Anton Ansford


Seasons out of joint

at my window
hundreds of frogs
break the silence

my only visitor
a tiny frog

home from the cold
a hot bath
and terrible singing

late autumn
but early for me

news from home
an iceberg
unwelcome visitor


Rice-field dreaming

The sun shines on the stripped boards
Of the newly cleaned apartment

In the light of the danjiri
The noh actor’s real face
Is revealed
A mask

Amid the sound of ancient poems
Drowsy from sake
Another struck down by the season’s cruelty

Winter hot-spring
The monk’s words
If you breathe slowly and deeply your
Stress will disappear-perhaps

The warrior’s helm
Has a name longer than his own-
What a burden

No vegetables this time
Only crab-flesh
Stripped of its rusty case

Summer rain
The crab failing to attract its mate
Waves at me

The fish run from theÅ@summer rain
They don’t like water

Taking a rest
From the summer storm
In the house of
The sanshin players

The monkey and the rabbit
Never complain
Of lacking
An umbrella

Pictures of the poet
Hat cane and robe
All the same
But each time the face is different

How many steps
Did those sandals walk
Now resting in their first home

How easy for us
To travel the roads that Basho struggled through
How difficult to achieve solitude

Lonely together
Tired from the heat
A lizards cry
The only sound

Cool early spring
I share my lunch with greedy pigeons

Stray cats and hoboes
Know the best places
To avoid the summer heat



Anton Ansford was born in Wellington. He graduated with an MA in Ancient History from Auckland University, and has taught English and Ancient History in New Zealand and Japan. He loves travelling and absorbing different cultures.