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Zen Death Haiku II

Today, catching sight of the mallards crying over Lake Iware: Must I too vanish into the clouds? —Prince Otsu translation by Michael R. Burch This world— to what may we compare it? To autumn fields lying darkening at dusk illuminated by lightning flashes. —Minamoto no ago translation by Michael R. Burch This world—to what may we liken it? To autumn fields lit dimly at dusk, illuminated by lightning flashes. —Minamoto no ago translation by Michael R. Burch Like a half-exposed rotten log my life, which never flowered, ends barren. —Minamoto Yorimasa translation by Michael R. Burch Overtaken by darkness, I will lodge under a tree’s branches; cherry blossoms will cushion me tonight. —Taira no Tadanori translation by Michael R. Burch Overtaken by darkness, I will lodge under a cherry tree’s branches; flowers alone will bower me tonight. —Taira no Tadanori translation by Michael R. Burch Let me die in spring beneath the cherry blossoms while the moon is full. —Saigyo translation by Michael R. Burch There is no death, as there is no life. Are not the skies cloudless And the rivers clear? —Taiheiki Toshimoto translation by Michael R. Burch All five aspects of my fleeting human form And the four elements of existence add up to nothing: I bare my neck to the unsheathed sword And its blow is but a breath of wind ... —Suketomo translation by Michael R. Burch Had I not known I was already dead I might have mourned my own passing. —Ota Dokan translation by Michael R. Burch Both victor and vanquished are but dewdrops, but lightning bolts illuminate the world. —Ôuchi Yoaka translation by Michael R. Burch Even a life of long prosperity is like a single cup of sake; my life of forty-nine years flashed by like a dream. Nor do I know what life is, nor death. All the years combined were but a fleeting dream. Now I step beyond both Heaven and Hell To stand alone in the moonlit dawn, Free from the mists of attachment. —Uesugi Kenshin translation by Michael R. Burch My life appeared like dew and disappears like dew. All Naniwa was a series of dreams. —Toyotomi Hideyoshi translation by Michael R. Burch Felt deeply in my heart: How beautiful the snow, Clouds gathering in the west. —Issho translation by Michael R. Burch Brittle cicada shell, little did I know that you were my life! —Shoshun translation by Michael R. Burch Inhale, exhale. Forward, reverse. Live, die. Let arrows fly, meet midway and sever the void in aimless flight: Thus I return to the Source. —Gesshu Soko translation by Michael R. Burch My body? Pointless as the tree’s last persimmon. —Seisa translation by Michael R. Burch Farewell! I pass away as all things do: dew drying on grass. —Banzan translation by Michael R. Burch Seventy-one? How long can a dewdrop last? —Kigen translation by Michael R. Burch A tempestuous sea ... Flung from the deck — this block of ice. —Choha translation by Michael R. Burch Empty cicada shell: we return as we came, naked. —Fukaku translation by Michael R. Burch Since I was born, I must die, and so … —Kisei translation by Michael R. Burch Let us arise and go, following the path of the clear dew. —Fojo translation by Michael R. Burch Depths of the cold, unfathomable ocean’s roar. —Kasenjo translation by Michael R. Burch Things never stand still, not even for a second: consider the trees’ colors. —Seiju (-1776), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch Lately the nights dawn plum-blossom white. —Yosa Buson translation by Michael R. Burch Bitter winter winds! But later, river willow, reopen your buds ... —Senryu translation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch Who cares where aimless clouds are drifting? —Bufu (-1792), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch What does it matter how long I live, when a tortoise lives many times as long? —Issa (-1827), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch Like a lotus leaf’s evaporating dew, I vanish. —Senryu (-1827), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch Man’s end: this mound of albescent bones, this brief flowering sure to fade ... —Hamei (-1837), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch When I kick the bucket, bury me beneath a tavern’s cellar wine barrel; with a little luck the cask will leak. —Moriya Sen’an (-1838), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch Frost on a balmy day: all I leave is the water that washed my brush. —Tanaka Shutei (1810-1858, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch Though moss may overgrow my useless corpse, the seeds of patriotism shall never decay. —Nomura Boto (1806-1867), loose translation/interpretation of her jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch My aging body: a drop of dew bulging at the leaf-cliff. —Kiba (-1868), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch Forbearing the night with its growing brilliance: the summer moon. —Tsukioka Yooshi (1839-1892), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch Blow if you must, autumn wind, but the flowers have already faded. —Gansan (-1895), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch Time to go ... They say this journey is a long trek: this final change of robes. —Roshu (-1899), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch The moon departs; frost paralyzes the morning glories. — Kato (-1908), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch Stumble, tumble, fall, slide down the slippery snow slope. — Getsurei (-1919), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch Keywords/Tags: Haiku, Zen, Death, Japan, Japanese, Translation, Nature, Life

Copyright © | Year Posted 2020




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