Emerson and nature philosopher Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) were both Transcendentalists and big mates in Concord, Massachusetts in mid-19th century New England. I've written before about Thoreau here. There's a charming little book I possess, Morning Mist: Thoreau and Basho Through The Seasons, published by Weatherhill of New York, which points out the similarities in outlook between Thoreau and the 17th century Japanese haiku poet, Matsuo Basho. These are some extracts from it. I hope you enjoy.
My solitude shall be my company/ and my poverty, my wealth. Basho
I never found the companion that was as companionable as solitude... Give me the poverty that enjoys true wealth. Thoreau
A good house -/ sparrows delight in the millet/ behind the back door. Basho
Meanwhile also came the chickadees in flocks...to pick a dinner out of my woodpile or the crumbs at my door, with faint flitting notes, like the tinkling of icicles in the grass. Thoreau
At my hut/ all I can offer/ is that the mosquitoes are small. Basho
My dwelling was small, and I could hardly entertain an echo in it... flickering shadows may play at evening about the rafters. These forms are more agreeable to the fancy and imagination than fresco paintings or... the most expensive furniture. Thoreau
The bush warbler -/beyond the willow,/before the grove. Basho
I hear the bluebirds... the blue curls of their warblings thawing the torpid mass of winter - assisting the ice and snow to melt and the streams to flow. Thoreau
I am like a sick man tired of people, or someone weary of the world. What is there to say?... A morning glory/on the fence of my gate,/shut all day. Basho
I want to go soon and live away by the pond, where I shall hear only the wind whispering among the reeds. It will be success if I shall have left myself behind. But my friends ask what will I do when I get there. Will it not be employment enough to watch the progress of the seasons? Thoreau
"Employment enough to watch the progress of the seasons..." I could think of many worse occupations...