Summary: The Narrow Road of the Interior

Matsuo Basho constructed this poem as if it were one large travel diary from a journey. Apparently this poem is based off of the time he traveled by foot across Japan around the year 1689. Basho allegedly wrote this while he was on his journey. Symbolically, he shows how “life is a journey. The journey itself is your home.” Basho introduces this poem with him and his companion, Kawai Sora, leaving Edo (modern-day Japan) to begin the journey. Basho takes a boat from Edo and reaches the docks of Senju. Then he leaves on foot to begin his “pilgrimage” to Matsu and Dewa. Basho describes how such travel will make you age. He means although it is tiresome and harsh, it will make you wiser to see the world. Basho reaches a post station at Soka. He’s mentions how he’s carrying some unnecessary items on the journey but he doesn’t dare discard them. Basho and Sora eventually reach a place called Muro-no-yashima which is a shrine, honoring “Ko-no-hana-sakuya-hime”, a goddess worshipped at the base of Mount Fuji. Later, Basho and Sora lodge at an inn in the Nikko Mountains. A month later, Basho and Sora leave to worship at another shrine at the Nikko Mountains.

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About jwdeering

I like to read and write. I've been doing poetry for three years, but now I'm working on short stories.
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