December 30th is not too late to learn, if indeed one learns.
月白き 師走は子路が寝 覚め哉Matuso Basho, 貞亨３年, December, 1686
tsuki shiroki / shiwasu wa / Shiro ga nezame kana
Under the white moon
Shiro wakes up
Note. Tsuki shiroki, means White Moon. Shiwasu, December. Shiro, a disciple of Confucius. Shiroki, a homophone, (also Shirozake), a white colored saki.
Back in Edo, living in his cottage, Basho’an, Matsuo Basho was still learning. Earlier in 1686, Spring Days (Haru no Hi) was compiled in Nagoya by Basho’s disciples, edited by him, and published in Kyoto. In 1686 he also composed his best known haiku about a frog, an old pond, and the sound of water. That December, back at Basho-an, under the moonlight he was thinking of Shiro, a disciple of Confucius.
Most likely, Basho was moon viewing and sharing a cup of saki with his friends. 白酒, Shiroki, Shirozake, is a white colored saki.
Shiro, (子路, 543 – 481), Chinese, Zhong You (仲由), courtesy name Zi-lu, one of the ten most important disciples of Confucius.
Of him, Confucius said, “If to your present ability you added the wisdom of learning, you would be a superior man.”
“What is learning be to me?” asked Zi-lu. “The bamboo on the southern hill is straight itself without being bent. If I cut it and use it, I can send it through the hide of a rhinoceros, what then is the use of learning to me?”
“Yes,” said Confucius, “but if you feather it and point it with steel, will it not penetrate more deeply?”
Zi-lu bowed twice, and said, “Reverently I await your teachings.”