Frog Haiku

When you read traditional haiku, many of the same themes emerge…

Frog haiku

Frog Haiku by Traditional Japanese Poets

When you read traditional haiku, many of the same themes emerge. You read verses about cats and flowers and horses. Another thing you’ll find is a good amount of frog haiku. This is most likely due to the influence of Basho, a master of haiku. His haiku about frogs is considered by many to be the greatest haiku ever written.

Famous Frog Haiku by Basho

Matsuo Bashō (1644 – 1694), was the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan and is still recognized as Japan’s most popular poet. His most famous haiku, perhaps the most famous haiku ever written, is about a frog jumping into the water of an old pond. It has the same iconic status in Japanese poetry as William Carlos Williams’ red wheelbarrow has in American poetry.

The old pond;
A frog jumps in —
The sound of the water.

Translated by R. H. Blyth

Frog Haiku by Chiyo-jo

Kaga no Chiyo-jo (1703 – 1775), stood as a prominent Japanese poet during the Edo period. Revered for her prowess in haiku, she remains celebrated as one of its foremost practitioners. Her dedication not only carved a path for her own career but also unbarred avenues for fellow women. She is recognized as a trailblazer in the poetry world.

studying the clouds—
a frog

Frog Haiku by Sokan

SŌKAN (1458?–1546?) was born into a samurai lineage, and initially found service under the shogun Ashikaga Yoshihisa. Following his father’s passing, Sōkan’s path diverged, leading him to embrace monastic life. He spent his remaining years secluded in a hermitage, where he pioneered an innovative variant of linked-verse (renga) poetry. In time he became
regarded as the inventor of haiku.

Bracing his feet
and offering up a song—
the frog


More Haiku by Various Authors

Could they be sutras?
in the temple well
frogs chant

Recited on and on,
the poems of the frogs
have too many syllables

With the power of non-attachment
floating on the water—
a frog

On the surface
of petal-covered water—
frogs’ eyes

The tree frog
riding the plantain leaf

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Sam and Corey started Poetry is Pretentious to demystify poetry. More importantly, their 5th grade teacher told them they couldn’t go through life as a team. 18 years later they’re here to prove her wrong.


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