That day a dark, vermillion, winter sky,
like a Turner water-colour, was seen
reflected in an old pond where, nearby,
the poet Basho watched a small, unclean
and speckled frog jump in the evening air
and meet the water with a gentle plop,
an almost soundless splash, a plash near where
the other sounds of twilight seemed to stop
as Basho, without writing, memorised
that gentle movement and, with a wry smile,
acknowledged to himself he had devised
a way to turn a frog into a style.


Poet’s note:
So: this is my version of Basho’s frog.
Go: post your comments on my briefpoems blog.



Conor Kelly was born in Dublin and spent his adult life teaching in a school in the Dublin suburbs. He now lives in a rural area of West Clare in Ireland from where he manages his twitter site, @poemtoday, dedicated to the short poem. He has had poems printed in Irish, British, American and Mexican magazines. He was shortlisted for a Hennessy New Irish Writers award.

NOTE: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here.

6 Responses

  1. Joe Tessitore

    A wonderfully evocative poem about the origins of a wonderful form.

  2. Leo Zoutewelle

    Conor, I agree with Joe.
    Joe, you so frequently write my thoughts, before I thought of them. Way to go! 🙂

  3. Joseph S. Salemi

    The original haiku can be seen at Conor Kelly’s website and blog, along with many English renderings of the poem.

  4. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    I like this clever and quirky execution of the sonnet form, and I really like the images created in this thoroughly engaging poem, especially the ‘dark, vermillion, winter sky, // like a Turner water-colour’. I’m a fan of Turner and nature, so this image is a real treat for me. I’ve also learned a new word – the delicious onomatopoeic “plash”. You’ve used it to great effect in internal rhyme, and I’ve simply got to steal it for a future poem. Thank you for my afternoon smile.

  5. Margaret Coats

    Your page on Basho’s Frog is a wealth of information on this most celebrated haiku. I’ll say thanks with a brief poem I think you’ll like, from Lady Margaret Sackville. The title is “Gratias”

    A shop fresh painted; tulips; a gay toy;
    Sun-gilded roofs; balloons; a smiling face;
    Pigeons–all these, the petty cash of joy,
    Are things for which my thankful soul says grace.


Leave a Reply to Mike Bryant Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.