Sunday, May 3, 2009

Japanese Death Poems

by Koraku (d.1837)

The joy of dewdrops
In the grass as they
Turn back to vapour.





by Dokyo Etan (d. 1721)

Here in the shadow of death it is hard
To utter a final word.
I'll only say, then,
"Without saying."
Nothing more.
Nothing more.





by Mabutsu (d. 1874)

Moon in a barrel:
You never know just when
The bottom will fall out.





by Kyoriku

Till now I thought
That death befell
The untalented alone.
If those with talent, too,
Must die
Surely they make
better manure.