Basho lived in Fukagawa, on the other bank of the River Sumida. In those times, when Fukagawa was in the rural outskirts of the city, he could probably see the roof of the great Kannon temple from his home. Not far from Asakusa was another temple complex, Kaneiji, in what is now Ueno Park. Kaneiji also possessed a Bell of Time, now standing in a forlorn corner of the park.
Basho could hear both temple bells. Sitting on the verandah of his house, among the blossoms of spring, he heard the boom of a bell... and wondered: was it the one of Kaneiji in Ueno or of the Kannon temple in Asakusa?
Basho was so visually drunk with the rioting blossoms that even his sense of direction became confused...
[Temple Bell of Sensoji Temple, Asakusa]
cloud of blossoms
is that the bell
from Ueno or Asakusa?
hana no kumo | kane wa Ueno ka | Asakusa ka