yami no kata yuku goi no koe  

Continue reading

“This Road” by Matsuo Bashō

Japanese poet Bashō composed the following haiku during the fall of 1694, not long before his death. Alone on this road, Not a single passerby— Autumn night descends. —Translated by David Bowles, July 2013 Original Japanese kono michi ya yuku hito nashi ni aki no kure  

Continue reading

“Summer Grass” by Matsuo Bashō

The following haiku is from Bashō’s famous haibun (blended prose-verse travelogue) Narrow Road to the Deep North, which describes his 1689 journey into the less populated wilderness of northern Japan in search of famous utamakaru or sites that inspired great poetry. At one point he visits the ruins of the…

Continue reading

“Stillness” by Matsuo Bashō

The following haiku is from Bashō’s famous haibun (blended prose-verse travelogue) Narrow Road to the Deep North, which describes his 1689 journey into the less populated wilderness of northern Japan in search of famous utamakaru or sites that inspired great poetry. At one point he visits a mountain temple high…

Continue reading

“The Song of Moquihuitzin” to Be Published

My translation of “The Song of Moquihuitzin” from the Aztec codex Songs of Mexico (Cantares Mexicanos) will be published in issue 19 of BorderSenses, a great literary journal.  

Continue reading

Cover image for Flower, Song, Dance

The cover image for my book of translated Mesoamerican verse, Flower, Song, Dance: Aztec and Mayan Poetry, out this fall from Lamar University Press. A shout-out to artist Noé Vela for this fantastic painting.  

Continue reading

Illustrations for Flower, Song, Dance

Here are a few illustrations from my collection of Mesoamerican verse Flower, Song, Dance: Aztec and Mayan Poetry, forthcoming from Lamar University Press. All images © 2013 Nicol Bowles.  

Continue reading

Near Dwaravati, on the Beach

This poem originally appeared in Along the River. Near Dwaravati, on the Beach He faces me in some glittering moonlit mindscape —I almost feel the sea breeze and the still-warm sand— His ageless eyes full of power that almost glows. “Hello, Nara,” he murmurs. “Here we always meet, Near the…

Continue reading

Beyond Mirando City

For Jan Seale Beyond Mirando City There are places where the stricken world tapers to an end: Thin spots, bereft of voice or birds, From which obscure vehicles in endless caravan siphon Essential mysteries or dark green dreams. I’d not stop at such blighted corners of creation, But life draws…

Continue reading

The Aging Muse (Sappho)

Sappho was an incredible poet of the ancient world, but most of her poetry has been lost to us. In 2004, Michael Gronewald and Robert Daniel announced that a papyrus in the University of Cologne contained poems of Sappho. This text, recovered from a sort of papier-mâché used for Egyptian mummy masks,…

Continue reading