Matsuo Bashō

From The Narrow Road to the Deep North

…After arranging to stay with the priests at the foot of the mountain, I climbed to the temple situated near the summit. The whole mountain was made of massive rocks thrown together, and covered with age-old pines and oaks. The stony ground itself bore the colour of eternity, paved with velvety moss. The doors of the shrines built on the rocks were firmly barred and there was not a sound to be heard. As I moved on all fours from rock to rock, bowing reverently at each shrine, I felt the purifying power of this holy environment pervading my whole being.

In the utter silence
Of a temple,
A cicada’s voice alone
Penetrates the rocks.

Quotation from Matsuo Bashō, The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches (digital edition), ed. and trans. Nobuyuki Yuasa (London, UK: Penguin Random House, 2020). ISBN: 978-0-1419136-5-0.