Summer 2012 Showcase

In European folklore and fairy tales a princess kisses a frog and he turns into a handsome prince. Perhaps if she had been a Japanese princess, she would have heard the splash of a frog jumping into a pool and would have achieved satori. Who knows?

What I do know, however, is that one day a frog from Osaka met a frog from Kyoto on the highway between each other’s city. They fell into conversation and soon learned that each was travelling with the purpose of seeing what the outside world was like.

“It’s a pity we aren’t taller,” said the Osaka frog. “Otherwise we could get a glimpse of each other’s town from here – a preview, so to speak.”

“We could stand on our hind legs and hold onto each other,” said the Kyoto frog. “That might do the trick.”

So they each reared up and steadied themselves. However, they forgot that frogs’ eyes are on the top of their heads, so that each was now looking backwards.

“Why, Kyoto is just like Osaka!” said the Osaka frog. “How disappointing.”

“Osaka is exactly like Kyoto!” said the Kyoto frog. “What a wasted journey.”

So they parted company, each returning to his home. They each lived out a long life, believing that their home cities were identical. Their advice to many young frogs eager for adventure and travel was: “Don’t bother. Everywhere is like everywhere else. Stay home. All you need is here.”

I have no idea how many people have given us a version of Matsuo Bashō’s famous frog/pond/sound haiku. It is probably more famous worldwide than any of Shakespeare’s sonnets, than Shelley’s vast and trunkless Ozymandias, or than Wordsworth’s host of golden daffodils. I do know that I love the version by beat poet Allen Ginsberg:

The old pond
A frog jumped in,

My most heartfelt thanks to everyone who has submitted so far. Everything has been kept, nothing has been wasted. Offerings in this Showcase include many which take the frog’s leap into the pond as their own leaping-off point. Some are from familiar haijin, others are new to the zen space. Enjoy.

Marie Marshall
the zen space


Jon Baldwin

pond’s edge
frog sized tide

an outstretched frog
walks on water

rain fat pond
the sudden turn
of a tadpole

by one ripple
the old pond

act one
scene – pond, frog
Basho: ah!

now or never
the anthologised frog
aims for the moon


Phil Madden

a new dream.
The horses
have waited.

she spoke as owl.
A wilderness
crying in her voice.

A deep furrow
appeared on her brow.
She ploughed on.

The little one
says the window has chickenpox.


Helen Buckingham

old pond
frog jumping into
water laphss!


Angie Werren

traffic jam
the sound of no
frog jumping

this path
somewhere the sound
of water

morning fog
I’m startled by the splash
of frogs






Johannes S H Bjerg

dark bar
a drunk gets up too quickly
(you know how it is)
floor’s sound

by Round-Up Lake
boneless frogs drip

world of glass
I’m basically a sound
(wearing mittens)

a mercury kind of silence
the ssri ghost laughs
with frozen lips

waving branches
most of the time I’m aware of
where my hands are

trying to fit in
I squeeze my eyes
(between to fingers, each) to see
frogs instead of cars


Rick Daddario

already the sound
of summer


Asni Amin

a poet and an old pond
at the edge of enlightenment
waiting for a frog

frog dance
he slipped and fell into the pond
the rest is history

the frog hesitated
to jump or not to jump
that is the question

the master awaits
frog and water become one
a moment of zen


T A Smith

kids pool empty
one green patch in the whole yard

near our pond
hammock sways as I listen for frogs

new pond filled
surface ripples at one end
bullfrog rumbles

full of thoughts of leaving
another woodpecker knocks

along ponds edge
glissando splashes
cat silent stalker

frog and I
how long will we stare
still still water


Roy Guzmán

Sketches of a Mother

Dry from a shower
Apply foundation with care
I stand there, observe

Mashes refried beans
Leaves us home for tortillas
I finish dinner

Enemy enters
I lie with a high fever
Mother takes the knife

Peeks out the window
She stays single with a mound
Overcasts the sun

On Friday, payday
Walk the mall with no penny
Later scrub her feet

Dragon eggs hatching
Wraps herself onto water
Blurs over fire

Three of us dining
A cake for her many roles
Grant her a grand toast!

Cara Holman

F walking O through G

(First published in Frogpond 35:1 Winter 2012)


Martin Cohen

noon repentance
a bread loaf in the river

(On Rosh Hashanah, some Jews may follow a custom called tashlich – ‘casting off’ – where they walk to a river or stream, recite several prayers, reflect upon their sins over the past year, and symbolically cast them off by throwing their sins into the water usually by throwing pieces of bread into the stream.)

near the sewer
the river darkens
school of fish

passing day
a barge rubs against the dock

tugboat horn
the smell of coal dust
in the night

project playground
the sound of steel wool
follows the sparks

pampas grass
silence follows
the night train


Translations by Alex Fyffe, by kind permission of the writers:


Brightly, vividly
March bears fruit
Within the clouds

Iida Ryuuta


On a night in June
Tearing its way through my home
A golden horse

Kaneko Minako


The landscape of the body
Circled by a falcon

Kawana Tsugio


A parent and child
make each other laugh
with all their hearts
cutting paper Christ

Murai Kazuichi


I work
in the church wiping off
the cold chairs

Tanaka Hiroaki


Keith Gray


The third issue of A Hundred Gourds: a quarterly journal of haiku, haibun, haiga, tanka and renku poetry is now online.


The next Showcase at the zen space will be Autumn 2012 which will be released, subject to karma, on 1st September 2012. Please note the copyright of all written work and images used in this showcase and elsewhere in the zen space is held by the creating artist/author or by the zen space, even where not explicitly stated, and may not be used elsewhere without permission. Ukiyoe prints used in the Summer Showcase, however, are all in public domain.


18 thoughts on “Summer 2012 Showcase

  1. […] words HomeexperienceAutumn 2011 showcaseWinter 2012 showcaseSpring 2012 ShowcaseSummer 2012 Showcasesubmissionencouragementessencepurpose Jun 01 2012 Leave a comment By the zen space […]

  2. Beautiful! Congratulations Marie, and all the contributors!

  3. Paul Leroux says:

    I especially like how Asni Amin skilfully weaves zen into the frog story.

  4. Alex Fyffe says:

    Excellent layout. The frogs are all outstanding. Thank you for maintaining this little space in the Web and for allowing me to be a small part of it.

  5. A Walk In My Heart says:

    Thank you Marie for including mine in the Summer 2012 Showcase and congratulations to the rest of the haijins.

  6. […] FOG eyeku appears today in The Zen Space Summer 2012 Showcase, along with other fine work by both new (to me) and familiar haiku poets. Sit back and enjoy! Like […]

  7. […] post to let you know that summer haiku, with lots of splashing, are going on at the zen space, hosted by Marie Marshall.  You’ll find art, poetry and fun.  Please hop over and splash […]

  8. Yousei Hime says:

    Thank you so much for the invitation. I loved reading through everything, and the art just added sparkle. May your summer be filled with zen and splashes.

  9. The old pond,
    A frog jumps in:

    Alan Watts, translation

    My favorite variation is Alan Watts’s instantaneous “plop” because I will never be able to pry apart the frog and that old pond – they are one. I’d like to add another for which I have a fondness – a collaboration by writer and translator Jan Walls and myself, and the colophon for my blog, word pond —

    A frog looks around
    leaps into ancient waters
    word pond

    Thanks for this far-ranging showcase!

  10. […] Heart I’m happy to share that four of my Basho’s frog haiku have been included in the Summer 2012 Showcase, hosted by Marie Marshall and published by The Zen […]

  11. philmadden says:

    This pond is a peaceful, lively and who knows what sort of adventures place to be swimming

  12. […] Zen Space has published the Summer 2012 Showcase – haiku and haiga from around the planet. The theme is centered around “Matsuo […]

  13. […] week I had the honor of having a poem of mine, “Sketches of a Mother,” published on The Zen Space. If you haven’t had a chance to check this blog out, by all means give yourself the pleasure […]

  14. Rosemerry says:

    wonderful, Marie, thanks for the invite to visit here. How fun to see what other haiku folk are doing. I particularly like Rick’s crow here. And what a wonderful site to explore–I really appreciate the conversations you are facilitating, the energy you have for bringing people together.

  15. […] This second haiku is just for fun.  Basho’s frog is still with me.  😉  You can read more about this frog at the Summer 2012 Showcase. […]

  16. angie werren says:

    thank you, marie, for a wonderful compilation. I plan to revisit this page often just to absorb it all. 🙂

  17. Keith Gray says:

    Thanks Marie for everything that you do. It’s a great website.

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