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Dawn of Lighten Nov 2014
She sang the trot like she owned the narrative,
as if she was singing about her inner most secret.

-The  lady who lost her lover
The place where she met him
The Place with the Camellia flower

It was a place of summer and ray bloomed
while it matched the radiance of the two Paramour
and a reminder of their internal chest thumped in unison

In the street where they first met she stood alone
fatigued with no more breath to give
Many nights shed her tears by the Camellia flowers

Now the flower leave crumbled
The petals showed it's red bruises
and falling like the tear drops

When will the lover come back to her
To the lonely Camellia Flower
When will he come back-

The song ends with a grasp
as this German lady song ends with her whisper
To the Korean Trot song of the past

To the song "Lady Camellia!"
Not to get confused with the 1848 published French Novel "The Lady of the Camellias," or better known for "La Dame Aux Camelias!"

As I was web surfing in youtube, I came across a Korean Talk show, and in it she sang the old Korean pop song genre called Trot! Mesmerized by how well she spoke in Korean, this German lady singing even in Korean old trot song.

I took liberty to translate the lyric the way it seemed to fit perfectly, so I can't take any credits!

Updated notes: After doing several research, there maybe a correlation between the Old Korean trot to the even older French novel! While the music gives more of a story of two lovers and the anguish of the lady, the French novel actually makes the Lady Camellia as a courtesan.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpmWwvWWXPA
Francis Duggan Aug 2010
Like a beautiful pink camellia that's how you appear to me
That bloom in chilly August on it's dark green mother tree
So bright and fresh and pretty in the wintery wind and rain
That's how you've always looked to me and that's how you will remain.

The beautiful camellia flower that blooms fresh and young today
In two or three weeks if that long will have gone into decay
For flowers have such a brief span they quickly fade away
But in sixty years of living your beauty with you stay.

I feel privileged and grateful for to have you as a friend
And I will love you and respect you until my life will end
You are warm and kind hearted and well loved and well known
And it's due to you and to you only that into a better person I have grown.

You are wise and quite intelligent and beautiful to behold
And you don't have a gray hair on your head and you never will grow old
And on your sixtieth birthday you still look beautiful to me
Like the young and pretty pink flower on the green camellia tree.
Nigel Morgan Nov 2012
As a woman, and in the service of my Lord the Emperor Wu, my life is governed by his command. At twenty I was summoned to this life at court and have made of it what I can, within the limitations of the courtesan I am supposed to be, and the poet I have now become. Unlike my male counterparts, some of whom have lately found seclusion in the wilderness of rivers and mountains, I have only my personal court of three rooms and its tiny garden and ornamental pond. But I live close to the surrounding walls of the Zu-lin Gardens with its astronomical observatories and bold attempts at recreating illusions of celebrated locations in the Tai mountains. There, walking with my cat Xi-Lu in the afternoons, I imagine a solitary life, a life suffused with the emptiness I crave.
 
In the hot, dry summer days my maid Mei-Lim and I have sought a temporary retreat in the pine forests above Lingzhi. Carried in a litter up the mountain paths we are left in a commodious hut, its open walls making those simple pleasures of drinking, eating and sleeping more acute, intense. For a few precious days I rest and meditate, breathe the mountain air and the resinous scents of the trees. I escape the daily commerce of the court and belong to a world that for the rest of the year I have to imagine, the world of the recluse. To gain the status of the recluse, open to my male counterparts, is forbidden to women of the court. I am woman first, a poet and calligrapher second. My brother, should he so wish, could present a petition to revoke his position as a man of letters, an official commentator on the affairs of state. But he is not so inclined. He has already achieved notoriety and influence through his writing on the social conditions of town and city. He revels in a world of chatter, gossip and intrigue; he appears to fear the wilderness life.  
 
I must be thankful that my own life is maintained on the periphery. I am physically distant from the hub of daily ceremonial. I only participate at my Lord’s express command. I regularly feign illness and fatigue to avoid petty conflict and difficulty. Yet I receive commissions I cannot waver: to honour a departed official; to celebrate a son’s birth to the Second Wife; to fulfil in verse my Lord’s curious need to know about the intimate sorrows of his young concubines, their loneliness and heartache.
 
Occasionally a Rhapsody is requested for an important visitor. The Emperor Wu is proud to present as welcome gifts such poetic creations executed in fine calligraphy, and from a woman of his court. Surely a sign of enlightment and progress he boasts! Yet in these creations my observations are parochial: early morning frost on the cabbage leaves in my garden; the sound of geese on their late afternoon flight to Star Lake; the disposition of the heavens on an Autumn night. I live by the Tao of Lao-Tzu, perceiving the whole world from my doorstep.
 
But I long for the reclusive life, to leave this court for my family’s estate in the valley my peasant mother lived as a child. At fourteen she was chosen to sustain the Emperor’s annual wish for young girls to be groomed for concubinage. Like her daughter she is tall, though not as plain as I; she put her past behind her and conceded her adolescence to the training required by the court. At twenty she was recommended to my father, the court archivist, as second wife. When she first met this quiet, dedicated man on the day before her marriage she closed her eyes in blessing. My father taught her the arts of the library and schooled her well. From her I have received keen eyes of jade green and a prestigious memory, a memory developed she said from my father’s joy of reading to her in their private hours, and before she could read herself. Each morning he would examine her to discover what she had remembered of the text read the night before. When I was a little child she would quote to me the Confucian texts on which she had been ****** schooled, and she then would tell me of her childhood home. She primed my imagination and my poetic world with descriptions of a domestic rural life.
 
Sometimes in the arms of my Lord I have freely rhapsodized in chusi metre these delicate word paintings of my mother’s home. She would say ‘We will walk now to the ruined tower beside the lake. Listen to the carolling birds. As the sparse clouds move across the sky the warm sun strokes the winter grass. Across the deep lake the forests are empty. Now we are climbing the narrow steps to the platform from which you and I will look towards the sun setting in the west. See the shadows are lengthening and the air becomes colder. The blackbird’s solitary song heralds the evening.  Look, an owl glides silently beneath us.’
 
My Lord will then quote from Hsieh Ling-yun,.
 
‘I meet sky, unable to soar among clouds,
face a lake, call those depths beyond me.’
 
And I will match this quotation, as he will expect.
 
‘Too simple-minded to perfect Integrity,
and too feeble to plough fields in seclusion.’
 
He will then gaze into my eyes in wonder that this obscure poem rests in my memory and that I will decode the minimal grammar of these early characters with such poetry. His characters: Sky – Bird – Cloud – Lake – Depth. My characters: Fool – Truth – Child – Winter field – Isolation.
 
Our combined invention seems to take him out of his Emperor-self. He is for a while the poet-scholar-sage he imagines he would like to be, and I his foot-sore companion following his wilderness journey. And then we turn our attention to our bodies, and I surprise him with my admonitions to gentleness, to patience, to arousing my pleasure. After such poetry he is all pleasure, sensitive to the slightest touch, and I have my pleasure in knowing I can control this powerful man with words and the stroke of my fingertips rather than by delicate youthful beauty or the guile and perverse ingenuity of an ****** act. He is still learning to recognise the nature and particularness of my desires. I am not as his other women: who confuse pleasure with pain.
 
Thoughts of my mother. Without my dear father, dead ten years, she is a boat without a rudder sailing on a distant lake. She greets each day as a gift she must honour with good humour despite the pain of her limbs, the difficulty of walking, of sitting, of eating, even talking. Such is the hurt that governs her ageing. She has always understood that my position has forbidden marriage and children, though the latter might be a possibility I have not wished it and made it known to my Lord that it must not be. My mother remains in limbo, neither son or daughter seeking to further her lineage, she has returned to her sister’s home in the distant village of her birth, a thatched house of twenty rooms,
 
‘Elms and willows shading the eaves at the back,
and, in front,  peach and plum spread wide.
 
Villages lost across mist-haze distances,
Kitchen smoke drifting wide-open country,
 
Dogs bark deep among the back roads out here
And cockerels crow from mulberry treetops.
 
My esteemed colleague T’ao Ch’ien made this poetry. After a distinguished career in government service he returned to the life of a recluse-farmer on his family farm. Living alone in a three-roomed hut he lives out his life as a recluse and has endured considerable poverty. One poem I know tells of him begging for food. His world is fields-and-gardens in contrast to Hsieh Ling-yin who is rivers-and-mountains. Ch’ien’s commitment to the recluse life has brought forth words that confront death and the reality of human experience without delusion.
 
‘At home here in what lasts, I wait out life.’
 
Thus my mother waits out her life, frail, crumbling more with each turning year.
 
To live beyond the need to organise daily commitments due to others, to step out into my garden and only consider the dew glistening on the loropetalum. My mind is forever full of what is to be done, what must be completed, what has to be said to this visitor who will today come to my court at the Wu hour. Only at my desk does this incessant chattering in the mind cease, as I move my brush to shape a character, or as the needle enters the cloth, all is stilled, the world retreats; there is the inner silence I crave.
 
I long to see with my own eyes those scenes my mother painted for me with her words. I only know them in my mind’s eye having travelled so little these past fifteen years. I look out from this still dark room onto my small garden to see the morning gathering its light above the rooftops. My camellia bush is in flower though a thin frost covers the garden stones.
 
And so I must imagine how it might be, how I might live the recluse life. How much can I jettison? These fine clothes, this silken nightgown beneath the furs I wrap myself in against the early morning air. My maid is sleeping. Who will make my tea? Minister to me when I take to my bed? What would become of my cat, my books, the choice-haired brushes? Like T’ao Ch’ien could I leave the court wearing a single robe and with one bag over my shoulders? Could I walk for ten days into the mountains? I would disguise myself as a man perhaps. I am tall for a woman, and though my body flows in broad curves there are ways this might be assuaged, enough perhaps to survive unmolested on the road.
 
Such dreams! My Lord would see me returned within hours and send a servant to remain at my gate thereafter. I will compose a rhapsody about a concubine of standing, who has even occupied the purple chamber, but now seeks to relinquish her privileged life, who coverts the uncertainty of nature, who would endure pain and privation in a hut on some distant mountain, who will sleep on a mat on its earth floor. Perhaps this will excite my Lord, light a fire in his imagination. As though in preparation for this task I remove my furs, I loose the knot of my silk gown. Naked, I reach for an old under shift letting it fall around my still-slender body and imagine myself tying the lacings myself in the open air, imagine making my toilet alone as the sun appears from behind a distant mountain on a new day. My mind occupies itself with the tiny detail of living thus: bare feet on cold earth, a walk to nearby stream, the gathering of berries and mountain herbs, the making of fire, the washing of my few clothes, imagining. Imagining. To live alone will see every moment filled with the tasks of keeping alive. I will become in tune with my surroundings. I will take only what I need and rely on no one. Dreaming will end and reality will be the slug on my mat, the bone-chilling incessant mists of winter, the thorn in the foot, the wild winds of autumn. My hands will become stained and rough, my long limbs tanned and scratched, my delicate complexion freckled and wind-pocked, my hair tied roughly back. I will become an animal foraging on a dank hillside. Such thoughts fill me with deep longing and a ****** desire to be tzu-jan  - with what surrounds me, ablaze with ****** self.
 
It is not thought the custom of a woman to hold such desires. We are creatures of order and comfort. We do not live on the edge of things, but crave security and well-being. We learn to endure the privations of being at the behest of others. Husbands, children, lovers, our relatives take our bodies to them as places of comfort, rest and desire. We work at maintaining an ordered flow of existence. Whatever our station, mistress or servant we compliment, we keep things in order, whether that is the common hearth or the accounts of our husband’s court. Now my rhapsody begins:
 
A Rhapsody on a woman wishing to live as a recluse
 
As a lady of my Emperor’s court I am bound in service.
My court is not my own, I have the barest of means.
My rooms are full of gifts I am forced barter for bread.
Though the artefacts of my hands and mind
Are valued and widely renown,
Their commissioning is an expectation of my station,
With no direct reward attached.
To dress appropriately for my Lord’s convocations and assemblies
I am forced to negotiate with chamberlains and treasurers.
A bolt of silk, gold thread, the services of a needlewoman
Require formal entreaties and may lie dormant for weeks
Before acknowledgement and release.
 
I was chosen for my literary skills, my prestigious memory,
Not for my ****** beauty, though I have been called
‘Lady of the most gracious movement’ and
My speaking voice has clarity and is capable of many colours.
I sing, but plainly and without passion
Lest I interfere with the truth of music’s message.
 
Since I was a child in my father’s library
I have sought out the works of those whose words
Paint visions of a world that as a woman
I may never see, the world of the wilderness,
Of rivers and mountains,
Of fields and gardens.
Yet I am denied by my *** and my station
To experience passing amongst these wonders
Except as contrived imitations in the palace gardens.
 
Each day I struggle to tease from the small corner
Of my enclosed eye-space some enrichment
Some elemental thing to colour meaning:
To extend the bounds of my home
Across the walls of this palace
Into the world beyond.
 
I have let it be known that I welcome interviews
With officials from distant courts to hear of their journeying,
To gather word images if only at second-hand.
Only yesterday an emissary recounted
His travels to Stone Lake in the far South-West,
Beyond the gorges of the Yang-tze.
With his eyes I have seen the mountains of Suchan:
With his ears I have heard the oars crackling
Like shattering jade in the freezing water.
Images and sounds from a thousand miles
Of travel are extract from this man’s memory.
 
Such a sharing of experience leaves me
Excited but dismayed: that I shall never
Visit this vast expanse of water and hear
Its wild cranes sing from their floating nests
In the summer moonlight.
 
I seek to disappear into a distant landscape
Where the self and its constructions of the world may
Dissolve away until nothing remains but the no-mind.
My thoughts are full of the practicalities of journeying
Of an imagined location, that lonely place
Where I may be at one with myself.
Where I may delight in the everyday Way,
Myself among mist and vine, rock and cave.
Not this lady of many parts and purposes whose poems must
Speak of lives, sorrow and joy, pleasure and pain
Set amongst personal conflict and intrigue
That in containing these things, bring order to disorder;
Salve the conscience, bathe hurt, soothe sleight.
I've been acquainted with the following
psychoactives compounds:

Depressants & Dissociatives;
Ethanol / EtOH / alcohol, drink, *****
γ-Hydroxybutyric acid / GHB / G, fantasy
β-Phenyl-γ-aminobutyric acid / PhGABA / Phenibut
Dextromethorphan / DXM / Benylin, Robitussin
Morphine / Papaver somniferum / *****
3-Methylmorphine / Codeine
Dihydrocodeine / DHC
Buprenorphine / Subutex, Suboxone
N-Allylnoroxymorphone / Naloxone / Suboxone, Narcan
Tramadol / Ultram
Thiopental / Sodium Pentothal
Chlordiazepoxide / Librium
Diazepam / ******
2'-Chlorodiazepam / Ro5-3448 / Diclazepam
4'-Chlorodiazepam / Ro5-4864
Flubromazepam
Alprazolam / Xanax
Bromazolam / XLI-268
Clonazolam, Clonitrazolam / Clam
Etizolam / Etilaam, Etizest
Flualprazolam
Flubromazolam
Zopiclone / Zimovane
Pagoclone
Promethazine / Phenergan
Cetirizine / Zyrtec
Diphenhydramine / DPH / Benadryl, Nytol
Amitriptyline / Elavil
Tianeptine / Coaxil, Stablon
Mirtazapine / Remeron
Quetiapine / Seroquel
Nitrous Oxide / N2O / laughing gas, nos, hippy crack
Amyl Nitrite / Poppers
Ketamine [racemic] / K, Kitty
Esketamine [S-isomer] / Special K
Deschloroketamine / 2'-Oxo-PCM / DCK
N-ethyldeschloroketamine / 2'-Oxo-PCE / O-PCE / Eticyclidone
Deoxymethoxetamine / 3-Me-2′-Oxo-PCE / DMXE
Methoxetamine / 3-MeO-2'-Oxo-PCE / MXE / Mexxy
Methoxpropamine / 2-Oxo-3'-MeO-PCPr / MXPr
Methoxisopropamine / 2-Oxo-3'-MeO-PCiPr / MXiPr
3-Hydroxyphencyclidine / 3-**-***
3-Methoxyphencyclidine / 3-MeO-***

Stimulants & Nootropics;
1,3,7-Trimethylxanthine / Caffeine / Coffea, Camellia sinensis / Coffee, Tea
3,7-dimethylxanthine / Theobromine / [constituent of] Chocolate
N-Ethyl-L-glutamine / L-Theanine / [constituent of] Green Tea
Nicotine / Nicotiana / Tobacco, cigarettes, smokes
Ephedrine / Ephedra
Pseudoephedrine / Ephedra, Sudafed
Adrenaline, Epinephrine
Choline bitartrate
L-alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine / Alpha-GPC, Choline alfoscerate
Cytidine 5'-diphosphocholine / CDP-choline, Citicoline
N-Acetylcysteine / NAC
2-Dimethylaminoethyl (4-chlorophenoxy)acetate / Meclofenoxate
N-Phenylacetyl-L-prolylglycine ethyl ester / Omberacetam / Noopept
Coluracetam / BCI-540
4-Phenylpiracetam
Propranolol
(±)-2-Benzhydrylsulfinyleth­anehydroxamic acid / Adrafinil
(±)-2-[(Diphenylmethyl)sulfinyl]acetamide / Modafinil
(–)-2-[(R)-(diphenylmethyl)sulfinyl]acetamide / Armodafinil
α-Methylphenethylamine / Amphetamine, αMP / Speed
N-Methylamphetamine / Methamphetamine / ****
2-Fluoromethamphetamine / 2-FMA
4-Fluoroamphetamine / 4-FA, 4-FMP /  PAL-303 / Flux
4-Methoxyamphetamine / PMA, 4-MA / Death
5-Methoxy-2-aminoindane / MEAI, 5-MeO-AI / Chaperone, Pace
Methythiolpropamine / MPA / Blow
3-Fluorophenmetrazine / 3-FPM / PAL-593
4-Fluoromethylphenidate / 4F-MPH
4-Fluoroethylphenidate / 4F-EPH
3-Methylmethcathinone / 3-MMC / Metaphedrone
4-Methylmethcathinone / 4-MMC / Mephedrone
4-Methylethcathinone / 4-MEC
4-Chloromethcathinone / 4-CMC / Clephedrone
4-Fluoromethcathinone / 4-FMC / Flephedrone
4-Fluoro-α-methylaminovalerophenone / 4-Fluoropentedrone / 4-FPD
α-Ethylaminocaprophenone / N-Ethylhexedrone / NEH / Hexen
alpha-Pyrrolidinohexiophenone / α-PHP / PV-7
alpha-Pyrrolidinoisohexaphenone / α-PiHP, α-PHiP
3,4-Methylenedioxy-α-pyrrolidinohexiophenone / MDPHP
3,4-Methyl​enedioxy​pentedrone / βk-MBDP / Pentylone
3,4-Methylenedioxymethcathinone / βk-MDMA / MDMC / Methylone
3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine / MDMA / ecstasy
5-(2-methylaminopropyl)benzofuran / 5-MAPB
6-(2-Aminopropyl)-2,3-dihydrobenzofuran / 4-desoxy-MDA / 6-APDB
Mesembrine / Sceletium tortuosum, Kanna
Harmine / Peganum harmala / Syrian Rue
3,4,8-Trimethoxyphenanthrene-2,5-diol / Dendrobium nobile
NSI-189
4-chloro-N-(2-morpholin-4-ylethyl)benzamide / Moclobemide
Venlafaxine / Effexor
Fluoxetine / Prozac
Escitalopram / Cipralex, Lexapro
5-Hydroxytryptophan / 5-HTP / Oxitryptan

Hallucinogens & Psychedelics;
Cannabidiol / CBD / Cannabis
Cannabigerol / CBG / Cannabis
Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol / THC / Cannabis, Marijuana
AM-2201 / Synth-'noids, Spice
NM-2201 / CBL-2201
5C-AB-PINICA
Salvinorin A  / Salvia Divinorum / Diviner's Sage
d-Lysergic acid amide / d-Lysergamide / LSA / Ergine
Lysergic acid diethylamide / Lysergide / LSD / Acid, Lucy
1-Acetyl-lysergic acid diethylamide / 1A-LSD / ALD-52
1-Propionyl-lysergic acid diethylamide / 1P-LSD
6-Allyl-6-nor-lysergic acid diethylamide / AL-LAD / Aladdin
2,5-Dimethoxy-4-methylamphetamine / DOM / Dominic
2,5-Dimethoxy-4-bromoamphetamine / DOB / Aphrodite
2,5-Dimethoxy-4-chloroamphetamine / DOC / Doctor
2,5-Dimethoxy-4-methylthioamphetamine / DOT / Aleph
2,5-Dimethoxy-4-methyl-α-ethylphenethylamine / 4C-D / Ariadne
2,5-Dimethoxy-4-methylphenethylamine / 2C-D, 2C-M / Matrix
2,5-Dimethoxy-4-ethylphenethylamine / 2C-E / Eternity
2,5-Dimethoxy-4-bromophenethylamine / 2C-B / Nexus
2,5-Dimethoxy-4-chlorophenethylamine / 2C-C / Callisto
2,5-Dimethoxy-4-iodophenethylamine / 2C-I / Infinity
2,5-Dimethoxy-4-methylthiophenethylamine / 2C-T / Tesseract
2,5-Dimethoxy-4-ethylthiophenethylamine / 2C-T-2 / Rosy
2,5-Dimethoxy-4-fluoroethylthiophenethylamine / 2C-T-21 / Aurora
2,5-Dimethoxy-4-bromo-β-keto-phenethylamine / βk-2C-B
2,3,6,7-Benzo-dihydro-difuran-8-bromo-ethylamine / 2C-B-FLY
2,5-Dimethoxy-N-(2-methoxybenzyl)-4-bromophenethylamine / 25B
2,5-Dimethoxy-N-(2-methoxybenzyl)-4-chlorophenethylamine / 25C
2,5-Dimethoxy-N-(2-methoxybenzyl)-4-iodophenethylamine / 25I
3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine / MDA / Sass, Sally
3,4,5-Trimethoxyphenethylamine / Mescaline / M
3,5-Dimethoxy-4-ethoxyphenethylamine / Escaline
3,5-Dimethoxy-4-methallyloxyphenethylamine / Methallylescaline / MAL
α-Methyltryptamine / αMT / Indopan
N,N-dimethyltryptamine / DMT / The Spirit
N,N-dipropyltryptamine / DPT / The Light
N,N-Diisopropyltryptamine / DiPT / The Sound
N-Methyl-N-ethyltryptamine / MET / The Colour
N-Methyl-N-isopropyltryptamine / MiPT / The Touch
4-Hydroxy-dimethyltryptamine / 4-**-DMT / Psilocybe / Psilocin
4-Phosphoryloxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine / 4-PO-DMT / Psilocybin
4-Acetoxy-dimethyltryptamine / 4-AcO-DMT / Psilacetin
4-Hydroxy-N-methyl-N-ethyltryptamine / 4-**-MET / Metocin
4-Acetoxy-N-methyl-N-ethyltryptamine / 4-AcO-MET / Metacetin
4-Acetoxy-N-methyl-N-cyclopropyltryptmine / 4-AcO-McPT
4-Acetoxy-N-methyl-N-isopropyltryptamine / 4-AcO-MiPT / Mipracetin
4-Hydroxy-N-methyl-N-isopropyltryptamine / 4-**-MiPT / Miprocin
5-Methoxy-N-methethyltryptamine / 5-MeO-MET / The Vision
5-Methoxy-N,N-diallyltryptamine / 5-MeO-DALT / Foxtrot
5-Methoxy-N-diisopropyltryptamine / 5-MeO-DiPT / Foxy
5-Methoxy-N-methyl-N-isopropyltryptamine / 5-MeO-MiPT / Moxy
‒=≡09/03/2022≡=–
William A Poppen Mar 2014
I settle near the Camellia  
as good fortune  
surrounds me.  

I wonder
how does  luck grow
leisurely around me?

I can't  recall pushing
a  lucky seed into moist dirt
of  a weathered slip ***.

Many friends and siblings feel
battle fallout as Zeus and Hades
hurl bolts of catastrophe at them.

Life is unfair.
Meek brothers and sisters will you
inherit the earth or misfortune?

Mishap, misadventure and calamity
do you lurk around the next bend
of my fair weather journey?


.
Critical comments appreciated
L K Eaton  May 2013
Camellia
L K Eaton May 2013
forever alone-
even in the midst of my fellows
I am alone-
how I long to know the gentle caress
of your warm hands
how I wish to know the answer to the question:
is every one of my kind as alone as I?

I lay in wait for just a hint of your presence.
This cold and damp room
I have been deposited to
offers no condolences of comfort.
Thankless mortuary of life,
grounding point for unending successions of failure.
Mold grows abundant and varied on every surface,
forever feeding,
forever decaying-
forever reminding- the self defense I practice
is no match for time.

I have surrendered myself to your will
you repay my penance with stoic indifference,
how I curse my fate, to be stuck in this condition
stuck in this form
stuck in this cycle of irrelevance
where my purpose is as obscured as your presence-
I know it is there- I catch glimmers of it,
wafting on fumes of promise
welling up through my limbs-
yet, as I try to focus on its sweetness,  it melts away
and my condition teeters on the realization of the futility of my dreams,
dreams that perhaps there is something in this world I may possess,
something exempt from this foetid destiny of decay.

I pray to you every day- you bestow to me sustenance, delivered
within the few short moments of clarity
when your benevolence washes over my limbs
and that chill is abated, temporarily.  

oh love I need you
I need you
I need you
I need you-oh-
I need you now...

The joy you give me wells up in my core-
it spirals through my body in radiant fumes
arousing within me an electricity
which charges and grows, crackling and rippling through my being-

Your weightless touch
caresses the supple flesh of my newly unfurled limbs
your heat makes my lust ignite
until my rapture bursts and floods fragrantly out of my body
through small delicate folds soft as angel’s lips
burning crimson flames in contrast to the relentless leaden landscape.


Much like my prayers,
these too wither and evaporate back into the rimple of your coat of infinite possibility.
I am left broken, exploited by a purpose
that has been kept hidden from me.
Fate has decreed I must blossom during winter
serving as a beacon to the world around me,
I implore you my beloved,  who will serve as my beacon?
Who will lend vibrance to my dismal soul
when the skies are gray
and the cold lingers ever-present like a blade to the throat?

oh love I need you
I need you
I need you
I need you-oh-
I need you now...

I continue to endure
these seasons of deception.  
The offerings of my flesh, my soul, my intentions
are hung in severe strings
as reminders of the union I may never have
reminders that I will never be as perfect as I know is possible-
that most of my dreams
will miscarry to oblivion and their potentials as realities will slip away as fast as the thoughts that carried them-
slip away as fast as the memory of my existence.

the only thing keeping me from joining you
is me
my form, this body, this anchor to the Earth.
In spite of this forlorn existence, I try to brighten my world-
my offerings are these poems of flesh,
frail and transient
moments of sublimity
apices of material existence
bridges to the divine

Exercises in wishfulness do nothing to change states.
What I truly desire is freedom,
freedom from these roots
freedom from hunger
freedom from wishes
freedom from these interminable winters
freedom from this sadness
freedom from this life
Michael R Burch Oct 2020
Zen Death Haiku & Related Translations of Oriental Poems

In what may be called "Zen death haiku" and other forms of jisei (death poems), life on earth is often compared to dew, to a wind-blown petal, to a tree shedding its leaves, to an empty shell, to melting snow or ice, etc.

Brittle cicada shell,
little did I know
that you were my life!
—Shuho (?-1767), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Our world of dew
is a world of dew indeed;
and yet, and yet ...
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Both victor and vanquished
are but dewdrops
in which lightning bolts illuminate the void.
—Ôuchi Yoshitaka (1507-1551), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Like dew glistening
on a lotus leaf,
so too I soon must vanish.
—Shinsui (1720-1769), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Let this body
be dew
in a field of wildflowers.
—Tembo (1740-1823), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

My aging body:
a drop of dew
bulging at the leaf-cliff.
—Kiba (-1868), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Like a lotus leaf’s evaporating dew,
I vanish.
—Senryu (-1827), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

This world?
Moonlit dew
flicked from a crane's bill.
—Eihei Dogen Kigen (1200-1253) loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Seventy-one?
How long
can a dewdrop last?
—Eihei Dogen Kigen, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Dewdrops beading grass-blades
die before dawn;
may an untimely wind not hasten their departure!
—Eihei Dogen Kigen, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Dewdrops beading blades of grass
have so little time to shine before dawn;
let the autumn wind not rush too quickly through the field!
—Eihei Dogen Kigen, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Outside my window the plums, blossoming,
within their curled buds, contain the spring;
the moon is reflected in the cup-like whorls
of the lovely flowers I gather and twirl.
—Eihei Dogen Kigen, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Since time dawned
only the dead have experienced peace;
life is snow burning in the sun.
—Nandai (1786-1817), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Like blocks in the icehouse,
unlikely to last
the year out...
—Sentoku (1661-1726), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Bury me beneath a wine barrel
in a bibber’s cellar:
with a little luck the keg will leak.
—Moriya Senan (?-1838), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Having been summoned,
I say farewell
to my house beneath the moon.
—Takuchi (1767-1846), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Learn to accept the inevitable:
the fall willow
knows when to abandon its leaves.
—Tanehiko (1782-1842), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

All evening the softest sound―
the cadence of the white camellia petals
falling
―Ranko Takakuwa (1726-1798), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Stillness:
the sound of petals
drifting down softly together ...
―Miura Chora (1729-1780), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

White plum blossoms―
though the hour grows late,
a glimpse of dawn
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The poem above is believed to be Buson's jisei (death poem) and he is said to have died before dawn.

Lately the nights
dawn
plum-blossom white.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This is a second interpretation of Buson's jisei (death poem).

In the deepening night
I saw by the light
of the white plum blossoms
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This is a third interpretation of Buson's jisei (death poem).

Returning
as it came,
this naked worm.
—Shidoken (?-1765), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

There is no death, as there is no life.
Are not the skies cloudless
And the rivers clear?
—Taiheiki Toshimoto (-1332), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

All five aspects of my fleeting human form
And the four elements of existence add up to nothing:
I bare my neck to the unsheathed sword
And its blow is but a breath of wind ...
—Suketomo (1290-1332), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Had I not known I was already dead
I might have mourned
my own passing.
—Ota Dokan (1432-1486), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

I wish only to die
swiftly, with my eyes
fixed on Mount Fuji.
—Rangai (1770-1845), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

A strident cricket
accompanies me
through autumn mountains.
—Shiko (1788-1845), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The cherry orchard’s owner
becomes compost
for his trees.
—Utsu (1813-1863), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Autumn ends,
the frogs find their place
in the earth.
—Shogetsu (1829-1899), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The night is clear;
the moon shines quietly;
the wind strums the trees like lyres...
but when I’m gone, who the hell will hear?
Farewell!
—Higan Choro aka Zoso Royo (1194-1277), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

I entered the world empty-handed
and now leave it barefoot.
My coming & going?
Two uncomplicated events
that became entangled.
—Kozan Ichikyo (1283-1360), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Brittle autumn leaves
crumble to dust
in the freezing wind.
—Takao (?-1660), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

This frigid season
nothing but the shadow
of my corpse survives.
—Tadatomo (1624-1676), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

My life was mere lunacy
until
the moon shone tonight.
Tokugen (1558-1647), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

“Isn’t it time,”
the young bride asks,
“to light the lantern?”
Ochi Etsujin (1656-1739), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

With the departing year
I have hidden my graying hair
from my parents.
Ochi Etsujin (1656-1739), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

I wish to die
under the spring cherry blossoms
and April’s full moon.
Ochi Etsujin (1656-1739), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Once again
the melon-cool moon
rises above the rice fields.
—Tanko (1665-1735), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

At long last I depart:
above me are rainless skies and a pristine moon
as pure as my heart.
—Senseki (1712-1742), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Cuckoo, lift
me up
to where clouds drift...
Uko (1686-1743), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Sixty-six,
setting sail through tranquil waters,
a breeze-blown lotus.
Usei (1698-1764), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Is it me the raven screeches for
from the spirit world
this frigid morning?
—Shukabo (1717-1775), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

To prepare for my voyage beyond,
let me don
a gown of flowers.
—Setsudo (1715-1776), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

From depths
unfathomably cold:
the oceans roar!
—Kasenjo (d. 1776), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Today Mount Hiei’s sky
with a quick change of clouds
also removes its robes.
Shogo (1731-1798), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

I cup curious ears
among the hydrangeas
hoping to hear the spring cuckoo.
—Senchojo (?-1802), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Life,
is it not like
a charcoal sketch, an obscure shadow?
—Toyokuni (?-1825), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Bitter winter winds...
but later, river willow,
remember to open your buds!
—Senryu (1717-1790), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

A fall willow tree:
unlikely to be missed
as much as the cherry blossoms.
—Senryu II (?-1818), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

My path
to Paradise
is bright with flowers.
—Sokin (?-1818), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

A willow branch
unable to reach the water
at the bottom of the vase.
—Shigenobu (?-1832), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

A night storm sighs:
"The fate of the flower is to fall" ...
rebuking all who hesitate
―Yukio Mishima, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch; this is said to have been his death poem before committing ritual suicide.

But one poet, at least, cast doubt on the death poem enterprise:

Death poems?
****** delusions―
Death is death!
―Toko, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Other haiku translations …



Masaoka Shiki

The night flies!
My life,
how much more of it remains?
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The autumn wind eludes me;
for me there are no gods,
no Buddhas
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

After killing a spider,
how lonely I felt
in the frigid night.
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Such a small child
banished to become a priest:
frigid Siberia!
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I'm trying to sleep!
Please swat the flies
lightly
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A summer river:
disdaining the bridge,
my horse gallops through water.
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

After the fireworks,
the spectators departed:
how vast and dark the sky!
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I got drunk
then wept in my sleep
dreaming of wild cherry blossoms.
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

We cannot see the moon
and yet the waves still rise
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The first morning of autumn:
the mirror I investigate
reflects my father’s face
―Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I thought I felt a dewdrop
plop
on me as I lay in bed!
― Masaoka Shiki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As thunder recedes
a lone tree stands illuminated in sunlight:
applauded by cicadas
― Masaoka Shiki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Yosa Buson

On the temple’s great bronze gong
a butterfly
snoozes.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Hard to describe:
this light sensation of being pinched
by a butterfly!
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Not to worry spiders,
I clean house ... sparingly.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Among the fallen leaves,
an elderly frog.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In an ancient well
fish leap for mosquitoes,
a dark sound.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Flowers with thorns
remind me of my hometown ...
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Reaching the white chrysanthemum
the scissors hesitate ...
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A kite floats
at the same place in the sky
where yesterday it floated ...
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Picking autumn plums
my wrinkled hands
once again grow fragrant
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A silk robe, casually discarded,
exudes fragrance
into the darkening evening
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Whose delicate clothes
still decorate the clothesline?
Late autumn wind.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

An evening breeze:
water lapping the heron’s legs.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

gills puffing,
a hooked fish:
the patient
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The stirred morning air
ruffles the hair
of a caterpillar.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Intruder!
This white plum tree
was once outside our fence!
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Tender grass
forgetful of its roots
the willow
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I believe the poem above can be taken as commentary on ungrateful children. It reminds me of Robert Hayden's "Those Winter Sundays."―MRB

Since I'm left here alone,
I'll make friends with the moon.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The hood-wearer
in his self-created darkness
misses the harvest moon
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

White blossoms of the pear tree―
a young woman reading his moonlit letter
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The pear tree flowers whitely:
a young woman reading his letter
by moonlight
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

On adjacent branches
the plum tree blossoms
bloom petal by petal―love!
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A misty spring moon ...
I entice a woman
to pay our respects
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Courtesans
purchasing kimonos:
plum trees blossoming
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The spring sea
rocks all day long:
rising and falling, ebbing and flowing ...
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As the whale
  dives
its tail gets taller!
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

While tilling the field
the motionless cloud
vanished.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Even lonelier than last year:
this autumn evening.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

My thoughts return to my Mother and Father:
late autumn
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Late autumn:
my thoughts return to my Mother and Father
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This roaring winter wind:
the cataract grates on its rocks.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

While snow lingers
in creases and recesses:
flowers of the plum
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Plowing,
not a single bird sings
in the mountain's shadow
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In the lingering heat
of an abandoned cowbarn
only the sound of the mosquitoes is dark.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The red plum's fallen petals
seem to ignite horse dung.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Dawn!
The brilliant sun illuminates
sardine heads.
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The abandoned willow shines
between bright rains
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Dew-damp grass:
the setting sun’s tears
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The dew-damp grass
weeps silently
in the setting sun
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Our life here on earth:
to what shall we compare it?
Perhaps to a rowboat
departing at daybreak,
leaving no trace of us in its wake?
—Takaha Shugyo or Yosa Buson, loose translation by Michael R. Burch



Matsuo Basho

The legs of the cranes
have been shortened
by the summer rains.
―Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A bee emerging
from deep within the peony’s hairy recesses
flies off heavily, sated
―Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A crow has settled
on a naked branch―
autumn nightfall
―Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A solitary crow
clings to a leafless branch:
autumn twilight
―Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A solitary crow
clings to a leafless branch:
phantom autumn
―Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A raven settles
on a leafless branch:
autumn nightfall
―Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A crow roosts
on a leafless branch:
autumn nightmare
―Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

NOTE: There has been a debate about the meaning of aki-no kure, which may mean one of the following: autumn evening, autumn dusk, the end of autumn. Or it seems possible that Basho may have intentionally invoked the ideas of both the end of an autumn day and the end of the season as well. In my translations I have tried to create an image of solitary crow clinging to a branch that seems like a harbinger of approaching winter and death. In the first translation I went with the least light possible: autumn twilight. In the second translation, I attempted something more ghostly. Phrases I considered include: spectral autumn, skeletal autumn, autumnal skeleton, phantom autumn, autumn nocturne, autumn nightfall, autumn nightmare, dismal autumn. In the third and fourth translations I focused on the color of the bird and its resemblance to night falling. While literalists will no doubt object, my goal is to create an image and a feeling that convey in English what I take Basho to have been trying to convey in Japanese. Readers will have to decide whether they prefer my translations to the many others that exist, but mine are trying to convey the eeriness of the scene in English.

Winter solitude:
a world awash in white,
the sound of the wind
―Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Sick of its autumn migration
my spirit drifts
over wilted fields ...
―Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), said to be his death poem, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Sick of this autumn migration
in dreams I drift
over flowerless fields ...
―Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), said to be his death poem, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

NOTE: While literalists will no doubt object to "flowerless" in the translation above ― along with other word choices in my other translations ― this is my preferred version. I think Basho's meaning still comes through. But "wilted" is probably closer to what he meant. If only we could consult him, to ask whether he preferred strictly literal prose translations of his poems, or more poetic interpretations! My guess is that most poets would prefer for their poems to remain poetry in the second language. In my opinion the differences are minor and astute readers will grok both Basho's meaning and his emotion.

Except for a woodpecker
tapping at a post,
the house is silent.
―Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

That dying cricket,
how he goes on about his life!
―Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Like a glorious shrine―
on these green, budding leaves,
the sun’s intense radiance.
―Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Kobayashi Issa

Right at my feet!
When did you arrive here,
snail?
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I toss in my sleep,
so watch out,
cricket!
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In a better world
I'd leave you my rice bowl,
little fly!
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

All's well with the world:
another fly's sharing our rice!
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Cries of the wild geese―
spreading rumors about me?
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Wake up, old tomcat,
then with elaborate yawns and stretchings
prepare to pursue love
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

An enormous frog!
We stare at each other,
both petrified.
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Skinny frog,
hang on ...
Issa to the rescue!
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

While a cicada
sings softly
a single leaf falls ...
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The cry of a pheasant,
as if it just noticed
the mountain.
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As I stumble home at dusk,
heavy with her eggs
a spider blocks me.
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

All the while I'm praying to Buddha
I'm continually killing mosquitoes.
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This windy nest?
Open your hungry mouth in vain,
Issa, orphaned sparrow!
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The ghostly cow comes
mooing mooing mooing
out of the morning mist
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

If anyone comes, child,
don't open the gate
or the melons will flee!
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

It's not at all anxious to bloom,
the plum tree at my gate.
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Our world of dew
is a world of dew indeed;
and yet, and yet ...
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Full moon―
my ramshackle hut
is an open book.
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Oh, brilliant moon
can it be true
that even you
must rush off, late
for some date?
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Oh, brilliant moon
can it be true that even you
must rush off, tardy?
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The snow melts
and the village is flooded with children!
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Don't weep, we are all insects!
Lovers, even the stars themselves,
must eventually part.
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In our world
we walk suspended over hell
admiring flowers.
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Standing beneath cherry blossoms
who can be strangers?
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Petals I amass
with such tenderness
***** me to the quick.
― Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Standing unsteadily,
I am the scarecrow’s
skinny surrogate
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Autumn wind ...
She always wanted to pluck
the reddest roses
―Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Issa wrote the haiku above after the death of his daughter Sato with the note: “Sato, girl, 35th day, at the grave.”



Other Poets

A pity to pluck,
A pity to pass ...
Ah, violet!
―Naojo, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch


Silence:
a single chestnut leaf
sinks through clear water ...
―Shohaku, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

New Haiku Translations, Added 10/6/2020

Air ballet:
twin butterflies, twice white,
meet, match & mate
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Denied transformation
into a butterfly,
autumn worsens for the worm
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Dusk-gliding swallow,
please spare my small friends
flitting among the flowers!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Up and at ’em! The sky goes bright!
Let’***** the road again,
Companion Butterfly!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Higher than a skylark,
resting on the breast of heaven:
mountain pass.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Farewell,
my cloud-parting friend!
Wild goose migrating.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

A crow settles
on a leafless branch:
autumn nightfall.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

An exciting struggle
with such a sad ending:
cormorant fishing.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Secretly,
by the light of the moon,
a worm bores into a chestnut.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

This strange flower
investigated by butterflies and birds:
the autumn sky
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Where’s the moon tonight?
Like the temple bell:
lost at sea.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Spring departs;
birds wail;
the pale eyes of fish moisten.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon still appears,
though far from home:
summer vagrant.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Cooling the pitiless sun’s
bright red flames:
autumn wind.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Saying farewell to others
while being told farewell:
departing autumn.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  
Traveling this road alone:
autumn evening.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Thin from its journey
and not yet recovered:
late harvest moon.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Occasional clouds
bless tired eyes with rest
from moon-viewing.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The farmboy
rests from husking rice
to reach for the moon.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon aside,
no one here
has such a lovely face.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon having set,
all that remains
are the four corners of his desk.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The moon so bright
a wandering monk carries it
lightly on his shoulder.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The Festival of Souls
is obscured
by smoke from the crematory.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

The Festival of Souls!
Smoke from the crematory?
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Family reunion:
those with white hair and canes
visiting graves.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

One who is no more
left embroidered clothes
for a summer airing.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

What am I doing,
writing haiku on the threshold of death?
Hush, a bird’s song!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

Fallen ill on a final tour,
in dreams I go roving
earth’s flowerless moor.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Striken ill on a senseless tour,
still in dreams I go roving
earth’s withered moor.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Stricken ill on a journey,
in dreams I go wandering
withered moors.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch




Today, catching sight of the mallards
crying over Lake Iware:
Must I too vanish into the clouds?
—Prince Otsu (663-686), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch  

This world—
to what may we compare it?
To autumn fields
lying darkening at dusk
illuminated by lightning flashes.
—Minamoto no Shitago (911-983), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

This world—to what may we liken it?
To autumn fields lit dimly at dusk,
illuminated by lightning flashes.
—Minamoto no Shitago (911-983), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Like a half-exposed rotten log
my life, which never flowered,
ends barren.
—Minamoto Yorimasa (1104-1180), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Overtaken by darkness,
I will lodge under a tree’s branches;
cherry blossoms will cushion me tonight.
—Taira no Tadanori (1144–1184), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Overtaken by darkness,
I will lodge under a cherry tree’s branches;
flowers alone will bower me tonight.
—Taira no Tadanori (1144–1184), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Let me die in spring
beneath the cherry blossoms
while the moon is full.
—Saigyo (1118-1190), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

 
Both victor and vanquished
are but dewdrops
in which lightning bolts illuminate the void.
—Ôuchi Yoshitaka (1507-1551), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Even a life of long prosperity is like a single cup of sake;
my life of forty-nine years flashed by like a dream.
Nor do I know what life is, nor death.
All the years combined were but a fleeting dream.
Now I step beyond both Heaven and Hell
To stand alone in the moonlit dawn,
Free from the mists of attachment.
—Uesugi Kenshin (1530-1578), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

My life appeared like dew
and disappears like dew.
All Naniwa was a series of dreams.
—Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-1598), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Felt deeply in my heart:
How beautiful the snow,
Clouds gathering in the west.
—Issho (-1668), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Brittle cicada shell,
little did I know
that you were my life!
—Shoshun (-1672), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch 

Inhale, exhale.
Forward, reverse.
Live, die.
Let arrows fly, meet midway and sever the void in aimless flight:
Thus I return to the Source.
—Gesshu Soko (-1696), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem)by Michael R. Burch

My body?
Pointless
as the tree’s last persimmon.
—Seisa (-1722), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Farewell! I pass
away as all things do:
dew drying on grass.
—Banzan (-1730), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
A tempestuous sea ...
Flung from the deck —
this block of ice.
—Choha (-1740), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Empty cicada shell:
we return as we came,
naked.
—Fukaku (-1753), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Since I was born,
I must die,
and so …
—Kisei (1688-1764), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Let us arise and go,
following the path of the clear dew.
—Fojo (-1764), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Depths of the cold,
unfathomable ocean’s roar.
—Kasenjo (-1776), loose translation/interpretation of her jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch 

Things never stand still,
not even for a second:
consider the trees’ colors.
—Seiju (-1776), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Lately the nights
dawn
plum-blossom white.
—Yosa Buson (-1783), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Bitter winter winds!
But later, river willow,
reopen your buds ...
—Senryu (-1790), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Who cares
where aimless clouds are drifting?
—Bufu (-1792), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch 

What does it matter how long I live,
when a tortoise lives many times as long?
—Issa (-1827), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

Like a lotus leaf’s evaporating dew,
I vanish.
—Senryu (-1827), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Man’s end:
this mound of albescent bones,
this brief flowering sure to fade ...
—Hamei (-1837), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
When I kick the bucket,
bury me beneath a tavern’s cellar wine barrel;
with a little luck the cask will leak.
—Moriya Sen’an (-1838), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch  

Frost on a balmy day:
all I leave is the water
that washed my brush.
—Tanaka Shutei (1810-1858, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Though moss may overgrow
my useless corpse,
the seeds of patriotism shall never decay.
—Nomura Boto (1806-1867), loose translation/interpretation of her jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch

My aging body:
a drop of dew
bulging at the leaf-cliff.
—Kiba (-1868), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Forbearing the night
with its growing brilliance:
the summer moon.
—Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Blow if you must,
autumn wind,
but the flowers have already faded.
—Gansan (-1895), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Time to go ...
They say this journey is a long trek:
this final change of robes.
—Roshu (-1899), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
The moon departs;
frost paralyzes the morning glories.
— Kato (-1908), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch
  
Stumble,
tumble,
fall,
slide down the slippery snow *****.
— Getsurei (-1919), loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) by Michael R. Burch  



Original Haiku

Celebrate the New Year?
The cat is not impressed,
the dogs shiver.
―Michael R. Burch


Keywords/Tags: Haiku, Zen, death, Japan, Japanese, translation, life, aging, time, pain, sorrow, lament, mrbhaiku
Sarina  Apr 2013
camellia drive
Sarina Apr 2013
Summer was
******* on sugarcane and cinnamon peels
handed from your grandparents, occasionally mine
when our roller-skates made love to cracks in
                             the sidewalk
          our knees were drunk on its feathers
so many specks of moss get caught in there, too

    you taught me not to cry
or have that formaldehyde-chugging look
until I hit the bunkbed; your sheets made my sweat
look so much worse
                          we got anything we could want.

I wanted to kiss you when your wore your
Popsicle lipstick, a freeze cracking the crib of your
       mouth and circling buzzards around.

But how does a girl say
   she would rather have someone than a cigarette  
      stick of candy from the ice cream man –
the ones she would twirl like cherry stems
    and feign middle school maturity?

  We would whisper about things at night
with the lamp off, our pants down
                                                   but never ever love:
love is for adults. Love is Mardi Gras in the city
           not powdered sugar from beignets
   or the kind of beads you settle around your neck.

I wanted to be the bayou you swam in,
cast your fishing pole at the underbelly of and
  counted how many seconds it took to lift back up.
I wanted to be a chest you put
         your personal belongings in, a treasure box.
Most of all, I wanted
                          to be your personal belonging
              the treasure you immediately thought of –
        but that is not what Summer was.
Raj Arumugam Oct 2010
the camellias are held out
by a branch
as if to invite any passerby
to see the delicate flowers
and the beauty of it
and the silence of it
and the moment of it;
but it is a bird that comes by
that comes to sit on the branch
to come to no purpose it seems but to sit
as if to say to the branch
to show to the camellias and the branch
to point to the beauty of it
the silence of it
and the moment of it
as the bird sits on the branch
companion art piece: Camellia and a Lonely Bird, Zhou Shuxi, 17 th century, Qing Dynasty, China, Nanjing Museum
Pure? What does it mean?
The tongues of hell
Are dull, dull as the triple

Tongues of dull, fat Cerebus
Who wheezes at the gate. Incapable
Of licking clean

The aguey tendon, the sin, the sin.
The tinder cries.
The indelible smell

Of a snuffed candle!
Love, love, the low smokes roll
From me like Isadora's scarves, I'm in a fright

One scarf will catch and anchor in the wheel.
Such yellow sullen smokes
Make their own element. They will not rise,

But trundle round the globe
Choking the aged and the meek,
The weak

Hothouse baby in its crib,
The ghastly orchid
Hanging its hanging garden in the air,

Devilish leopard!
Radiation turned it white
And killed it in an hour.

Greasing the bodies of adulterers
Like Hiroshima ash and eating in.
The sin. The sin.

Darling, all night
I have been flickering, off, on, off, on.
The sheets grow heavy as a lecher's kiss.

Three days. Three nights.
Lemon water, chicken
Water, water make me retch.

I am too pure for you or anyone.
Your body
Hurts me as the world hurts God. I am a lantern ----

My head a moon
Of Japanese paper, my gold beaten skin
Infinitely delicate and infinitely expensive.

Does not my heat astound you. And my light.
All by myself I am a huge camellia
Glowing and coming and going, flush on flush.

I think I am going up,
I think I may rise ----
The beads of hot metal fly, and I, love, I

Am a pure acetylene
******
Attended by roses,

By kisses, by cherubim,
By whatever these pink things mean.
Not you, nor him.

Not him, nor him
(My selves dissolving, old ***** petticoats) ----
To Paradise.
Nabs  Dec 2015
Hanakotoba
Nabs Dec 2015
By: Nabs

    When I was little, my mother often gave me flowers.

She would make me a crown of Primroses that smells like the day my father left us.
I would smile and dance a little twirl that had her smiling fondly. Her little princess, Said she couldn't live with out me.
I believed her.

Right before my mother decided to stop breathing, she gave me a bouquet of Lily of the valley.

I never knew that apology was poisonous.

    The day I turned fifteen, my grandmother gave me a book on flowers, It was written with green ink and bound in human skin. Said that It was family heirloom. Said that the universe needed someone who understand Hana. Said that I was born to understand only them and to remember that flowers are ephemeral.

I cradled the book, feeling as if the world was spinning. Opening it feels like coming home after a long time of drowning.

By the time I realized, a bush of Basil and beds of Petunias were growing in my home like ****. The color should have been red instead of purple.

      I met you when you were giving a bundle of daisy to a boy.
The boy scoffed and slapped the daisies to the ground. It's petal were falling apart just as blue and black blooms like an eager bud on you. Your body were taut as a string but your face was smiling, the kind of smile I couldn't decipher the meaning.

I picked the daisies up and asked if i could keep it.  You said only if I gave you my name.

You were wreathed with White Hyacinth and Pine leaves. It suits you.

    You told me one day, after you gave me a Bleeding Heart, that I needed to learn more than the languages that flower speak. That I needed to learn human.
I asked to you why do you say that?
You looked at me, with a little smile and a soft look on your face. Told me that I was too oblivious, I was more flower than human. I frowned and said," That hurts".
You laughter was much more sweeter than any Honeysuckle.

Though I still didnt understand your laughter nor the bleeding heart.

    The sight of our hands lacing together, looks much more delicate than Queen Anne laces. It made me aware of the dips of your lips, how warm your callouses hands were and the way you sometimes darts to sneak a glance at me with warmth in your eyes when you thought I wasn't looking.
I would feel my heart thumping loudly and I would disentangle our hands, trying to hide the tremors in my hands. You would pursed your lips and cracked a joke.

The next day I received a bouquet of Lilacs and red Peonies. It was too beautiful and I was already withering.

    You often asked If I was ok. I said I was. You would go rigid at that and started to pull down all the blinds to your soul. But that day when I answered I was ok, you gave me an Orange mock.
Said that I can trust you. You left with out meeting my eyes.

That night, I left a single Aster on your window sill. Hoping I did the right thing.

    The thing was, I was scared. Not of you, no never of you. That I swear on White Lilies and Myrtles that we bound ourself to.
It's just, every time I'm with you I want to bare my self naked. To let you see how the parasites are growing inside me, withering me as it did my mother. My grandmother would say that it is our legacy we cannot escape. To grow and bloom then wither ourself after the peak.

My Grandmother was a Sakura tree, My Mother an Ajisai, and I was a Tsubaki.

My mother was supposed to lived longer than me. But Hydrangeas needed their rain or they'll wither away.

    You told me once, that I remind you of Wisterias. Always enduring even after the cruelest storm. I grimaced and whacked you on the back. Said that you were an idiot for thinking that. You laughed again and tickled me until I asked for mercy.

I feel less Tsubaki and more human with you.

    I never let you go to my home because I could not bear the thoughts of you seeing the lawn strewn Marigolds, the grief that latched itself to the soil.
How the yards was filled with weeds and plants that was tangling them self to choke each other. How the walls was bare and the furniture was only enough to survive. The only thing that was lending colors to my home were the branches of Plum Blossom and bouquet of Lilacs and Peonies that seems to not wither away.

This home would not hold further.

    I gave you Blue Carnations the night when vines were choking my lungs, making it hard for me to breathe.

You said they were beautiful, and smiled a serene smile. I wanted to kiss you so bad, but I was leaking clear salty sap, that was rolling down my cheeks. I told you all about Hana and all about my family. How bare my home is and how you are my Iris, my good news, my good tidings.

You hugged me, not minding the sap that's staining your shirt. I didn't see the Red Camellia you were tucking in my hair.

  The day when I almost gave you Red Daisies and Lungwort was the day I found out that you had severe allergy to flowers.
That breathing their pollen would shorten your life as the breath you took became a privilege that you were slowly losing.
I asked, "why would you endanger yourself like that?".
"I love flowers, that's all", you said with an uncaring shrug.
The thoughts of you withering away, made me nauseous.

I went home throwing away the Daisies and Lungwort, Burning down the marigolds and Petunias.

The only thing was left were Hana and the bouquet of Lilacs and Red Peonies.

  I never get to told you that my roots was withering.

  When you found me lying on my home, covered with Primroses, Camellias, and Blood Red Poppies, I know that you knew. In your hand were Peach Blossoms and they were so very beautiful.
You cradled me close to your chest. Whispering that I will be okay, that It's unfair for me to do this to him.
"I know", I rasped. My voice was barely working and Black-Red sap was steadily tricking from the corner of my lips.

  When I saw my mother walking down to me, carrying a basket full of Sweet Peas, Volkamenia, and Yarrows, I understand what your smile meant the first we met.

It was Red Camellias, Love and acceptence
Thank you for reading this long poem.
This is a tribute for flowers.
Hope you guys enjoy it.

— The End —