Would a haiku by another name still have seventeen syllables?

I am a syllable-counter. For me, the exercise of summarizing my thoughts into blocks of exactly seventeen syllables is good discipline. It's not about pretty words all the time, it's about being concise with details.

So for tonight, since my brain is all tangled while I wait an extra day to hear ANYTHING from the bank (because tomorrow is a holiday!), here are some translations of my favorite haiku. The poem was written by Basho, the great 17th century wandering poet. His original, 17-syllable poem is this:
Michi nobe no mukuge wa uma ni kuware keri

Unfortunately, I don't speak Japanese, so I depend on translators to assist me However, translating poetry, especially haiku, appears to be one of the most difficult of human endeavors, akin to rocket surgery and cat herding.

Therefore, I'm including several different translations of th poem.

Along the roadside
blossoming wild roses
in my horse's mouth

The farmer's roadside
hedge provided lunch for
my tired horse

Roses grow
in a hedge beside the road
my horse eats them.

Mallow flower
by the side of the road
devoured by my horse

Each of these translations delights me, mostly, I think, because Basho's life was a lot like mine: full of poetic and contemplative landscapes which are frequently trompled by my hungry horse.


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