Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Basho Revisited


                                         [Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694) -  "Old pond/a frog jumps in/kerplunk"]

AG: Okay. There might be some…I finished that haiku, or the Basho haiku, which wound up to be - "Old pond/a frog jumps in/kerplunk"(It was "Old pond/frog jumps/kerplunk" but that doesn't quite sound American - you could say "Old pond/a frog jumps in/kerplunk" -so I filled out a few more syllables to that to make it clearer. And then I realized it would be a great end to a country n' western song! - like [Allen begins singing] ""Old pond/the frog jumps in/kerplunk" - I wrote a whole bunch of verses to go with it. I'll sing those and get onto…  

"Papa why'd you hide your head?

Mama, whatcha doin' on the bed?
Hard road, I walked til both feet stunk
Old pond the frog jumps in kerplunk

Left home to get a job today

Sold coke got busted every way
Daydream but still I'm just a clunk
Old pond the frog jumps in kerplunk

Got hitched I bought a frying pan
Fried eggs my wife just like a man
Won't cook her oatmeal tastes like funk
Old pond the frog jumps in kerplunk

Drop dead exactly what she said

Drink wine it went right to my head
Chucked up they all said I was drunk
Old pond the frog jumps in kerplunk

Sorrow grapes at six o'clock today

Midnight if I feel the same way
Headache as if my eyeballs shrunk
Old pond the frog jumps in kerplunk

Hot dog I like my mustard hot

Hey rube I think I just got shot
Drop dead she said, you want some junk
Old pond the frog jumps in kerplunk

The ideal there in a translation was to get a translation that was exactly American, so American that (it) could be used as a (country n' western song) (to accurately convey) the taste  of that haiku  "Old pond/a frog jumps in/kerplunk" - That could be, actually, just ordinary country speech.. totally ordinary mind..ordinary speech..southern American thought, identical enough that you could really make a refrain out of it in (a) country 
'n western (mode). There's a sort of funky taste about that haiku, which brings it back home (as in country n' western). It's so ordinary that it's subtle… that is, (it is) the embodiment of the tri-partite thought-form.. (thoughts) unborn, leaving their ripples behind in the mind (thought), and, at the same time, a sort of country farmer's humor about it. That is, it's so ordinary it isn't anything at all. But eternity is so ordinary it isn't anything at all.  Just "kerplunk" - no meaning at all. 

Some significant variants and several extra verses  in the published version:    

The old pond - a frog jumps in, kerplunk!
Hard road! I walked till both feet stunk -
Ma!Ma! Whatcha doing down on that bed?
Pa! Pa! what hole you hide in your head?

Left home    got work down town today
Sold coke     got busted looking gay
Day dream,  I acted like a clunk
Th' old pond - a frog jumps in, kerplunk!

Got hitched, I brought a frying pan
Fried eggs, my wife eats like a man
Won't cook, her oatmeal tastes like funk
Th' old pond - a frog jumps in, kerplunk!

Eat shit            exactly what she said
Drink wine     it goes right down my head
Fucked up       they all yelled I was drunk 
Th' old pond - a frog jumps in, kerplunk!

Saw God    at six o'clock tonight
Flp house  I think I'll start a fight
Head ache  like both my eyeballs shrunk
Th' old pond - a frog jumps in, kerplunk!

Hot dog!  I love my mustard hot
Hey Rube! I think I just got shot
Drop dead  She said you want some junk?
Th' old pond - a frog jumps in, kerplunk!

Oh ho    your dirty needle stinks
No, no I don't shoot up with finks
Speed greed I stood there with the punk
Th' old pond - a frog jumps in, kerplunk!

Yeh, yeh,    gimme a breath of fresh air
Guess who    I am well you don't care
No name     call up the mocking Monk
Th' old pond - a frog jumps in, kerplunk! 

No echo, made a lot of noise
Come home     you owe it to the boys
Can't hear    you sceam your fish's stunk
Th' old pond - a frog jumps in, kerplunk! 

Just folks, we bought a motor car
No gas   I guess we crossed the bar
I swear we started for Podunk
Th' old pond - a frog jumps in, kerplunk! 

I get his banjo on my knee
I played it like an old  Sweetie
I sang plunk-a-plunk-a-plunk, plunk plunk plunk
Th' old pond - a frog jumps in, kerplunk! 

One hand  I gave myself the clap
Unborn     but still I took the rap 
Big deal, I fell out of my bunk
Th' old pond - a frog jumps in, kerplunk! 

Hey hey!   I ride down the blue sky
Sit down with worms until I die
Fare well Hum  Hum Hum Hum Hum Hum Hum!
Th' old pond - a frog jumps in, kerplunk! 

Red barn   rise wet in morning dew
Cockadoo  dle do oink oink moo moo
Buzz buss - flyswatter in the kitchen , thwunk!
Th' old pond - a frog jumps in, kerplunk! 


and for three recorded versions:

listen   here and  here - and here 


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