Haiku by Basho

How admirable,
to see lightning,
and not think life is fleeting
[1]

稲妻にさとらぬ人の貴さよ
inazuma ni satoranu hito no tattosa yo

12 1/4″ W x 43″ H Japanese Scroll
by Master Japanese Calligrapher Eri Takase

$180.00

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H3007 Haiku by Basho – How admirable, …
by Master Japanese Calligrapher Eri Takase

How admirable,
to see lightning,
and not think life is fleeting
[1]

inazuma ni
satoranu hito no
tattosa yo
稲妻に
さとらぬ人の
貴さよ
bashou 芭蕉

Hart Larrabee suggests the translation:

Those who see lightning,
Without thinking of transience
How admirable!
[2]

Jane Hirshfield suggests the translation:

how admirable –
a man who sees lightening
and not satori
[3]

R. H. Blyth suggests the translation:

How Admirable,
He who thinks not, “Life is fleeting,”
When he sees the lightning flash!”
[4]

Sam Hill suggests the translation:

How very noble!
One who finds no satori
in the lightning flash
[5]

Asataro Miyamori suggests the translation:

How noble he who realizes not,
From lightning-flashes, life is vain!
[6]

Calligraphy Notes:

Japanese has changed dramatically since this haiku was written. Today the word toutosa (from 貴い (read toutoi)) is used in place of the archaic tattosa). So one sees the romaji for this poem written both ways. Here we have opted to use the older form (how Basho originally pronounced the characters) rather than using the modern pronunciation. This does not change the calligraphy, just how the poem is read.

Thus one commonly sees the reading as inazuma ni satoranu hito no toutosa yo. [4] [6]

References:

[1] Translation by Timothy L. Jackowski, Takase Studios, LLC.

[2] 21.

[3]

[4] 702.
[4] 189.

[5]

[6] 149.