Read Haiku by Matsuo Bashō Lucien Stryk Online


By combining the ideals of karumi - lightness of touch - and oneness with nature, Bashō (1644-94) rose above the artificiality of previous haiku poets to become the master of the genre in his time. His exquisite compositions reflect the influence of Zen Buddhism and a life spent travelling, and reveal him to be an inspired perfectionist who sought to express himself in theBy combining the ideals of karumi - lightness of touch - and oneness with nature, Bashō (1644-94) rose above the artificiality of previous haiku poets to become the master of the genre in his time. His exquisite compositions reflect the influence of Zen Buddhism and a life spent travelling, and reveal him to be an inspired perfectionist who sought to express himself in the purest possible form. These translations by Lucien Stryk are drawn from On Love and Barley, published in Penguin Classics....

Title : Haiku
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ISBN : 9780146001642
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 64 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Haiku Reviews

  • Dolors
    2019-04-21 23:32

    Never so much was so shrewdly condensed in so little. Seventeen sound units called "on" with the structure of five, seven, five units in three minimalistic verses, preferably without the active inertia that a verbal tense implies, is all it takes to compose a Haiku. Nouns, adjectives and adverbs are the tools to juggle juxtaposition, wordplay, riddle and ancient wisdom. Two opposed images are fleetingly sketched, like a shooting star that prickles a borrowed memory in the back of the reader's mind, presented in a compressed form of conflicting forces that coexist in an imperfect but solid balance. A light goes on, a small dot of blinding iridescence sparkles unevenly and the chirping of cicada, the splashing frog, the cawing crow are brought to life for a split of a second, only to be lost again to the deafening sound of an inanimate painting. Wait… Did that blade of grass dance, the branch pregnant with cherry blossoms creak? I listen to the steady pathway of sandals and stick performing a meticulous choreography of life experience distilled in metaphor, in visual aphorism. Basho believed the lightness of words could bear the burden of meaning. His poetry had to mirror the simplicity of his life, the serenity of his fears, the anxiety of his long journeys, both torment and regeneration. The wanderer in him defeated the foibled human and liberated the poet. The rigorous technique and the strict rules of the renga masters became obsolete for Basho's purpose to illustrate without interfering with the inherent essence of words. He wanted to elevate the poetic expression to the purest of artistic forms and so his influence is mostly absent in his creative output, infusing the haiku with the power to transfigure the particular into the universal, prompting interaction between poem and reader.He couldn’t imagine that a new school of poets would ensue from this vision and set the founding pillars of Japanese aesthetics.Take the poem below. One can detect Basho’s resolution to live a humble life devoid of material luxuries, although there is a tenuous shadow of dissatisfaction that reveals a man who still hasn’t found his place in the world:“flowers in this worldmy wine is whitemy rice is dark” 163Black and white present a visual contrast to the vivid image of flowers, which might imply the beginning of springtime, and in turn forebode the transitory buoyancy of the seasons. The crisscrossed colors used to describe basic ingredients of the Japanese diet imply their poor-quality and a lifestyle based on simplicity that is deeply attached to nature. And so the general statement of the first line is narrowed down to the ordinary traits of daily life and elevates it to the transcendental with its associative connotations.Or,“rippling wavesthe fragrance of windin their rhythm” 964This is a fine example of a haiku that distorts sensory perception. Is it the wind that we smell or the briny swell stirred by the sea breeze? Where is the cause-effect that would allow the reader to separate the waves from the wind, the fragrance from the rhythm? It is nowhere to be found because a cohesive force unites these words into an indivisible oneness that can’t be disassembled, and so sound, vision and smell are all scrambled up in a static snapshot of movement. The man who wrote these verses was fully immersed in poetry. He himself became poetry and the boundaries between creator and creation disappeared without sacrificing the magic spell of his talents, of his delicately chosen words.Words that still light up the night sky today like flaring, fluttering fireflies in the darkness.seasons in a journeyworn sandals and wordsinto the wild blue yonder******Note on the edition: This collection includes the complete haiku (1012 poems) by Basho, presented in seven sections that link the poet’s artistic development to the main biographical events that shaped his creative output.The supplementary material includes a detailed exposition on the haiku techniques and an incredibly well researched commentary with the original Japanese and a literal translation for each poem, which helps the reader to understand the wordplay and the “double entendre” that is ever present in the poems. Translating Japanese is a challenging, some might even say an impossible mission but I think Reichhold’s dedication and scholarship allows the reader to grasp Basho’s genius in its full splendor.

  • 7jane
    2019-05-09 02:37

    it had to beit had to be untilthe end of the yearHere's the book of all of Basho's haikus, which took 10 years for the translator to compile, and the quality shows well. The haikus are divided in seven development periods - with biographical sketches - from 1662 to 1664, and there are 1011 haikus to read. (Which is why it's a good idea to take it slow to read all of them - otherwise some numbness might set, which happened to me *oops*) Some haikus have short explanations attached to them, but may are more explained at the notes section at the back, with useful appendix stuff including haiku terms and Basho's biography in brief.winter confinementagain I'll lean onthis postSome poems are shown in 2-3 ways one can translate the text, or the poem has more than one version made. One or two are unfinished, the last line isn't there. Basho worked on rooting out pretentiousness and unnecessary earthy humor, and was a true perfectionist (which is why some haikus were worked on again and again). That said, he didn't really care much what his last haiku was - no real death poem from him - but really, what was there was well suited to be last; he was that good.clear cascadescattered on the wavesgreen pine needlesI have already read the "Narrow Road To Deep North" part (have it as a separate book). These haikus were so refreshing and simple, and with such great moods, even felt like I couldn't have enough of it. I could put so many haikus in this review that touched me. This is really one book that could be read while drinking some good tea...hurry up and bloomthe festival approacheschrysanthemum flowers

  • Burak
    2019-04-25 03:36

    Burada Oruç Aruboa'yı sadece çevirmen olarak anmak pek adil değil, zira -şiir çevirisinin de bizzat bir yeniden-yazma olması bir yana- burada başarılan çok daha büyük bir şey var. Eldeki kitap, öyle her dilde mümkün olmayan, her dili konuşan insanlara da nasip olmayacak bir derleme. Aruoba, hayli geniş bir yazından faydalanarak, ve kendi tecrübesini de aktararak, Haiku üzerine enfes bir giriş ile başlıyor. Ardından da Başo ve öğrencilerine geçiyoruz, ve seçilmiş Haiku'ları Japonca asılları ve ilgili açıklamalarıyla buluyoruz. Seçki enfes, Haiku'lar enfes, ve işte elime her aldığımda "aman Allahım" dedirten, enfes mi enfes bir kitap.Haiku, -her ne kadar çok yerde kendi kurallarından sıyrılmış, başını almış yürümüş olsa da- temelinde bir doğayla ilişki kurma, doğayla özdeşleşme biçimi. Temel kaynağını, materyalini de doğrudan doğadan alıyor; doğada gözlemlenen, ve şairin (Haijin'in) kendisini özdeşleştirdiği bir anı, dil aracılığı ile "resimlemesine" dayalı. Bunu yapmak için de, örneğin bir geyik Haiku'su kurmak için, "geyiğe gitmeyi" öneriyor Başo, hakiki Haiku böylesine bir birinci elden gözlem ve tecrübe istiyor. Ya da şöyle söyleyeyim: Bu şekilde bir tecrübe ile "gelen" Haiku gerçekten de bambaşka oluyor.Ağaçkakanhep aynı yeri gagalıyorkısalıyor gün(İssa)Kendiliğinden açılan bir minimalizm, onyedi heceye sıkışmış ufacık bir şiirden, en nihayetinde "patlayan, fışkıran" anlam açılımları, yavaşlayan ve yavaşlatan, zamanı askıya alan bir "zen" hali kulağınıza hoş geliyor ise, Haiku tam size göredir. Esirgemez kokusunudalını kırandan yaerik çiçeği(Çiyo-ni)Bu kitabın her dilde mümkün olmamasına gelince. Öncelikle her ülkenin, her dilin, böyle bir kitabı bu denli özenle hazırlayacak bir Oruç Aruoba'sı yok, bu bir. İkincisi ise Türkçe'nin yapısı ve Japonca ile benzerliği, Haiku'yu Türkçe'de özellikle mümkün kılıyor, örneğin Haiku'daki kesme sözcüklerinin (kireji, yani dilimizdeki -ya, -ha, şu-, -hadi gibi sözcükler) birebir olmasalar dahi karşılıkları Türkçe'de mevcut. Türkçe'nin hece yapısı da Haiku'nun ritmine, örneğin batı dillerine kıyasla çok daha uygun. Sindire sindire tecrübe edebiliyor Türkçe Haiku'yu. Hadi salyangozyavaş yavaş tırmanFuji Dağı'na(İssa)Kitap bana armağan olarak gelmişti, sonra aynı kitap kendi kendisini başka bir dostuma armağan etti. Ben de öyle sanıyorum ki Metis'in elindeki son kopyayı almış olabilirim. Bulmak çok zor, ama yeni baskısının hazırlanmakta olduğu da söyleniyor. Hadi inşallah.

  • Nuno Simões
    2019-04-30 01:10

    'cuidado com os trevoseles podem ocultaralgum cão selvagem!'

  • Squire
    2019-04-29 01:27

    A stunningly researched and immaculately presented compilation of the the complete surviving poems of Matsuo Basho (1644-1694). It contains 1012 haiku divided into seven chapters with accompanying introductory texts; a section of notes on the intracasies of each poem and the problems of translation; a section on the techniques Basho uses; and a glossary of Japanese terms used.This book initially posed a problem for me: how to read it so I could get the most out of the book. I'm a slow reader to begin with and didn't want to spend a month on this book as I did with The Tale of Genji. I eventually settled on reading it this way: I started with "Appendix 1: Haiku Techniques," then read the "Introduction." With each haiku, I flipped back to the "Notes" to read the note on that poem. It was daunting at first, going back and forth 2024 times, but soon became second nature and I'm glad I read it that way. Like Genji, this book, at the very least, provides the reader with a great cultural experience when the notes are read along with the text. To be fair, though, this book is probably best digested over a lifetime rather than a week.I remember being taught about haiku in grade school: a 3-line, 17-syllable poem in a 5-7-5 sound scheme that presents an image in the first two lines that is followed by a non-sequitur in the third line. Not very sophisticated, but simplistic enough for a 5th grader to grasp the concept. At 51, I don't recall the various attempts I made at writing haiku for my homework assignment, but I do recall that the haiku in my school reader was about a frog jumping into a pond.Reading this volume, I think it probably was this:"old ponda frog jumps intothe sound of water"While this doesn't follow the 5-7-5 sound scheme in translation, the Japanese original does: "furu ike ya / kawaku tobikomu / mizu no oto" and it was probably fleshed out to make it fit into a 5-7-5 scheme.Turns out, one of Matsuo Basho's.Basho is one of Japan's most revered literary figures. (He has been deified by both the Shinto and Imperial religions.) He started out as a low-ranking samurai serving a feudal lord and publishing poems in anthologies; after leaving the lord's service, he continued publishing poems to gain prestige and status until he gathered enough pupils (who would provide food and shelter for him) to devote his life completely to writing. While he was never a monk, Basho spent most of his life living in poverty (the state most conducive to becoming one with his art) and travelling as one across the whole of Japan (joined by various pupils--who were responsible for most of Basho's output surviving to the present day as Basho only published one small book of poetry in his lifetime). The poetry of Matsuo Basho is breathtaking in ts scope and startling in its intimacy. Each captures a single fleeting moment in time, listening to a cuckoo in the early morning hours outside a shrine or eating a bowl of jelly noodles with a friend. In fact, nearly half of the 1012 haiku in this book have a preceding note to them on the occasion of their writing. The least of his poems reveal a rigorous craftsmanship as he continually revises poems in search of the right word; the best of them border on divine revelation as the reader is given a glimpse of the essence of his image.If I had to choose a single one poem in this volume to sum up this my thoughts and feelings about this extraordinary book, it would be this:"this pinesprouted in the age of the godsnow in autumn"Am I in the autumn of my life? Do I pine for my younger days? Even if the answer to both are no, the works of Matsuo Basho sprouted from an age when gods really did walk the earth and his legacy is still as solid as the mighty pine. Would it add anything to know that the preface of this poem reads "Before the Shrine"?I've already started rereading this book, but I expect this second reading will probably last the rest of my life.

  • Jacob
    2019-05-07 04:32

    Excellent book of poetry. The translator did a great job of interspersing the poems with biographical sketches that did not go down lengthy tangents into her own thoughts on the writer's life and his work. These sketches were succinct and enhanced this collection of Haiku by Basho. Some of my favorites:snowy morningall alone I chewdried salmonearly autumnthe sea and rice fieldsone greendeep-rooted leekswhen finished washingthe coldnesswinter mumscovered with rice flouredge of the grinderIf you have never enjoyed the subtlety and craft of Haiku before then this would be an excellent collection to start with. If you have read Basho compilations before you will likely find a smattering of new pieces you haven't seen before (the translator claims this is the first complete volume of his Haiku), making it is still definitely worth the read.Basho is truly the master, and Reinhold, like a good Haiku writer, removed herself from the subject as much as possible, putting together a fine work. A solid five stars.

  • Harsh
    2019-05-10 01:22

    "A poet's job is to look as things, not at things."

  • Jeff
    2019-05-15 23:24

    A great way for the non-Japanese speaker to begin to appreciate the depth and subtlety of Basho's work. The scholarship is an accessible view into the man, his time, and the culture in which he worked. The notes are an excellent explanatory source and the alternate translations helped me get an idea of the subtle nuances Basho is working with. An enjoyable book one can dip into and come back to again and again.

  • Cloud
    2019-05-11 21:37

    "ah as brisas de outono! -dorme ao ar livre e compreenderás o meu poema"

  • Don Wentworth
    2019-05-19 02:20

    I'm happy to say that Basho: The Complete Haiku is everything one would anticipate and more. For the dedicated reader and fan of Basho, it's all here: 1011 haiku, the complete output of a relatively taciturn haiku master (in comparison, Issa wrote over 20,000 haiku), all with accompanying notes, from a few words to paragraph length explications. The presentation method is chronological, as it should be, and divided up into 7 phases (as opposed to the standard 5 phases: see Makoto Ueda's Matsuo Basho) and each section is preceded by biographical info important to the given period. I found this method extremely helpful. To have presented the entire biography in the forward matter would have removed an immediacy that deepens understanding and necessitated much flipping back and forth. The appendices and back matter are a real bonus, including sections on haiku techniques, a chronology of Basho's life, a glossary of literary terms and a selected, succinct bibliography. For biographical detail, Reichhold seems to lean heavily on Makoto Ueda's seminal biography (which I'm reading now - ok, so the push isn't entirely over) but that's to be expected.Down to the crux, however: the poems themselves. These translations veer away from the often disasterous academic all-inclusive approach. The translations are unique, lyrical, and eminently readable without dumbing down for the English reader. In general, there is a stripped down, less is more approach, somewhat reminiscent of the translation work of Lucien Styrk and Robert Hass. One thing this collection solidified for me, the non-academic reader as opposed to Japanese literary scholar, is how much I don't know and never really will about the original intent of what I feel to be a majority of these poems (and by extension, any translations from any of the haiku masters, including beloved Issa). The notes of both this Reichhold edition and of the Landis Barnhill edition I reviewed previously are what really brought this important point home and made me think long and hard about myself as reader.The conclusion I've drawn from all this "thunking" is simply that the poems that connect, the ones that get through to a novice like myself, are those that have a universal appeal that transcends translation, technique, and cultural idiosyncrasies. I'm talking the spirit of haiku here and perhaps the universal impetus to write haiku in the first place. A speaking to the human condition, who we are, and what we do (oh, Gauguin, bless you for your question mark). But wait, aren't haiku supposed to be objective not subjective, speaking to nature and leaving out the personal? Well, yes, this transcendent spirit I'm speaking of includes that and more. This concentration on nature is the where of the who and what we do: our place in the world, who we are being defined by what we are.Ah, but enough of my personal revelation. On to the poems or, to paraphrase the incandescently beautiful Joe Strummer, how about some music now, eh?Of the 1000 plus haiku, I marked 45 or so that grabbed me, held me down, and said, ok, what (or, more precisely, how) do you think now? Previously, I'd selected 35 for further review from the 700 plus Barnhill Landis edition, so the proportion is consistent, realizing that he was being selective (i.e. picking the best). The Reichhold edition confirms for me that the later work was the finest, Basho getting better and better with time. Here are a few of those 45. When possible, I've tried to select haiku not highlighted in previous postings from other editions in order to give a fuller portrait of the poet.-------------------------------------------------------------------------------autumn nightdashed into bitsin conversationpine and cedarto admire the windsmell the soundpine windneedles falling on the water'scool soundalready bentthe bamboo waits for snowwhat a sightglistening dewnot spilling from bush cloverstill it swaysa morning glorythis also is notmy frienda traveler's heartit also should look likechinquapin flowersleave asideliterary talentstree peonyyear after yearthe cherry tree nourished byfallen blossomspath of the sunthe hollyhock leans intoearly summer rain

  • Joe Cummings
    2019-05-05 01:27

    reading Basho’s poemslearning on a summer’s dayI ‘m a poor haijinThe 2008 collection Basho: The Complete Haiku by Matsuo Basho is translated by Jane Reichhold with an introduction, biography and notes. This is an excellent introduction to traditional Japanese haiku. Basho (1644-1694), after all, was an early practitioner and developer of this unique poetic art form; he set many of the standards for this type of poetry that are still practiced today.Reichhold, a honored haijin (i.e. haiku writer) in her own right, has gathered all of Basho’s haiku under one cover. Surprisingly there are only 1012. After an interesting introduction, the haiku are presented in chapters that describe seven different stages or passages of the poet’s life.Then the verses are examined again in Notes where each haiku is shown in Japanese, Romanized Japanese for the sound counters, and in English. Each poem has the year it was written and to which season it belongs along with expository notes to explain the subtlety of the verse in terms of history, symbols and the Japanese language. Reichhold also provides a descriptive list of 33 haiku techniques to help the reader to better appreciate the art form as well as other useful back matter. This is an excellent book that I would add to my personal library.

  • Daniel Silveyra
    2019-05-14 22:25

    I am not a poetry or a haiku buff.Frankly, there are a lot of uninteresting poems in the book. Lots of cherry blossoms and lots of snow.But when they work, they _work_. My ratio is about one memorable poem for every 20 or so. Since there are 1,011 poems in the book, thats really not bad at all. Really, what one reads is the translator. I've yet to compare two different translators' renditions, but from what I've read online of Basho's this book is pretty solid. Moreover, the translator is judicious and gives very detailed notes of each translation. Each poem's first line is indexed, which is helpful as they seldom have titles.The biography and discussion are well written and to-the-point. Also of note is that the book offers the complete works of Basho, not an anthology.

  • John Solder
    2019-04-27 03:32

    The kind of book you can keep reading forever. Great layout and intro to each "chapter" gives you a wonderful view into the poetic genius and life of Basho. Also has a nice section with original Japanese and direct translations.

  • Weinz
    2019-05-21 01:11

    I read this book while sitting on a rock surrounded by gardens at a Buddhist temple with someone dear.

  • Nastaliq
    2019-04-24 22:20

    A perfect antidote for modern complexity. Think simply and beautifully, the author would say. A whole world in 3 lines.

  • Michaeline Franson
    2019-05-16 21:37

    Beautiful. My favorite poetry.

  • Jacobmartin
    2019-04-25 04:24

    "Good old Basho!" - James Bond, You Only Live Twice by Ian FlemingWith these words I was introduced via unconventional methods to this haiku master. Ian Fleming may have been a sexist and a racist - but his appreciation of the finer things in a less than refined atmosphere must be acknowledged.Basho's haiku defined generations of Japanese haiku poetry - even earning him the status of a sort of haiku god or Kami as the Japanese call him. The poetry of haiku is very pared down expressions of nature in a set structure that is able to invoke the strongest of mental images from so little, that the power of haiku as an artform is underestimated.Haiku appears in Western poetry and literature from everywhere from the James Bond books by Ian Fleming, to the Beat Generation poets, and even to stuff that's more contemporary like Zombie Haiku and Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club where the nameless narrator makes what's meant to be calming poems of nature into passive aggressive fury at society.All this we wouldn't have without Basho - the much argued master of haiku who spent many years revising the haiku and travel journals he created as he lived a kind of monk lifestyle even though he was not ordained. He traveled in perilous times, but his tenacity to experience the nature Japanese society would later lose hold of is heartwarming when we now live in urbanised cities trying to shut nature away.Highly recommended.

  • Alan
    2019-05-20 04:33

    A remarkably well assembled book. Haiku is so difficult to translate because of the slippery/polysemic nature of the Japanese, but on the whole the translations are nice. Good autobiographical notes at appropriate times, without interrupting the poetry.The complete index in the back with Japanese and literal translations, along with explanatory notes is so valuable. There are a few notable grammatical errors that send the translations off, but not too many. The first-line index is nice, but it is based on her English translation, which makes finding something difficult if you're memory is someone else's translation (or your own). A Japanese first-line index would have made this work complete.

  • Philip Fracassi
    2019-05-02 03:10

    As far as I know this is the only complete volume of Basho's Haikus.Although some Haiku themes can be a bit repetitive, they are so quick that you can easily move on if you feel he's - ahem - stuck on a theme. But overall it's a gorgeous, wonderful, inspiring book of wit, imagination, love, tenderness, peace, and just enough sorrow and loss to make you feel like you've truly seen the world through Basho's eyes once completed.A wonderful, breathtaking journey that will make you want to write your own Haikus, read more great Haiku masters, and learn more about the great life of the unbelievable poet, thinker, philosopher and, ultimately, rationalist.

  • Dale
    2019-05-13 00:36

    I'm giving this book props for the tremendous scholarship that went into it. But unless you are really passionate about haiku you are unlikely to get much from this collection. For one thing, haiku have a sort of necessary immediacy about them and as such they exist in a cultural context that is very specific. Many, I would say most, of the haiku in this collection simply don't survive the transition from 17th century literary Japan to 21st century America. It may simply be that the translations could be better - I have no way of judging that. In any case, I found myself skimming the pages and by the end I was very glad to put the book down.

  • Pandasurya
    2019-04-26 00:20

    halfway to Kyotoin the middle of the skyclouds of snow(p. 99)a butterfly fliesonly in the filedof sunshine (p. 85)Star Festivalautumn has set infirst of the nights (p.225)the narrow laneof wrestler’s grassdew on flowers (p. 224)did you seeon the seventh-day ceremony over your gravethe crescent moon (p. 203)already bentthe bamboo waits for snowwhat a sight (p. 218)human voicesreturning on this roadautumn’s departure (p. 230)still I want to seea flower in first lighta god’s face (p. 109)

  • k
    2019-05-11 04:23

    A nice book to come back to every once in a while, read a few of the haikus, and put it aside. Some of the poems are really special, some are more mundane, it helps to be patient and think about each poem after reading it. The notes were sometimes really helpful, sometimes didn't explain what seemed obviously in need of explaining, and were in any case a pain to keep flipping between (why not include the translated haiku text in the note??).

  • M
    2019-04-24 02:29

    Basho: The Complete Haiku is one of the greatest book on Poetry. Two hundred pages of researched notes, a glossary and explanation of Basho's haiku techniques.Basho is among the essential works of japanese literature.

  • Angela Randall
    2019-05-10 03:23

    Found this book on a list of 20 essential works of Japanese literature. Made this list in Goodreads here.

  • Samantha Bee
    2019-04-26 02:38

    Glad I ended up with this edition of Basho's haiku, which really only take up half of the book. There are also some short sections of biography—which I thought were just the right length and provided a good break between the haiku—and a very long section at the back with each poem in Japanese, a direct translation, and further explanation about the poem. A very thorough and complete edition.

  • Kalima
    2019-05-02 20:36

    Amazing work of collecting all of Basho's work. Excellent notes and organization with biographical material. Beautiful visually. The translations however did not appeal to me as much as translations by Robert Hass.

  • Sunny
    2019-05-08 02:38

    Some cute little 3 line 17 syllable (supposed to be anyway) pieces of poetry. amazing what you can portray in 3 lines. favourite one is the one about the chinese philosopher and the butterfly.

  • Lindsay Goto
    2019-04-24 00:30

    Gorgeously put together, I think this might be my favourite anthology of poetry.

  • Jeff Streeby
    2019-04-26 01:21

    Good translations. Informed commentary.

  • Garrett
    2019-04-27 04:17

    I wanted to be clever and write my review in haiku form, but thought better of it. Very good book - I've wanted to learn more about Basho for a long time and this fit the bill.