A Bee

A bee
staggers out
of the peony.


Translated by Robert Hass

by Matsuo Basho

Comments (11)

Drunken, by it's creation. Awakened, to it's demise. One see's, blind!
(A Bee - Poem by Matsuo Basho.) **An entertaining verse.
'' From the bottom of the pistil / the peony, the bee moves away / grudgingly '' [Bashō] In this hokku on parting (separation) , the bee represents Basho and the peony the host (Master Toyo) . The bee leaves the flower with great reluctance, thus expressing the deep gratitude of the visitor. This form of symbolism or simple allegory was a standard for the poets of that time, as it was for the entire poetic tradition.
it has been proposed by some critics that, by saying '' a bee staggers out the peony '', Basho is maybe '' attributing [sort of] human emotion to the bee ''.. Or maybe '' he is entering into the authentic experience of 'beeness' '' :) I'm not in Basho's mind, but -as others have pointed out- a more proper question would be: '' Is the bee inside his mind or outside ''? :)
another translation: '' how reluctantly / the bee emerges from deep / within the peony ''
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