Moon over the Mountains, Basho

Let us write poetry!
the moon over the mountains
is rarely seen in Edo

Hiroshige’s Moon over Mountain, 1835

Moon Viewing

Matsuo Basho is 33.

He has been living for four years in Edo’s fashionable and artsy Nihonbashi neighborhood. It is noisy, it is dirty, the lights obscure the moon. A autumn trip to his birthplace in Iga, Ueno provides an opportunity to see the harvest moon.

The last line, 山の月 yama no tsuki, moon over the mountain. This refers to the Japanese custom of holding parties to see a full moon, called moon viewing. The most popular viewing is the harvest moon in mid-autumn, celebrated as Tsukimi.

This post relies on WKD – Matsuo Basho Archives by Gabi Greve.

Notes on Translation

読む nagamuru, “reading out loud”. One can of course silently experience the beauty of a full moon. Sharing an experience is better.

稀な marena, rare or uncommon.

Japanese and Rōmaji 

詠むるや江戸には稀な山の月

nagamuru ya Edo ni wa marena yama no tsuki

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