A banana plant in the autumn gale —
I listen to the dripping of rain
Into a basin at night.
– Matsuo Basho
Basho took his name from the Japanese word for “banana tree.” He was given a gift of a banana tree by a student and the poet immediately identified with it: the way the small tree stood there with its large, soft, fragile leaves.
So, in this haiku, when Basho writes of “A banana plant in the autumn gale” he is writing about himself, so open to everything amidst the harsh, swirling activity of the world around him.
Then the next two lines switch to an internal awareness, the quiet “dripping of rain.” Despite the torrent outside, Basho is in meditation, patiently observing the gathering of the raindrops “into a basin.”