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Sonnets Rubai Haiku Gazel 

Japanese Poetry




A priest all alone 
taking a nap at midday- 
beyond the eaves 
of the abbot's chamber 
the deep blueness of the sky.
As it becomes stormlike 
in daytime, in the river bed 
on the rocks there are 
restless and confused 
crows that are crying out. 


I stand as though 
only I am existing 
in heaven  and earth— 
at this solitariness 
Kannon, you are smiling.
Coming stealthily, 
who is it hitting the temple bell? 
It is late at night 
and t.me tor even the Buddha 
to go into dreaming. 
In the Lord Buddha's 
drowsy eyes 
the ancient 
country fields of Yamato 
Have their hazy existence.


You water spider 
against the streaming current 
skating upstream— 
your vigorousness, oh, 
although it is a faint thing.
The faintly glowing 
color of the maples, 
when it fades away 
before the falling of snow, 
serenity in mountains. 
This living creature, 
each breath that I am taking, 
is befag observed 
by one climbing up a window, 
a praying mantis, alone.
from winter sleep a frog 
climbs up onto 
the top of leftover snow 
and stretches himself out flat.
The red-throated 
chimney swallows, two of them, 
upon the rafters— 
and underneath, my mother 
who is going to die now.
Those wild geese 
do not pass over any more 
within the sky 
without limitation 
the scattered snow is falling.
Very close to death 
the mother I watch beside— 
from far rice ponds, frogs crying 
to heaven are being heard.
The clouds of springtime 
come together at one side 
around midday 
by the far-off water reeds 
the wild geese have settled down.
Being awakened 
I was imagining that 
the wild grasses 
might be dropping down their seeds 
at about this time of night.
The hush-hush 
inside the falling of snow—- 
standing motionless, 
a horse, his eyes. 
Now he has blinked !
Crawling on the grass, 
you firefly of the morning, 
transient must be 
this existence of mine. 
Do not let me die, ever.
Into spring mountains 
I have come and am staying 
one person alone 
trying to hear the sound o 
leaves fallen, dried, bent over.
(Mourning for Akutagawa) 
Coming to a wall, 
a lacewing May fly 
is clinging to it — 
the sheer transparency 
of the wings, their mournfulness.


Under the plane trees 
young women are passing by, 
upon their eyelids 
is a color tinged with blood. 
Summer has surely arrived.
My eyes watching, 
I too become desolate 
toward nightfall 
from the harvested rice field 
seeing stray grains being gathered. 
On a mountain top 
in springtime coldness 
priests keep going back and forth 
in black robes that are bulging 
and mufflers that are white.


With a happiness continuing all my life, 
the day I began junior high school ! 
The shoe shop of that time 
is still here. 
I come to a sudden standstill.
The past three mornings, 
morning after morning 
the water-lily flower— 
this morning it has not opened. 


When that beam of light 
came passing over the sea 
I as a whiteness 
was revealed in the dark, and then 
I saw I was all alone.
In the darkened fields 
the very faintly burning 
lights of the houses— 
ah, they are more frail even 
than the glowing of fireflies. 
How far 
will that wild duck still go 
through evening waves 
swollen in the open sea 
where it struggles on alone?


How far 
will that wild duck still go 
through evening waves 
swollen in the open sea 
where it struggles on alone?
The beating heart of myself 
within the grease of myself 
seems to be burning. 
And what can be the reason 
it is so cruelly thus ? 
In my inner self 
where it stands up piercing me 
the hollow cavern 
has in times without a wind 
the ultimate of darkness.
Ever more and more profound 
will be the doubt in my mind 
with which I must live 
for the white robe of a god 
was seen after it was stained.
With wings that will not ever 
be folded a butterfly 
will be made to soar 
indefinitely in the white 
hours of continuation.
With wings that will not ever 
be folded a butterfly 
will be made to soar 
indefinitely in the white 
hours of continuation.
Within the blackened sea 
of water where I now bathe 
each time that I sink 
I am being followed by 
a solitary drowned man.
"Do not resemble me, 
do not," I tell one I paint 
in a picture as 
a woman who is beautiful 
with an adulteress's smile.
Both water and the earth 
are frozen, no sound is made 
in the cold night, 
inside just myself 
there is a lonely thing that does not freeze. 
Dividing the wheat, 
the place where construction is planned 
has stakes pounded in— 
like into thick animal skin 
a needle being driven.
Because a tunnel 
has a way for coming out, 
with what is simply 
a being happy there emerge 
both bus and white butterfly.
As a landscape in the far distance 
is how human life appears 
and in autumn wind 
upon the extended fields 
a black locomotive goes. 


A magpie bird, 
singing, is pointed out to me — 
moving the umbrella — 
the boat being turned with 
the oar — there, just ahead! 
Cast upon the ground 
the shadow of my own self 
is being walked through 
while my back is carrying 
the brightness of the moon. 
On the dawn-reddened 
sky they are spreading out, 
the singing cranes, 
a thousand of the cranes, 
and each voice a distinct voice.
Because the songbird 
pauses while flying there is 
a ceaseless swaying 
of the willow's sheer branches 
and a fall of loosened snow.
As on this day 
after I die also 
there will come again 
from young persimmon leaves 
a tapping sound of rain.
Now at evening 
light accumulates around 
a standing crane 
and it is only there shining 
continues without darkening.
The river's breadth 
is narrowed by abundant 
water hyacinths 
too late for flowering but 
green and profoundly quiet.


Upon the water 
time just does not exist 
as something realized— 
of the children, two of them, 
we are father and mother !
The same as a burning 
is the air inside which 
I am doing my work. 
In the red pencil 
the core has softened. 
Old Japanese Tanka

Old Japanese Poetry

Sonnets Rubai Haiku Gazel

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