Zen Poetry

~by Ryokan from Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf

...But if you donít write of things deep inside your own heart,
Whatís the use of churning out so many words?

... Unless you got lost on purpose
You would never get this far.

Time passes,
There is no way
We can hold it back--
Why, then, do thoughts linger on,
Long after everything else is gone?

Iím so aware
That itís all unreal:
One by one, the things
Of this world pass on.
But why do I still grieve?

When I think
About the misery
Of those in this world
Their sadness
Becomes mine.

...Suddenly I thought of an old friend
Separated from me by miles of mountain and rivers.
Will we ever meet again?
I gaze toward the sky,
Tears streaming down my cheeks.

We meet only to part,
Coming and going like white clouds,
Leaving traces so faint
Hardly a soul notices.

From heaven
A gift more precious
Then jewels or gold;
A visit from you
On the first day of spring!

Chanting old poems
Making our own verses,
Together in the fields--
Two people, one heart.
The breeze is fresh,
The moon so bright--
Letís dance until dawn
As a farewell to my old age.

between Ryokan and Teishin

Was it really you
I saw,
Or is this joy
I still feel
Only a dream?

In this dream world
We doze
And talk of dreams--
Dream, dream on,
As much as you wish.

Here with you
I could remain
For countless days and tears,
Silent as the bright moon
We gazed at together.

Have you forgotten me
Or lost the path here?
Now I wait for you
All day, every day.
But you do not appear.

on Ryokanís Deathbed

ĒWhen, when?Ē I sighed.
The one I longed for
Has finally come;
With her now,
I have all that I need.

We monastics are said
To overcome the realm
Of life and death--
Yet I cannot bear the
Sorrow of our parting.

© 1999 ~*~ mel ~*~