Monday, March 14, 2011

Two Poems of Ryokan

The woods are filled with color here: yellow vining flowers, Dogwoods, Azaleas, Iris's and wildflowers. Ms. Spring is here. My heart is heavy for the people of Japan who are experiencing such monumental tragedy that I can't even imagine it. They are in my thoughts and prayers.

A beautiful tree blooming in the woods across the street.


"When spring arrives
From every tree tip
Flowers will bloom,
But those children
Who fell with last autumn’s leaves
Will never return."

~Ryōkan Taigu(1758–1831), a Zen Buddhist monk and poet who lived in Japan.


"I watch people in the world
Throw away their lives lusting after things,
Never able to satisfy their desires,
Falling into deeper despair
And torturing themselves.
Even if they get what they want
How long will they be able to enjoy it?
For one heavenly pleasure
They suffer ten torments of hell,
Binding themselves more firmly to the grindstone.
Such people are like monkeys
Frantically grasping for the moon in the water
And then falling into a whirlpool.
How endlessly those caught up in the floating world suffer.
Despite myself, I fret over them all night
And cannot staunch my flow of tears." ~Ryōkan Taigu


Wine and Words said...

Ah Marion. That last poem really hit me. I am of that sort, and contentment eludes me. I wish it weren't so. I pray it someday will not be. I hiked through an oak forrest yesterday, thought I might get lost with my abysmal sense of direction....thought of Ray :)

audrey said...

Hi Marion.
These two poems are beautifully written, but very sad. They seem appropriate right now with the horrific situation in Japan and all the loss there.
I am so grateful to see Spring arriving ~ something we can hold onto in the midst of all the sorrow.
Your description of Spring's arrival there paints a pretty picture. There are little signs here, but nothing full blown yet. I look forward to the beautiful flowers of Spring.
♥ audrey

Kelly said...

Beautiful photos, Marion!

Our dogwoods aren't blooming yet. Seems like they just burst out overnight, I'm ready and waiting!!

erin said...

The first poem is so stark, so matter of fact, it's jolting. The second underscores how society is facing the wrong direction, the wrongful mountain, the mountain of acquisition, as though that might get us anywhere. A good reminder, Marion.

Your photos startle me. The snow is all around me yet but there is something in the air that smells of melt. It's hard to imagine but the shift will come. And it will make me shake my head, that snow actually can melt, the flowers actually can grow.


Phoenix said...

Both are beautiful poems. My heart is heavy as well for all the tragedies the world has experienced lately. But I have worked so hard on personal happiness that the second poem really rings true for me - I am much less materialistic and more content than I used to be, but my heart still aches to help others.

What to do?

Margaret Pangert said...

How bittersweet and moving the beautiful spring blossoms with the last lines of the poem:
"But those children
Who fell with last autumn's leaves
Will never return."
My prayers for the land of the rising sun.

Terresa said...

Marion! Thank you for the Taigu poems, the "When spring arrives" fits this moment so well (I unearthed multiple boxes of warm weather gear just today). And then the second poem, how it resonates with the current tsunami and its aftermath...I "cannot staunch my flow of tears."


Laurie said...

Those poems are really something. It's been so long since I've felt that acute pain for the folly of others.

Snowbrush said...

I've mowed the yard twice, but our red bud is far from blooming, and the rain rarely quits.

Anonymous said...

Such a compassionate man, such a deep poet. Thank-you for sharing both poems.
Hope your computer gets sorted soon :)
It's disconcerting how attached we are to instant internet access, isn't it?!