Matsuo Basho (1644-94) was the greatest of the Japanese haiku poets. The vitality and flexibility his genius gave to the strict 17-syllable form brought haiku to a level of immaculate perfection. In later life Basho turned to Zen Buddhism, and the travel sketches in this volume reflect his attempts to cast off earthly attachments and reach out to spiritual fulfilment. The sketches are written in the haibun style - a linking of verse and prose. The title piece, in particular, reveals Basho striving to discover a vision of eternity in the transient world around him and in his personal evocation of the mysteries of the universe.