Zen Poetry

For those who proclaim
they have grown weary of children
There are no flowers
– Basho

Nothing in the cry
of the cicadas suggests they
are about to die
– Basho

Those who see wordly life as an obstacle to Dharma
see no Dharma in everyday actions.
They have not yet discovered that
there are no everyday actions outside of Dharma
-Dogen [Dharma is close to the Jewish idea of Torah]

Even though I’m in Kyoto
When the cuckoo cries
I long for Kyoto
– Issa

New Year’s first snow – ah –
just barely enough to tilt
the daffodil
– Basho

The world of dew
is a world of dew, and yet
and yet…
– Issa Kobayashi, at the grave of his baby daughter Sato, struggling with the Bhuddist teachings of transience and detachment.

Summer grasses
all that remains of great soldiers’
imperial dreams
– Basho

Standing outside my pointed-roof hut
Who’d guess how spacious it is inside
A galaxy of worlds is there
with room to spare for a zazen cushion

In autumn
even though I may
see it again,
how can I sleep
with the moon this evening?
– Dogen

I live far off in the wild
Where moss and woods are thick and plants perfumed.
I can see mountains rain or shine
and never hear market noise.
I light a few leaves in my stove to heat tea.
To patch my robe I cut off a cloud.
Lifetimes seldom fill a hundred years.
Why suffer for profit and fame?

Everything is
a lie in this world
Because even
Isn’t so.

Break open a cherry tree and there are no flowers,
but the spring breeze brings forth myriad blossoms.
– Ikkyu Sojun


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