Basho left Edo in the spring of 1689 and travelled the great arc of the northern routes (Oshukaido and Hokurikudo) in six months, arriving in Ogaki in the autumn of 1689.
He got to the River Oi and wanted to cross but it had rained all day and the river was too swollen to allow it. He continued without crossing the river until he got to the “steep precipice of Sayo-no-nakayama”:
Half-asleep on horseback
I saw as if in a dream
A distant moon and a line of smoke
For the morning tea.
Self was mistaken about the entire work being written in haiku. Here’s a prose passage:
My head is clean shaven, and I have a string of beads in my hand. I am indeed dressed like a priest but priest I am not, for the dust of the world still clings to me.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers.