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Zen Death Haiku

Zen Death Haiku Brittle cicada shell, little did I know you were my life! —Shuho, translation by Michael R. Burch Returning as it came, this naked worm. —Shidoken, translation by Michael R. Burch As dew glistens on a lotus leaf, so too I soon must vanish. —Shinsui, translation by Michael R. Burch To prepare for my voyage beyond, let me don a gown of flowers. —Setsudo, translation by Michael R. Burch Having been summoned, I say farewell to my house beneath the moon. —Takuchi, trans. Michael R. Burch Bury me beneath a wine barrel in a bibber’s cellar: with a little luck the keg will leak. —Moriya Senan, trans. Michael R. Burch Learn to accept the inevitable: the fall willow knows when to abandon its leaves. —Tanehiko, trans. Michael R. Burch Since time dawned only the dead have experienced peace; life is snow burning in the sun. —Nandai, trans. Michael R. Burch Bitter winter winds but later, river willow, remember to reopen your buds! —Senryu, trans. Michael R. Burch Let this body be dew in a field of wildflowers —Tembo, trans. Michael R. Burch A willow branch unable to reach the water at the bottom of the vase —Shigenobu, trans. Michael R. Burch The night is clear; the moon shines quietly; the wind strums the trees like lyres... but when I’m gone, who the hell will hear? Farewell! —Higan Choro aka Zoso Royo, translation by Michael R. Burch I entered the world empty-handed and now leave it barefoot. My coming & going? Two uncomplicated events that became entangled. —Kozan Ichikyo, translation by Michael R. Burch All evening the softest sound— the cadence of the white camellia petals falling —Ranko Takakuwa, trans. Michael R. Burch Stillness: the sound of petals drifting down softly together... —Miura Chora, trans. Michael R. Burch Brittle autumn leaves crumble to dust in the freezing wind. —Takao, trans. Michael R. Burch This frigid season nothing but the shadow of my corpse survives. —Tadatomo, trans. Michael R. Burch With the departing year I have hidden my graying hair from my parents. —Ochi Etsujin, trans. Michael R. Burch From depths unfathomably cold: the ocean's roar! —Kasenjo, trans. Michael R. Burch Like blocks in the icehouse, unlikely to last the year out... —Sentoku, trans. Michael R. Burch I wish only to die swiftly, with my eyes fixed on Mount Fuji —Rangai, trans. Michael R. Burch A strident cricket accompanies me through autumn mountains —Shiko, trans. Michael R. Burch The cherry orchard’s owner becomes compost for his trees —Utsu, trans. Michael R. Burch Autumn ends the frogs find their place in the earth —Shogetsu, trans. Michael R. Burch At long last I depart: above me are rainless skies and a pristine moon as pure as my heart. —Senseki, trans. Michael R. Burch Cuckoo, lift me up to where clouds drift... —Uko, trans. Michael R. Burch Sixty-six, setting sail through tranquil waters, a breeze-blown lotus. —Usei, trans. Michael R. Burch I cup curious ears among the hydrangeas hoping to hear the spring cuckoo. —Senchojo, trans. Michael R. Burch A night storm sighs: "The fate of the flower is to fall"... rebuking all who hesitate —Yukio Mishima, trans. Michael R. Burch But one poet, at least, cast doubt on the death poem enterprise: Death poems? Damned delusions? Death is death! —Toko, translation by Michael R. Burch Original Haiku Childless by Michael R. Burch Mightier than Atlas, she shoulders the weight of one fallen star. Ascendance Transcendence by Michael R. Burch Breaching the summit I reach the horizon’s last rays. Untitled Dark-bosomed clouds pregnant with heavy thunder... the water breaks —Michael R. Burch one pillow... our dreams merge —Michael R. Burch Crushed grapes surrender such sweetness! A mother’s compassion. —Michael R. Burch My footprints so faint in the snow? Ah yes, you lifted me. —Michael R. Burch An emu feather still falling? So quickly you rushed to my rescue. —Michael R. Burch The eagle sees farther from its greater height— our ancestors’ wisdom —Michael R. Burch She bathes in silver afloat on her reflections —Michael R. Burch Celebrate the New Year? The cat is not impressed, the dogs shiver. —Michael R. Burch Haiku should never rhyme: it’s a crime! ?Michael R. Burch The sun warms a solitary stone. Let us abandon no one. —Michael R. Burch The herons stand, sentry-like, at attention... rigid observers of some unknown command. —Michael R. Burch The ability to disagree agreeably— civility ?Michael R. Burch Late fall; all the golden leaves turn black underfoot: soot —Michael R. Burch Dry leaf flung awry: bright butterfly, goodbye! —Michael R. Burch bright leaf flung awry ~ butterfly, goodbye! ?Michael R. Burch leaf flutters in flight~ bright, O and endeavoring butterfly, goodbye! —Michael R. Burch A snake in the grass lies, hissing "Trespass!" —Michael R. Burch Honeysuckle blesses my knuckle with affectionate dew —Michael R. Burch My nose nuzzles honeysuckle’s sweet nothings —Michael R. Burch The day’s eyes were blue until you appeared and they wept at your beauty —Michael R. Burch You're too perfect for words? a problem for a poet. —Michael R. Burch Show me your most intimate items of apparel; begin with the hem of your quicksilver slip ... —Michael R. Burch Your breasts are perfect for your lithe, slender body. Please stop making false comparisons your hobby! —Michael R. Burch The moon in decline like my lover’s heart lies far beyond mine —Michael R. Burch My mother’s eyes acknowledging my imperfection: dejection —Michael R. Burch The sun sets the moon fails to rise we avoid each other’s eyes —Michael R. Burch a soaring kite flits into the heart of the sun? Butterfly & Chrysanthemum —Michael R. Burch The girl with the pallid lips lipsticks into something more comfortable ?Michael R. Burch I am a traveler going nowhere but my how the gawking bystanders stare! —Michael R. Burch Keywords/Tags: Zen, death, haiku, Oriental, Japanese, funeral, grave, autumn, fall, winter, age, bereavement

Copyright © | Year Posted 2019




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Date: 11/17/2019 5:12:00 AM
Your haiku is gorgeous!
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Michael Burch
Date: 11/17/2019 3:02:00 PM
I'm glad you liked my translations, and thanks for taking the time to read and comment!