More Classic Stuff

You’ll remember that I was editing some translations of Santoka’s haiku and shared a few with you all. Here’s more, plus a bonus of works by Hosai, Santoka’s contemporary, and a lovely Chinese poem I wrote long ago when my name was Liu Tsung Yuan.

Santoka’s 8 haiku:

A dragonfly atop a sedge hat; I just walk on.

On a rainy day, walking barefoot thru my hometown.

Into my iron bowl also falls a shower of hailstones.

His back soaked by the rain; still, he just walks on.

In a rain shower, I walk to a nearby mountain.

Santoka was the prime modern example of Walking Zen, following Ikkyu’s example set in the Muromachi Period, tho S. only walked for a few years, whereas I. probably walked for over 20.

At a loss what to do, I walk alone on this country road.

Thinking nothing, just tasting the water gushing from a wayside spring. (Is this zen, or what?)

When the leaves begin falling, the water will become tasty.

Hosai’s 6 haiku:

I have a loud cough, all alone in this quiet hut.

Such a bright moonlit night; in bed alone, still I can enjoy the view.

I can see a little of the sea through a small window, the only one in my hut.

Tomorrow is New Year’s Day; only Buddha and I will greet it in this lonely hut.

The pine’s branches are all hanging down; I chant the Name.  (the Name of Amida Buddha, presumably.)

Winds singing thru the pines; at dawn and at sunset I toll the temple bell.

Hosai passed away almost 20 years  before Santoka. Both were recognized in their lifetimes to be superior poets.

An old Chinese poem: ‘On a Snowy River’

Birds have ceased wheeling thru the mountains,
Footsteps are no longer seen on any snowy path.
An old man, strawclad, is seated in a small boat,
Engaged in fishing alone on the snowy river.

Such nice morsels to chew on. And here’s a haiku written with the name, Richard:

Beside the winter river
neither birds nor fish are seen;
nothing beside myself.

Maudlin to  be sure; must be the influence of some earlier poets. But hearing the call loudly in my ears for contributions, just had to pen something out.

The Woodchopper

4 responses to “More Classic Stuff

  1. There is much to be noticed
    When only Buddha walks with you
    On the road cobbled with

  2. Thanks for this, Woodchopper. Always grateful for postings. It’s COMMENTS on others’ postings that always seem to be lacking, although a few contributors are generous in this regard. Lovely selection here.

    ‘Birds nor fish’ without ‘neither’ was baffling, so I put it in.

    In the first Santoka haiku you quote, I wonder if the dragonfly wasn’t on his own kasa (hat). In your trans. it sounds as if he was passing one beside the road.
    In the third (for those who don’t know), the ‘iron bowl’ is a begging bowl. To know this enhances the resonance.
    The first of Hosai’s haiku, seki o shitemo hitori, is literally ‘even when I’m coughing, I’m alone’, which is slightly different to your own trans.

    You must have enjoyed the job. Is there a deliberate play on ‘beside’ in your own haiku?