Sunday Poem

In Basho's House

In Basho’s house
there are no walls,
no roof, floors
or pathway—
nothing to show

where it is,
yet you can enter
from any direction
through a door
that’s always open.

You hear voices
though no one
is near you—
you’ll listen without
knowing you do.

Time and time
you get up to greet
a stranger coming
towards you.
No one ever appears.

Hours and seasons
lose their names—
as do passing clouds.
Rising moon and setting sun
no longer cast shadows.

Sounds drift in
like effortless breathing—
frogsplash, birdsong,
echoes of your
own footsteps.

It all ceases
to exist in Basho’s house—
the place you’ve entered
without knowing
you’ve taken a step.

Sit down. Breathe
in, breathe out.
Close your tired eyes.
Basho is sitting beside you—
a guest in his own house.

by Peter Skyzynecki
from Old/New World: New & Selected Poems
University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, 2007

Basho

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