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Ham Aloufi Dec 2014
Inhale. Exhale…
Close your eyes, and let your worries out
Inhale. Exhale…
Let your hope bloom, and sprout
Inhale. Exhale…
The sand watch is broken
Inhale. Exhale…
You’re showering beneath the flakes of time
Inhale. Exhale…
Time is but sand slipping through your fingers
Inhale. Exhale…
Send out your screams. Send out your shout.
Inhale. Exhale…
Open your heart, and ears out
Inhale. Exhale…
Lesson, and hear.
Inhale. Exhale…
Now tell me what you feel. Tell me what you hear?
Inhale. Exhale…
That’s right. That’s what you hear
Inhale. Exhale…
That’s your echo. There is no help there is no hero
Inhale. Exhale…
There is but you
Inhale. Exhale…
You plant the field by day, and rest at night
Inhale. Exhale…
There is no stop in the clock
Inhale. Exhale…
There is no walls, there are but stepping blocks
Inhale. Exhale…
Don’t worry the sand is but a fall
Inhale. Exhale…
The waves will bring you to your knees
Inhale. Exhale…
The waves will tear you apart
Inhale. Exhale…
Watch your world break. Watch your world rip asunder
Inhale. Exhale…
See that lighting shredding the sky, watching it fall as burned leaves
Inhale. Exhale…
Open your eyes, and see
Inhale. Exhale…
You are but in a field
Inhale. Exhale…
You are but in a room
Inhale. Exhale…
You are chained to your fears
Inhale. Exhale…
The more you fear the more you lose
Inhale. Exhale…
The more you fear the more you sink
Inhale. Exhale…
There is no god, there is no hero
Inhale. Exhale…
There is but you
Inhale. Exhale…
We all know we are going to die babe
Inhale. Exhale…
Let’s die fighting or die trying
Inhale. Exhale…
Alvin Jul 2019
THE LIGHT SHINES
Inhale the puddle,exhale curiosity
Inhale innocence,exhale youthfulness
Inhale independence,exhale dependency
THE LIGHT SHINES
Inhale money,exhale career
Inhale home,exhale homelessness
Inhale honesty,exhale deception
THE LIGHT SHINES
Inhale health,exhale sickness
Inhale smiles,exhale teeth
Inhale sleep,exhale insomnia
THE LIGHT SHINES
Inhale relationships,exhale loneliness
Inhale love,exhale hate
Inhale reality,exhale hallucinations
THE LIGHT SHINES
Inhale self-esteem,exhale self-esteem
Inhale dignity,exhale dignity
Inhale life,exhale...
THE RED LIGHTS SHINE
Graced Lightning May 2015
A faint buzzing sound and our out-of-sync breathing is all that can be heard.
Every few moments the buzzing stops, only to be replaced by a quiet tap
Buzz. tap. Inhale .buzz. exhale. Tap .inhale. inhale. buzz
“he thinks it’s the moon” she says
the mysterious bug continues to fling himself at the dim lamp. Tap
“he’s going to burn his wings off and die” I murmur.
Buzz.  Inhale. Tap. Inhale. Buzz. Exhale. Exhale. Tap.
“but if bugs could think, his last thought would be
‘I reached the moon’”
she looks at me. Back at the bug.
I’ve named him Oscar,
Buzz. Inhale. Tap. Exhale. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. Exhale.
Loving her is a lot like flinging myself at
a fluorescent light. Everyone around me sees my
stupidity but all I can see is the moon and the
endless ocean tide it brings
buzz tap inhale inhale exhale
all I can see are the galaxies in her eyes and thunderstorms on her tongue.
Buzz. Tap. Inhale exhale buzz exhale tap
My wings are burning off but ******* is the moon beautiful.
Inhale buzz inhale tap exhale exhale inhale silence.
“I think he’s gone” she’s staring at the lightbulb
“yeah” I whisper. I’m staring at the moon.
She looks beautiful tonight, all messy-haired and barefoot.
Inhale exhale inhale exhale inhale inhale exhale silence.
We did it, Oscar. We reached the moon.
Queen-Midas May 2016
Inhale, Exhale*
Watch the smoke dancing in the light
Inhale, Exhale
Grab the light before it vanishes into the night
Inhale, Exhale
Drowning deep in the ocean blue
Inhale, Exhale
I'm burning too
Inhale, Exhale
Battle scars linger forever on broken hearts
Inhale, Exhale
Wipe your wet eyes
Inhale, Exhale
Let the curtains go up
Inhale, Exhale
The show has just begun
One scar faded away another is just about to show.
Corey J Grace Feb 2016
Inhale. Exhale.
I've lost something, but I'm not quite certain of what.
It's feels like when you reach for a wallet or a phone.
Knowing it's there only to find it's not.
There's a brief moment of lightning panic
as you completely blank on where you left them.
I live in that moment now.
Inhale. Exhale.
I know what I need is close, painfully so.
It's in the space between heart beats.
In the lines connecting my memories.
The dust in my dying mind.
Inhale. Exhale.
It had a name I know.
A name that somehow felt like home.
Like it was written in every cell and every bone.
Yet not at all especially special from the others.
Inhale. Exhale.
I breathe and I breathe.
And slowly ever so slowly.
I feel the thrum and vibrations
I feel the noise and chaos
I feel the endless connected expanse.
Inhale. Exhale.
Everything me rushes away like a wayward wave.
I see the rubik pieces of a life in front of me.
I see the mistakes and the losses.
I see too the victories and the happiness.
Inhale. Exhale.
As ever reality comes rising, looming.
But I see the worries and the fears.
I seem them and know their weight.
Like an old pair of jeans or shoes.
Fitting just to you and so familiar.
Inhale. Exhale.
But this is ok.
Because I remember as you always do.
Where we left the most important things to us.
I know her name as I always would.
Who could forget a part of their soul?
Inhale. Exhale.
For T.
Tea Feb 2021
Why are we scared to breathe?
Is it because we are scared something good might leave?
Is it because we don't want to be heard?
Or do we see something that is feared?
It's so easy though...
Easy steps to follow:
Inhale...
Exhale...
And repeat...
Inhale...
Exhale...
Suddenly life is sweet...
Inhale...
Exhale...
Listen to that sound...
Inhale...
Exhale...
Isn't it a bit more peaceful all around?
Inhale...
Exhale...
Breathing is keeping us alive...
Inhale...
Exhale...
So soft, sweet, like a small wave...
Inhale...
Exhale...
Like the sea, going back and forth...
Inhale...
Exhale...
A soft breeze gliding over the earth...
Inhale...
Exhale...
Beautiful, indeed...
Like a small plant coming out a seed...
Inhale...
Exhale...
Continue lifetime-long...
You can because you are strong...
SE Reimer Oct 2015
(the native way)

~


inhale... exhale...
the native way;
an exfoliation,
shedding of
her stunning gown,
plunging softly,
down, down, down,
conflagration’s
consummation,
pregnant pause
by nature’s laws,
until...
nativity’s birth
quenches,
spiritual thirst
experiences,
renewal of her
earthen existence!

exhale...
her lines...
fairly breathed;
inhale...
a respite...
well received!
an earthen blessing,
fallen resting;
inhale… exhale…
lulled to lay
in deepest slumber,
rocking, floating,
gentle ‘lighting
‘neath her boughs
of native wonder.
inhale… exhale…
inhale… exhale…
inhale… exhale…
breathe…
receive...
sweetest dreams!

~

post script.

Christi Michaels...
her exhalation, my inspiration
http://hellopoetry.com/poem/1441952/indian-summer/
no more needs said... except,
thank you, Christi!
Rose Flows Sep 2014
Inhale exhale
Counting breaths
Can’t stop the thoughts from
Flooding.
Have to stop the thoughts from
Flooding.
Before the day begins.
Before feet hit the floor.
Inhale exhale
Counting breaths
The only way to
Calm the mind.
Inhale exhale
Can’t stop the mind
Can’t stop the mind from
Running.
Lengthen breath-
Inhale 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 exhale 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Inhale 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 exhale 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
The thoughts fly in one ear
And out the other.
Out **** thoughts.
Out I say.

Relax the feet
Relax the ankles
Relax the calves
Relax the knees
Relax the thighs
Relax the hips
Relax the stomach
Relax the chest
Relax the shoulders
Relax the neck
Relax the mouth
Relax the face
Relax the mind
Relax the mind
Inhale Exhale
Relax the mind
Relax the mind
Exhale 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8…
A note on my meditation.
Sydney Noxon Jul 2018
Exhale~
A cloud of white leaving your lungs,
along with the weight of the world on your shoulders,
the stress of a long day,
the loneliness you face every second.
The drug becomes your partner,
the only stable part of your life.

Exhale~
A cloud of white leaving your lungs,
along with these emotions you don’t want to face,
the emotions that bring you to a dark place,
that even antidepressants can’t fix.

Exhale~
A cloud of white leaving your lungs,
Sinking sinking sinking
into your seat.
Falling falling falling
out of touch with reality.

Exhale~
A cloud of white leaving your lungs
Cannot wait to get out of my head.
Is this even enjoyable anymore?
Or am I just hiding from myself?

Exhale~
You need to stop

Exhale~
Why can’t you stop

Exhale~
Where did I go
Who am I
What have I become
About ****, channeling my previous alcoholism
Cameiyah Aug 2017
Grind it up
Roll it up
Spark it up
Smoke it

Inhale, Exhale
Don't waste it
Inhale until you feel it in your eyes, your mind and your chest
As you exhale, let your worries leave as well as your stress

Inhale, Exhale
Don't be so serious
Have a little fun
Play with your smoke
Round your mouth and blow some o's
Inhale through the right pipe and Make the smoke leave through your nose

Inhale, Exhale
Don't stand up, Just sit down
Sink back, Lay back
Close your eyes, Relax your mind

Inhale, Exhale
Enjoy the temporary serenity
Enjoy the temporary silence
Cause after it has ran it's course
It always comes back
Tessa F Feb 2013
Breathe in one
Exhale two
Breathe in three
Exhale four

Breathe in love
Exhale hate
Breathe in healing
Exhale pain

Find your center
Calm your mind
Things don't go right
All the time

Learn to let go
Don't suffocate
Go with the flow
And don't deflate

The world is ever changing
There's nothing you can grasp
So why bother crying
When you can't erase the past

If something is painful
Stop right away
But there's no stopping the rainfall
On your sunny day

So grab your Wellington boots
We're gonna get drippy
But there's nothing that can't be solved
With some dancing and skipping

Free yourself
Bad times don't last
Be yourself
Before today's your last

Breathe in happy
Exhale stress
Breathe in beauty
Exhale ugliness

Breathe in one
Exhale two
Breathe in three
Exhale four
Kitt Nov 2021
inhale.
Erebus swallows the sunlight, plunging you down
into the thick, suffocating darkness
wrapping your body like silk sheets
dark sheets, not black but dark
dark in the way that the crack in your ceiling was
when you were six, and water damage from the upstairs
broke through the plaster and left a void
it grinned at you, sending shivers of evil down your spine
and it laughed when you screamed for your mom.

exhale.
You are not six anymore.
the ceiling has been patched for years.
static from the TV fills the soulless motel room
you had put it on for the white noise
of garish and noisy cartoons,
hoping they might drown out the silence
but the wind storm outside must have knocked out the cable
because now it is static.
just black and white dots aimlessly filling empty space and time
like you.

inhale.
It has been a long time since you have rested.
when was the last time you slept?
sleeping seems as chaotic as waking,
so it's hard to tell.
is that patter rain?
is it the sink? or a neighbor's shower?
but then again, does it even really matter?
it feels forbidden, yet inevitable that you would wind up here
maybe you should get out while you still can.

exhale.
Who are you?

inhale.
Why are you?

exhale.
Does it matter?

exhale.
Does anything matter?

exhale.
Do you matter?

exhale.

rest, now. the answers will not come.
so forget it.
forget the pain,
the sorrow,
the deliberation.
exhale, and rest forever.

exhale.
exhale.
exh...
Jellyfish Oct 2015
Dizzy not silly
tears are forming
inhale - exhale
feelings swarming.

Maybe it'll rain
wash away this pain
inhale - exhale
today.

Drowning
you're not
around me
inhale - exhale
just surround me.

No apathy
lines are discrete
inhale - exhale
inside empty sheets.

Feelings ricochet
please don't
go away
inhale - exhale
nothing remains.
Not sure if I wrote the title right or not.
Hopefully you'll get what I mean though.
caroline kealler Dec 2017
there you lay so pure with innocence
so pure until the devil put thoughts into your head
he put anxiety
he put nightmares
but here i am willing to help
your heart beat feels so fast
i look at you and tell you
inhale
exhale
you take deep breaths
your mind becomes sane again
all is fine
all is pure
but soon as we are older you see the others you want to fit in
so you loose all sanity again trying to beat your glowing down to fit in
but i look at you and say
inhale
exhale
all is fine again
we find new friends with the coming year but little did I know it was more to keep track of
more heart to keep pure
only one of their hearts stays pure no matter the devils obstacles
but for the rest I tell them
inhale exhale
inhale exhale
all is fine at least i thought
behind my back you along with everyone else except for the pure
you guys go behind my back making me think everything is fine
until i see the smoke under your breath until i can see through your excuses finallly i figure out everything
i watch you
you put it towards your lips
followed by a yolo
then you
inhale
exhale
and it is done
all goes black
and your glowing is gone.
like know just time mind life feel world lost say we're things think love there's does people night away way thought got words long reality want better left make end eyes day man human dark experience remember really right death memory going place high good live city thoughts soul meaning great pain home sky believe shall change living oh fall light choice god consciousness existence years cause hard feeling thinking fear times 'cause dreams ask alive heart need past felt days dream sensation truth true use power knowledge wrong stars understand baby tell state thing face wave broken old you'll wave new broken nature you'll **** mental look far ah drug moment best ago air lose sleep dare try leave beautiful blue born lives escape sublime doesn't body dawn friends waiting feels young daze game control perception gone story mean sun head given writing act difference reason poetry philosophy psyche little trying touch deep greatest wonder choose drugs exist we'll moments score hold play set run self forget coming hope word future dead wish burn music emotion rain stop gaze pleasure glass one's what's lies sense wake hit remain real work bad stay open brain art seek space present happy spent acid pill social we've they're half-light used land held gotta help lie path finally listen actually longing rave water cold seeking caught energy reflection information anymore venturous goes came red hide start truly hand evil divine subtle matter kind lonely yes told eternity keeps line black edge ego context dusk horizon gonna spiritual tripping dimension data die white **** seen means care getting saw places sure freedom looking hurt fool wind flow search chance la took broke existential summer content flowing belief praise empyrean empathy discovery chemical aeon couldn't who's turn forth bit question eye judgement pray passion sound personal worth memories sanity accept universe embrace lack knows free makes rise language decide consider temporal society gain wander conscious stuff religious comprehend particle psychedelic metaphysics you've entheon absurdia entactus maybe ready fate realize family meant return perfect learn miss spirit doubt rest loved minds health moving mortal bring expression sleeping cast lines purpose quiet known strange infinite king months madness haze depths ate party patterns oneself psychedelion inside guess crowd later silent clear soft breath hours hate dust forgotten arms drink fast year war longer close searching morning ashes calm beauty darkness different justice fell friend shadows knowing fine youth heavy standing sweet enjoy explain vain simple chasing hidden ends smoke gold heaven follow point person breaking necessary today relief action cool possible bass generation lying listening machine yeah substance hath engine forlorn problem subject intangible study effort quantum definitions dopamine psychedelics we'd sigma cybran apotheon isn't empathion clouds practice gave warm wanted stand poem wait storm met 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refrain renewal myths manifest nocturnal reflections limitations teenager naturally material matrix columbine giveth inseparable singular proving lifestyle coherence humane ideals starlight sincerely prudence underworld infamous perspective presented pretends excitation viewed regard enhanced zen reverence arcadia theory realization typing construct statement subjugated exploration vote hazy reaper **** streetlight artificial trespass definitive device exceed complex finality surreal petrol proposition inspiring totality originally recurring narcotic cometh juxtaposition reckoning represent inability proclamation syntax continuity nevermind avoidance irrelevant veracious arcadian commence rumination aesthetics ubiquitous nonetheless variable exploit experiencing underlying villain cola rictus ketamine corporeal electronic graciously input cannabis manifestation comprised socially proportionate insofar ethical hedonism junkies vicissitudes cognitive determining psychiatrist palindrome lucidity remix reduction dissociative reclamation detract aer enhancement intoxicants qualia world's shouldn't wouldn't other's nothing's man's summer's today's who'd everybody's y'all 'the all's t'was ethereality thought's drug's noumenon skystruck shroom alexithymia transhuman you- -the in-between self-sufficiency -one zed's 15 11 liminality immanence adrenergic symbionts sublimeoblivious medina's buckfast psychonautes determinative serotonergic psychedelos skyglow cyclica 5-ht2a noumena pharmahuasca jeans role proper loud aching grows concrete cruel strains conversation ill paint wet couple calling mouth kiss senses case keeper torn pause middle setting whats pulling bone reminds likely remind wrath karma reading sunlight prone ***** phrase enemy familiar levels careful source adolescent small straight driving courage rush flaw suppose starting deny stayed weary worship trust turbulent troubled letting absence leaving wearing college proclaim spirits gather ear lady hey garden boys winning alcohol pay foolishly banish song cross encounters plays belonging famous shift burst alice tunes hood flickers glimpse gleam fleeting grant ride deja vu anticipation spot switch boyfriend order faded wrapped definitely short fish beach clock older dusted block station anchor longest deserve passing mark awhile lovers muse ache island totally existing comfort pride phone greek apollo bleeding unknown psychic powder remembrance tree train helps painted gambling tide tired acting blow build apologies silver fabric especially suspense band cascade flawless heat hunger nearly numb bread bright minus wide looks differently dive beating veins settle turning couch holds saying impression suspension meaningless plastic rich pointless occupied brief tiger sticks stones mask cake bitter concentrate drown forbidden shell dry walks unless regardless moved type shirt lone burns songs negative momentary staying police swing unseen ability analysis worries determined dreamt sink hopelessly chances abuse palm week existed ignorant blind dice sheep agree joke spy spill odds immeasurable *** pushing wanderlust softly midst presents blade guided ripped round ball lovely rhythms beats cars glaze wash fates evening vein gloss juvenile sides faces graces month circular rung wheel rises permeates father supreme portal liked rip fades october sitting grin showing surrounded explored opened confused wall quietly deftly scene sighs lingering radio altered evaporated suns dreamed vibration important appetite exactly devil inhabiting brains ordinary beckons constant local organic soothing linger meditation moonlight lads height ethereal simplicity kinda cigarette suggest violence blew bombs arise trips predict surface guy movements grey car stepped large bank forward landed lied ancient purely crash direction inspired release warned melodic rhythmic telling mysticism blues riddle blur floating drama neck lover nerve poisonous glare factory wage character suburbia escaped gates suspended followed pierced hall marks ruled influence functioning contained losing stopping effect electronica relate fed temper facts dependent malleable convey bent delve horror wolves won lacking certainly fooled temple oblivious watches extension molecular random subtlety rem price sear covers truths judging stage frost conditions victory millennium realised confront trickster eve daughter defines awoke terror remembere
Composed on 00:53, 21/09/2016 using Hello Poetry's 'Words' algorithm. We don't assume this means something.
Ana Habib Feb 2018
There is only 30 minutes to get this right
She sets the paper down in front of me
Inhale then exhale I tell myself
I look over the test it is all multiple choice
My least favorite kind
My heart starts beating faster at this
Inhale then exhale I tell myself
I try to circle in as many of the right answers in the next 20 minutes
I can do this!
Just Inhale then exhale I tell myself
Oh no! Everything is starting to go blank now
It feels like all the knowledge is starting to slowly seep out my brain and leak from my ears
I sit tight and close my eyes
Inhale and exhale
The questions do not make sense anymore
Is it B or D
I erase my original answer and began to second guess myself
The pencil shakes in my hand
Inhale and Exhale
I give my eyes a quick rub and read the questions one more
No that's not right Its D not B
I Inhale--
Time's up!
#ew
Alja Jun 2020
Inhale, exhale, ihnale, exhale
put on a mask!
don't try to be different, if you want to be happy
just be lika everybody
dull
pessimistic
monotone
inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale
don't you dare to be different, if you want to be happy!
different people are dangerous, weird, odd, strange....
inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale......
Luisa C Jun 2016
inhale emptiness,
exhale loneliness.
walls don't come with ears but
the feeling of madness as my crackling voice
bounces off of its dead cold surface,
filling the space with my desperate words,
and reminding me of the prisoner i am.

inhale dread,
exhale panic.
lungs don't fill with air but the torrent of ***** water
to leave me shaking and unclean, ease only arriving
when wondering if a rope around my neck
would hurt less than the thoughts cramming,
screaming in my head.

inhale smoke,
exhale death.
the candle of my soul is melting,
the last weak flames flickering against my unfeeling skin
and releasing the ashes through my veins.
set me free, set me free, set me
free.

but i can find a door within my cell,
or crash through it like a warrior.

but water can clear lands and clean hands,
washing away the pain with calming ocean waves,
flooding my eyes with newly made life.

but the fires can warm up my numb surface
and light my way out of the dark.

inhale hope,
exhale.
like know just time mind feel life world say people things lost we're does love think there's away long way thought night got words want better day human left right remember man dark end reality memory experience going make really eyes place 'cause good death tell great feeling soul home high consciousness live pain thoughts fear understand fall thing city sky believe god meaning thinking lose change oh felt hard ask heart times years shall need past light living existence choice use dreams power days cause poetry talking state we'll alive knowledge **** true moment little hope old wrong mental stars wave ago gone broken look brain dream far given truth feels head you'll best sensation baby try leave forget young sleep face stop escape blue dare drug lives wish doesn't drugs work earth new acid game nature bad sublime gods break beautiful ah writing hold born trying coming friends hold writing ah space daze burn body reason rain real moments wonder music memories exist psyche control waiting dawn future act philosophy word choose emotion lies deep one's difference self score truly perception actually finally what's story sure spent play happy greatest help start used lie took listen touch run belief fool glass hurt we've gaze goes cold set seek they're yes information anymore longing lonely qualia social land water afraid kind getting came dead hit present keeps gotta pleasure reflection free rave line held pray path sense art black half-light wake question quiet remain longer pill stay course open ego matter places worth lack horizon saw dusk beauty hand makes energy looking gonna data told seeking die **** seen subtle bit caught venturous means freedom yeah divine eternity empathy later rise perfect minds edge comprehend spiritual write couldn't evil care ashes summer knew turn content context accept existential white red sound chance who's consider hide judgement friend 'til realize dimension cast gave tripping praise health la enjoy search universe winter broke empyrean gain family personal spirit flowing wanted point poem lying wander loved wind knowing sleeping rest stuff doubt flow began embrace months knows discovery society hate aeon darkness chemical surely searching meant oneself infinite share forgotten fell late person religious conscious *** you've teenage blame eye instead different clear bring follow known decide forth strange cool stand we'd miss psychedelic passion today wasn't language catch purpose patterns tonight subject madness temporal ready simple sanity asked entheon absurdia entactus psychedelics metaphysics humans particle unto skies inside arms drink smoke bass youth breath listening close depths intangible expression mortal nostalgia practice return loose maybe dancing shadows king war answers morning silent dust ****** party generation near judge define asleep quite machine lines moving learn hath fate ate crowd standing haze guess brought certain fair read ways hours irish scared fine reckon possible ain't year psychedelion ******* apotheon substance isn't study bliss selfish ends warm dopamine explain fix addiction culture respect wisdom calm hurricane problem contradiction heaven forlorn vain gold sweet hidden effort fast she's breaking changed engine faith dance maze alas girl sigma watch grand heavy justice wait tried doors appear phenomena definitions somebody ignore feelings process sonder cybran soft depression chasing taken throw answer action relief having wandering compounds quantum necessary effects empathion ethos begin everybody rising clouds emotions indigo falls ecstasy fresh american walking glow outside speak force grow physical says view voice happiness shame sought age understanding lay individual billion explore crave pretty lights comprehension tears big sands crime waves taught forever venture adolescence welcome humanity comes zero storm wise claim swear sounds pass **** met he's internet mr table company repetition heard playing ***** mirror lets awake sorry doing dreaming states pondering ridiculous simply greater heal hear natural mydriasis mydriatic substances fades asking measure worse scoreboard destroy erase blood leaves worlds abandoned skin twisted walk grace smile fading illuminate hearts bed food ignorance admit drunk spring exile apart killed talk master meet waking chose neon adventure join **** mist aren't breathe psi laughing feet river trance wonderful floor hair desire breeze birth desert fade looked urban continue nation probably second belong willing alike criminals progress cyberspace sole survive names pills fears beginning digital you'd sadness easily depressed perceive surreality poets merely remains sober closer prose fact growing died save insanity defined session soon realm empyreal taste suicide science skins quality peace raise ashamed azure quit yearn piece notions absurd noble liberty entheogenesis reckoning feedback particles object reconcile baseline chain sardonic false weather hallowed intoxication wasted ******'s here's express cover green witness anger treat sacred pure cure ethics code objects level happen room addict smell fun climb pupils mere ok quest roam park meaningless form hour reasoning cyclone laugh nostalgic inspiration takes attention drop written sigh hole statement sand keeping thunderous sight despite grasp lived called drinking west heads spoke daylight staring song calls hell shivering kept recognize granted weekend problems decided aware happened hacker forgive sea key single moral sway definition caused connection channel difficult media strife dangerous ones cleanse imagine running utter ground spend vibrancy trees changes rhythm everyday group deal foolish hurts anxiety painting proud brother crazy amazed value temporality decision journey spinning making ha acknowledge learned scars apotheosis sort serotonin poet safe experienced potential lucky sunyata condition poor witnessed history doth barely pretend taking hero superposition plus suffering prefer offer won't medium empathos essence events reflect apotheotelos actual determine house issues worked begging virtuality swore gleaming sly gentleman wicked abyss feed lands tea moon miracle honest streetlights tale lust nights early chained allow placed life's actions emotional plant plan drizzle speaks spin hypocrite conviction watching rules jump application chains forged angel fail reflections lot illuminating flag grip fly sick wonderfully create freeman shine job supposed eggs draw pupil dripping tremble mescaline singularity subjective darkens alpha needed atlas orange discover rabbit warp joint wonderland perfection ponder souls silence ahead roll magic ease bag sorrow escapism sake chest magnitude chaser cloud infinity replaced revelation survived vs carry yearning school slip games begins curiosity heavens powerful typhoon furious theory hypothesis apathy serenity mind's marks window humankind cybernetic fraternity liberate cut movement excuse stopped thunder tire apparent mastery occurs motion paper masses throes falling race hanging bear follows sardonicism endless burning idea ideas burden court ya verse consume kick method stood temporary flash realized eat kindness occur advice shades properties shores hang shining ink rolling minutes street deem tools autumn empatheon entheos reach echoes remix diamonds gets worthy identity thoroughly stuck happens recall conclusion choices fiend dealing finding gun son stimulant experiencing depth twice starshine whilst chosen thereof hooked confused enables painful desires serotonergic teleology prey loop wishing relation neural animal hallelujah ultimately projection communication actuality significant experiences remind transcendention notion proposition works illusion puppet offers chalk series occasion calling degrees ended sin figure slick ending ash sentence glance rend november eve drum rainy destruction romantic drawn shadow observe ghosts bodies wandered atmosphere box familiar children honor road serve beliefs strong avoid lessons returns poison relax exhale whispered intention liquid stare dope needs ****** smoking club relative glitter reached fractured stones junkiedom aspect ketamine heavenly scares domain excess robes vast euphoria grass thrall elation buzz renew dr waste let's morality wanna bottle immortal owe intuitive wouldn't teachings transcendent nocturnal education eternal divinity drive aligned illegal lamplight sell sail insomnia curious beatific seeing insane continuum kiss beta void soar roar fog basis **** town cost regrets appropriate brave threat using emptiness fountain short stole shield riot shade ghost numbness stained steam dreampt october ion derived hazy money message sing quote metaphysical scene swept plain colors nirvana alright unlike dear low teens nonetheless pick considering teenagers beneath door electronic kids build pulse teaching kid mistake teach tear contextual political civilization vision dissociation completely tells normal nevermind raised brings laughed melody spot streets holding coffee praying violence appreciate vengeance law trust exploits slowly trouble mirror's refrain compassion eats recognition discovered blaze otherworldly pieces darkest angst brothers sit win buckfast vicious binge breaks undead forgot demands able notice lucid dimensions evolution sunrise plans philosopher killing produce working cloth produced painter gazing favourite track bunch haul arrives started chemistry prevent awaits definitive strive versus rule dread bare slow stayed onward altered helps lifestyle losing followed woke fight event innocence charade child ventures higher y'all acceptance pay any-more bay vicissitudes codex cannabis pleasures planes doses awareness steal beat zero-summing narcotic lest strength matters reading easy sons drift solstice half formed normality weren't hungry hopes declare research tales envelope regret tired breed release honestly haven't it'll blow entheogenic stories amidst insofar technology direct binary pushing gotten patience danger symbiosis dilation gleam untitled risk remembering aeons contemplate suppose allows goal certainly virtues well-being popular regard result tornado mescalito usually distant creating skyglow behold manifest psychedelia representation endeavour excitation transcendental resonance odd growth hedonism possibly focus proper assert formation described interpretations reflective determination rational consuming cherish expressed pathos psychoactive eventually significance dissociative strings author experiential specific oxytocin loves glimpse frames loneliness elements created 'pataphysics craft betrayal typical built wall wonders concerning critique signifiers books failing assume effect 'auld subject-object lethe scorn wants shroud understands enhanced ascend tides finality collapse lake reclamation beach proclamation justify junkies hood teen streetlight caressing lips other's comprised harvest midnight blink aching lesson responsible native fortune mistakes nurture grown healthy test mock especially badly boring walked gorgeous innocent villain giveth benediction stone rictus nightmare skystruck insignificance struck **** nothing's thrown unspoken den shatter loss subjugated angels myth fallen demon temples reborn irrelevant thousand clothed plains whispering insert telling everybody's ultimate expand immortality small rapture bound dry comedown starlight whispers contained watched attack mechanism questions palindrome perpetual surreal theme perspective bane heathen basking singular physics sighs rhyme deity sincerely goodbye fit asunder naught comfort adrift -the radiance plunge rock planet twine applause current enhancement zen profit terrible ill weary leaving fierce alchemy luck speed opportunity men arose prophecy steadfast captured sage demand weird estates gathered distance all's foretold sold wrath kinda relentless advance coil anybody columbine ocean drown spoken ancient eden wet blessed crimson concepts yesterday evening deeply whisper flicker enter book apathetic streetlamps trespass spun turned clean underworld disguise viewed despair tunes melancholy reverence unsaid noise o' groups turning swallow dropped lead confident veracious offend talked switch teenager shouldn't paying allure variable humane inspiring ex 11 matrix flickers offering receive signal news chant exhaustion access background commence summer's arcadia deja vu complex realization vivid stick sublimeoblivious deliverance belonging creed symbionts pendent sane smiling rumination plane glint resembles conversation web corporeal solace theft burned they'll sensations shivers satisfied enslaved mire comfortable shattered arch medina's fragmented plead achieve woman stage swaying dismiss entire numb lord type chapter infamous conquest aspects proving leads bloom floating precipitation artificial renewal spill beating midst petrol mad hands exploit movements examine women sublimation occurred eternally notes dizziness perceptive guys haunts spark poems poetic pull remained gazed vagabond presented blanket cried stranger glad lucidity turns sum details pour valuable exceed represent surprise continuity occasionally relinquish gravity likes weeks wrought gathering entirely reaper rays aging root laid balance four-twenty provide double-edged ceased exploration mates world's walls alteration faces breach million grey tidal unknown price absolute garden haunting train jungle aloud allowed habits closed syntax difficulty alter scratch glimmering drifting quenched explained forfeit in-between clearly ideals ubiquitous chemicals happening abandon supreme drifted soothing reveal alcohol stimulants psychonautes indescribable conscience closest dying andor travel gentle foodstuffs tree worried demons pair recognise inability ensure including hey graciously prove logic rhetoric 15 galaxy lately hearth ethereality forsake wanting steps memorable 'round player moves del you- encourage finished suspect frequently intoxicants acts aer veil qualities animals remembered karma kissed burying shooting bold scattered input howling design forsaken banish seraphim wide cola united democracy meandering -one zed's hot commit self-sufficiency thought's psychosis flows unreality immersion aesthetics realms struggle wisely immanence absolutely member add writings coin avoidance naturally boys inseparable standard convinced concerns passed prudence quick external suffer choosing produces letter proclaimed myths pains shroom bright absurdity awhile prospect sad distribution recreation responsibly ghb adrenergic minor neurotransmission cyclica lonesome foolishness cometh 5-ht2a beings golden pitch cathinone suggest conclude cognitive motions ethical condensate precious abuse compound underlying adult bask push damage attachment originally determinative heaviness concept facts today's regress detract step ugly absence cosmic note imagination psychedelos noumena noumenon reader haunt determining error questioning habit measured limitations manifestation learning arcadian joke hallucinogens material diethylamide mysterious exists 'twas response proportionate quantized nervous anyways identify qualify device analysis moderate moderation alterations accompanying totality fascinated gradually 'the represented brief juxtaposition played t'was resides tribe stead vote period liminality delete recurring mirror-neurons alexithymia craic ar positive drank maelstrom pharmahuasca wondered reflecting lovely facebook typing quale implicit dispute occurring fallacy treasure exactly reduction distinction discussion man's construct couple contain lovers failed confidence writer's integrity worst psychiatrist sesh rare chronology scale drug's definitely title sesh-heads who'd asks unable tomorrow plucked picture alphabet named coherence task pretends inevitable contemporary trips graces wrote entertain vice elicit psychoactives feens conform deface replace grin h-bomb atomic bleeding 20 bloodless unequalibrium following quench hunger bent euphoric display interstellar vertigo influence waited sunlight explored paradise soaring faded sitting unafraid aqua tinted source itches optional differently stem rich greed forbidden negative privacy react earned ails charity gift couch courage endlessly fascinating boyfriend phrase movies hopelessly loud admission inherent hypocrites intoned devil laconic sinful vein surrounded movie contempla
Composed on 01:33, 27/02/2017 using Hello Poetry's 'Words' algorithm. We still don't assume this means something.
Curtis Apr 2014
Inhale
Exhale
No thoughts just breathing
Inhale
Exhale
No regret just breathing
Inhale
No self pity just breathing
No worries about tomorrow just breathing
No thoughts of...
Oh, right
Exhale
Inhale
Exhale
Just breathing
Meditation, hard but rewarding
Amy Jan 2015
Inhale.
A moment of clarity long overdue.
Paused,
Eyes closed,
Thinking things through.
The past is the past.
We cannot undo.
No ill feelings,
No regrets,
Nor desire for review.
Exhale.
I am released from you

Inhale.
Were your actions meant to confuse?
Unkind words you impaled,
Unfair and untrue
No winners here.
Nor did we lose.
My chest rising again,
Remembering to breathe
Gasping at life before,
Now embracing with ease.
Pure lung filling oxygen, replacing toxic CO2
Negativity expelled.
Exhale.
I am released from you.

Inhale.
Courageous message from heart beats through.
I survived.
I am Strong.
Ready to love anew
This is what I wish for you too.
Life is a blessing, to live how you choose
Exhale.
I am released from you

Inhale.
Remembering moments and memories,
which are always in view,
For our creations, of which we are blessed,
'Thank you'
At least we're agreed on one point of view,
Together, the future holds no place for us two
So, now is the time to bid you Adieu
You are released from me,
Exhale.
I am released from you.
elle Mar 2012
Tick.    Thud.    Tick.    Thud.
Can the audience hear that?
                                                  The sound of my heart beating syncronously with the metronome
I hope not. Because all I hear is the simultaneous thud/tick of nerves.
                                                                ­                                                              Don­t show your nerves

Can the audience see that?
                                               The sweat that's accumulated on your palms
I hope not. Because all I feel is a cold slimy instrument in you hands. Slipping like butter.

Can the audience feel that?
                                               That frantic look you're giving everyone
I hope not. Because angst and apprehension don't go over well with spectators.

                                                               ­                                                                 ­              Just don't show your nerves.
                                            Relax.
      ­                                                 And take some deep breaths.

Inhale, tick, thud, exhale, tick, thud, inhale, tick, thud, exhale tick, thud
Inhale, tick, exhale, tick, inhale, tick, exhale
Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale
Inhale, *play
lib Mar 2018
thunder, lightning
rain pours on our heads
you look up and smile
a not so rare moment
of pure happiness and
you are beautiful
your long locks now wet
and dripping and
you are still smiling
glad to be alive
i wish i was like you
but i am not
don't you realize
you are the only reason
my heart continues to pump
and my lungs continue to
inhale
exhale
inhale
exhale
i feel your warm breath
on my skin
and we finally meet
in a passionate kiss
inhale
exhale
inhale
exhale
i wish my dream was a reality
i really really do like him
Suzanne Penn Jan 2013
I miss...
missing you
chasing you
wishing for you
to wish for me.

I miss...
excitedly telling you
who I am
and who I wish to be.

I miss...
not knowing
when I would see you
hold you
exhale your breath.

I love us now...
don't misunderstand...
but the anticipation
and the adventure
at times get over-powered
by the day.

I miss...
our breathless
creativity
and the almost violent need
to be close.
Toni Seychelle Feb 2013
The ground beneath the stiff leaves is frozen. The cold, brisk air invades my lungs, I exhale, my breath visible. I step over fallen branches and tugged by thorny vines. A red tail hawk screeches overhead, this is a sign of good luck. There is no path, no trail to mark our way, just an old, flat railroad bed surrounded by walls of shale, blown up for the path of the train so long ago. The only ties to remind of the rail are the rotting, moss covered ties that once were a part of a bridge that would have carried the train over a small creek between two steep hills. I see a fox burrow, and it's escape hatch is one of the hollowed railroad ties. I want to be a fox... The trek down this hill is not easy, thorny blackberry bushes and fallen trees impede progress. At the bottom, the small, bubbly creek is frozen at the edges, traveling under rocks and continuing its ancient path. I look up the hill that I just descended, and wonder how the return will go. Keep moving. The next hill will be easier, there are no thorny tangles, just treacherous leaf litter that will give under my feet if I don't find the right footing. The trick is to dig my boots into the ground as if I'm on steps. These hills are steep. Finally at the top, I look back at this little spring valley, I'm not that high up, but what view. Here, there is a dilapidated tree stand, falling apart from years of neglect and weather. Surrounded by deep leaf litter, there is a patch of rich dark earth, a buck has marked his spot, his round pellets are nearby. The saplings catch my hair as I walk by, and at these moments I am thankful for this cold snap that took care of the ticks. A creepy feeling takes over me, so thankful for this snap. A few feet further, as I watch where I am walking, another tussled bit of earth and I notice some interesting ****. It's furry and light grey; I poke it with my stick and find a small skull when I turn a piece over. Owl. I continue my walk, I didn't come here to play with poo. The last time I took this hike was three years ago, on a similar frigid day. It was a lot easier to make it through the shale valleys. Last summer, a wind storm felled trees and took out power for two weeks. The evidence of that derecho is clear here in this untouched forest. I remembered a tree, which now is a fallen giant, that had lost it's bark. The bark had separated and laid around this tree like a woman's skirt around her ankles. Now the tree lies with it's bark. I pass another tree I recognize whose branch extends out but zig zags up and down, as if it had three elbows. The tree signifies my next move, to descend from the flat railroad bed, down to a creek that flows through the tunnel that would have carried the train. The creek is considerably larger than the last creek I could step across. Descending towards the creek leads me over moss covered rocks and limbs, still bearing snow. Outside the tunnel, the hill walls are large stones, covered in a thick layer of moss, some of which has started to fall off due to heaviness. There's a sort of ice shelf in the creek, it's three layers thick and can support my one hundred and twenty pounds. Laying across the creek is another derecho-felled tree. Some sort of critter has crawled on this, using it to avoid the water below and as a short cut up the hill. His claw marks are covering the the limb, a few are more clear, it looks as if the creature almost slipped off. His claw marks show a desperate cling. I walk through the tunnel, in the mud and water; the creek echoes inside. I look above. There are drainage holes lining the ceiling, one is clogged by a giant icicle. I imagine the train that used to ride over this tunnel, I pretend to hear it and feel the rumbling. The last time we were here, we found cow skeletons. We placed a few heads on branches and one over the tunnel. We stuck a jaw, complete with herbivore teeth, into the mossy wall and a hip bone on a sapling. The hip bone reminded us of Predator's mask in the movie. All these bones are turning green. When I was here before, there was a bone half submerged in the creek; I had taken a picture of it but today, it isn't here. I'm sure it was washed away. After our exploration of the previous visit, we turned back. We are cold again, can't stay in one place too long. I climb through the deep leaf litter and over the rocks back to the railroad bed. Passing all the things I've already seen and spotting things I missed. I find two more fox burrows. They utilized the shale rock and burrowed underneath the jutting formations. Hidden coming from the south, the gaping openings seem welcoming from the north. My friends, the spelunkers and climber, want to descend into the darkness but I remind them, it is an hour to sundown, our trek is hard enough with overcast daylight. Wisdom prevails. We pass a tree, we didn't notice before, that was struck by lightening. The cedar tree was split in two and fell down the shale wall. I see the evidence of the burn and a smoldered residue at the base. Nature has a cruel way of recycling. The downed tree still has snow on it and the path of a raccoon is visible, I like the paws of *****. Though the way is flat, the walls of shale tower above us, limiting routes. At one point I can't see through the fallen trees I have to pass through. I have to crab walk under, crawl over, duck again and find my way around the thorny collections of bare black berry bushes. Finally into a clearing, still surrounded by sharp shale, there is another wall covered in inches of thick, healthy moss. I place my hand, taking time to stroke the furry wall. My hand leaves an imprint. I wonder how long that will last.. Back down the steep hill up and up the thorny tangle. I know I'm on the right path up, I see the fox's hole through the railroad tie, and his entrance burrow up the hill. Going down was definitely easier. The summit is literally overgrown with thorns, there is no clear path through. It is, again, impossible to see through the tangle of limbs and saplings and more thorns. Somehow we make it through. We are close to breaking off this path. We know this by the remains of a cow skeleton that more than likely fell from the top of the shale cliff. Femurs and ribs and jaws abound. On the last trip, we placed a hip bone in the "Y" of a sapling. The young tree has claimed it, growing around it. We add a piece of jaw to the tree's ornamentation and move on. We climb down from the railroad bed to our car - parked on the side of the road with a white towel in the window so that no one suspects a group of people walking through private property, past faded NO TRESPASSING signs.

When I undress for bed later, there are many small scratches up and down my legs from those ****** thorny vines. I'm okay with that, it's better than searching for ticks in my head.
I couldn't write a 'poem' about this hike. It was too full of nature.
absinthe Feb 2016
stay up with me please
stay silent like me
let’s be quiet like death
let’s live as one in peace
i want to hear you breathe
just let me hear you
    exhale
  inhale
    exhale
  inhale
stay, i’m so restless
my headrest, your chest
resurrects me beneath stars
just let me listen, please
you help me just by breathing
just let me hear you
    exhale
  inhale
    exhale
  inhale
i feel your heart, it pounds  
my ears pound with its throbs
the pounding in my head
beats down my heart’s rhythm
but there's peace in your breath
just you can hear me
  inhale
    exhale
  inhale
    exhale
    stay up with me please
    your beatings mend my pieces
    i’ll meet death halved and peace-less  
    if for one moment you leave me
    with lungs that gasp for air
    and no exhales to breathe in

- end
Erin Mar 2015
Inhale. Exhale.

Whether you're at your high
Or low
Just promise me to please,
Inhale. Exhale

When life is too much to bare,
And you want to end it all
Just please
Inhale. Exhale*

When you're lost and alone,
With no where to go,
*Inhale. Exhale.
Amanda Jean Jan 2011
Beams of light dance through the trees,
Reflecting off their leaves which take on an orange appearance.
Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.
At 5:23.

Eyes shut but vision clear,
Feet still while spirt soars.
Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.
It's 5:23.

She gazes at him,
His mind on a journey,
Far beyond their grasp.
She joins him.
At 5:23.

He wears a radiant smile,
She looks back with curious eyes,
And an open mind.
Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale.
5:23.

Time has no control,
Time is of no essence,
Time cannot hold them back.
The time is 5:23.
Jay Bryant Dec 2012
I exhale...
Trying to relieve my vexation
Confusion builds below in the basement
The door is breaking, bulging
Will all my secrets divulge
Will the truth of my heart be shown
Once more I exhale
My thoughts are a mystery
So my breath brings truth
Bcuz my words are unheard of.
Let time tell the truth
Bcuz my feelings are in the past
So feel my breath
Feel my thoughts
Feel me as I exhale
Helena Feb 2013
flick, inhale, bubble, exhale.
clean my ******* carpet, i've let this go on long enough.
might as well clean the whole place, no one else will.
able bodied, but the joke's on them. the dirts on me, last week is in the ashtray.
flick, inhale. ******* clogged.
i got hasty again; i hate it when i do that ****. go through pages in books i read like i didn't write.
******* **** i write like someone's ever going to read.
the cup's half full of a whole year of nothing. the cup's dry.
i'm dry, high and dry. and to what extent?
flick, inhale, choke.
go back in.
there's black **** all over my keyboard.
that smell is back all over me, on the ends of my jacket sleeves.
i learned in anatomy what exactly it is.
i can't help but realize that i'm  a ******* specimen, taking articulate notes on intricacies i cannot even fathom about myself. i've never felt so blunderously powerful.
flick, bubble, inhale.  

i touch your hips to make sure you still exist. and to what extent? every extent, every branch, swing. left or right, you're right. stung just once, not me.
i drift away like it's an allergy, like it's some type of disease.
choke.
i never did clean my sheets. not since her, but after her, i lit it up like wildfire.
i repeat history, but i keep it clean. it's no one's fault these kinds of things are inherited.
like father, like daughter.
no, you cannot expect the morphine to help, if you don't want it to help.
**** it. flick, inhale, exhale.
**** it, if no body is looking. because you can't feel it if somebody's waiting, you wait to please.
**** it, twelve steps ahead is only twelve steps farther from the very place you want to be back at.
**** it. nothing will ever stay clean in this **** house, the dirt will always come back.
the proof is in the way he walks, that he is your son.
there is nothing to do but be patient.
fli-flick, inhale,




exhale.
Nothing Much Feb 2015
Close your eyes
Erase whoever is tattooed on the inside of your eyelids and find comfort in the darkness
It is yours
Inhale, exhale
Repeat this for the rest of your life

When the starry nights turn cold
Wrap your sheets around your feet
And curl into the comforter, finding solace in your solitude
It is okay if you cannot lift your listless body off of the bed
This also means you can not hurt yourself
Take a shower, wash the day off of your skin
Send your sorrows down the drain
Do not worry if you still feel unclean when you step out of the bathtub
This just means you need to scrub deeper

Inhale
Exhale
Pass the air through your lungs, let this be the part of you that never tears
Find beauty In your breath, sending little sailboats floating off into the night (clouds?)
Compress your chest if you must
Reach inside your ribs and take the balloons into your hands,
Be gentle
Remember that you were a child once,
That they still live inside of you

Inhale
Exhale
Repeat, repeat, repeat this like your favorite song
The one that you keep in your pocket like a lucky penny
Keep the music close to you, voices of strangers soothing you from your self- estrangement
Pianos will always hold your hands
Guitar strings will kiss your fingertips
Breathe, and exhale song

When it is dangerous to be alone
Surround yourself with the hum of other people's souls
Let them take care of you when you cannot take care of yourself
That is what they are here for
You would do the same

There will be some nights
When the pain in your chest makes you bend in half
Open a window
Soothe your lungs with the winter air
Dehumidify your eyes with the dryness of December
Dim the lights
Inhale, exhale
Repeat this for the rest of your life
This was written as a spoken word poem.
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 dewdrops:
flashes of light
briefly illuminating the void.
—Ouchi Yoshitaka, 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 of his jisei (death poem) 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

To what shall we compare this world?
To moonlit dew
flicked from a crane’s bill.
—Eihei Dogen Kigen, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A solitary crow
clings to a leafless branch:
nightfall
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Unaware it protects
the hilltop paddies,
the scarecrow seems useless to itself.
—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 haiku translations

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

This is an example of a translation in which I interpreted the poem before translating it. In the original poem the clothes were thin (suggesting suggestive garments). In Japanese poetry an autumn wind can represent loneliness. So I interpreted the poem to be about an aging woman who still wears enticing clothes but is increasingly lonely. Since in the West we don't normally drape clothes on screens, I moved the clothes to a clothesline, which works well with the wind. For me it's a sad poem about something that happens all too often to people as they age.

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 it 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 ****.
―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

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).

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

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

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

Stricken 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 dewdrops
in which flashes of light
briefly 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  



As the monks sip their morning tea,
chrysanthemums quietly blossom.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The fragrance of plum blossoms
on a foggy path:
the sun rising.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The sea darkens ...
yet still faintly white
the wild duck protests.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Pear tree blossoms
whitened by moonlight:
a young woman reading a letter.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Outlined in the moonlight ...
who is that standing
among the pear trees?
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Your coolness:
the sound of the bell
departing the bell.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As the moon flies west
the flowers' shadows
creep eastward.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

By such pale moonlight
even the wisteria's fragrance
seems distant.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Leaves
like crows’ shadows
flirt with a lonely moon.
Kaga no Chiyo, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Let me die
covered with flowers
and never again wake to this earthly dream!
—Ochi Etsujin, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

To reveal how your heart flowers,
sway like the summer grove.
—Tagami Kikusha-Ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In the thicket's shade
a solitary woman sings the rice-planting song.
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Unaware of these degenerate times,
cherry blossoms abound!
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

These silent summer nights
even the stars
seem to whisper.
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The enormous firefly
weaves its way, this way and that,
as it passes by.
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Composed like the Thinker, he sits
contemplating the mountains:
the sagacious frog!
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A fallen blossom
returning to its bough?
No, a butterfly!
Arakida Moritake, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Illuminated by the harvest moon
smoke is caught creeping
across the water ...
Hattori Ransetsu, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Fanning its tail flamboyantly
with every excuse of a breeze,
the peacock!
Masaoki Shiki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Waves row through the mists
of the endless sea.
Masaoki Shiki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I hurl a firefly into the darkness
and sense the enormity of night.
—Kyoshi Takahama, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As girls gather rice sprouts
reflections of the rain ripple
on the backs of their hats.
—Kyoshi Takahama, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch


* Haiku translations added 6-3-2023 *


Spring
stirs the clouds
in the sky's teabowl
—Kikusha-ni, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Tonight I saw
how the peony crumples
in the fire's embers
—Katoh Shuhson, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

It fills me with anger,
this moon; it fills me
and makes me whole
—Takeshita Shizunojo, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

War
stood at the end of the hall
in the long shadows
—Watanabe Hakusen, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Because he is slow to wrath,
I tackle him, then wring his neck
in the long grass
—Shimazu Ryoh, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Pale mountain sky:
cherry petals play
as they tumble earthward
—Kusama Tokihiko, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The frozen moon,
the frozen lake:
two oval mirrors reflecting each other.
—Hashimoto Takako, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The bitter winter wind
ends here
with the frozen sea
—Ikenishi Gonsui, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Bitter winter wind,
why bellow so
when there's no leaves to blow?
—Natsume Soseki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The lamp extinguished,
once-distant stars
enter my window.
—Natsume Soseki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Winter waves
roil
their own shadows
—Tominaga Fûsei, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

No sky,
no land:
just snow eternally falling...
—Kajiwara Hashin, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Along with spring leaves
my child's teeth
take root, blossom
—Nakamura Kusatao, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Stillness:
a single chestnut leaf glides
on brilliant water
—Ryuin, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The snake slipped away
but his eyes, holding mine,
still stare in the grass
—Kyoshi Takahama, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Girls gather rice sprouts:
reflections of the water flicker
on the backs of their hats
—Kyoshi Takahama, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Murmurs follow the hay cart
this blossoming summer day
—Ippekiro Nakatsuka, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The wet nurse
paused to consider a bucket of sea urchins
then walked away
—Ippekiro Nakatsuka, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

May I be with my mother
wearing her summer kimono
by the morning window
—Ippekiro Nakatsuka, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The hands of a woman exist
to remove the entrails of the spring cuttlefish
—Sekitei Hara, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The moon
hovering above the snow-capped mountains
rained down hailstones
—Sekitei Hara, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Oh, dreamlike winter butterfly:
a puff of white snow
cresting mountains
—Kakio Tomizawa, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Spring snow
cascades over fences
in white waves
—Suju Takano, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

First one hidden face is revealed,
then the other; thus spinning it falls,
the autumn leaf.
—Ryokan (1758-1831) , translation by Michael R. Burch

I persuaded a child to purchase rural wine;
once I'm nicely tipsy,
I'll slap down some calligraphy.
—Ryokan (1758-1831) , translation by Michael R. Burch

The thief missed it:
the moon
bejeweling my window.
—Ryokan (1758-1831) , translation by Michael R. Burch

This world:
a distant mountain echo
dying unheard...
—Ryokan (1758-1831) , translation by Michael R. Burch

The peonies I planted around my hut
I must now surrender
to the wind's will
—Ryokan (1758-1831) , translation by Michael R. Burch

Wild peonies
blossoming in their prime,
glorious in full bloom:
Too precious to pick,
To precious to leave unplucked
—Ryokan (1758-1831) , translation by Michael R. Burch

The Orchid

Deep in the valley, a secluded beauty!
Serene, peerless, impossibly lovely.
In the bamboo thicket's shadowy tower
she seems to sigh softly for a lover.
—Ryokan (1758-1831) , translation by Michael R. Burch

Observe:
see how the wild violets bloom
within the forbidden fences!
—Shida Yaba (1663-1740) , loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A white swan
parts the cherry-petalled pond
with her motionless breast.
—Roka (1671-1703) , translation by Michael R. Burch

When no wind ruffles the Kiri tree
            leaves fall
of their own free will.
—Nozawa Boncho (1640-1714) , loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Loneliness:
striking the gong again and again,
the lookout.
—Hara Sekitei (1886-1951) , loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Sleeping alone;
a mosquito interrupts my dreams
with its querulous voice...
—Chigetsu (1632-1706) , loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The rain is helpless
to reach the ground—
a winter gale
—Mukai Kyorai (c.1651-1704) , loose translation by Michael R. Burch

A cat in heat
can't catch a mouse? —
pathetic!
—Kinpu (? -1726?) , loose translation by Michael R. Burch

It's getting to the point
of ******* on fish bones—
old age.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I ****** an ant
then realize my three children
were watching.
—Shuson Kato (1905-1933) , loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

My three children
watched me ****** an ant.
—Shuson Kato (1905-1933) , loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As the moon rises
the rooftop tomcat
philosophizes.
Ikuyo Yoshimura (1944-) , loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Changing my lipstick's pastels—
spring rain.
Ikuyo Yoshimura (1944-) , loose translation by Michael R. Burch

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:
this 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 here 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

Stricken 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
Momozutau / iware no ike ni / naku kamo wo / kyo nomi mite ya / Kumokakuri nan

This world—to what may we compare it?
To autumn fields darkening at dusk,
dimly lit 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 compare it?
To autumn fields
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

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



Ôuchi Yoshitaka, his death poem, written in 1551:

1.
Both victor and vanquished are dewdrops:
flashes of light
briefly illuminating the void.

2.
Both victor and vanquished are dewdrops,
lit by flashes of light,
as we apprehend this life.

3.
Both victor and vanquished are dewdrops
in which lightning flashes
briefly 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
as all things do:
dew drying on grass.
—Banzan (-1730) , loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem)  by Michael R. Burch

Seventy-one?
How long
can a dewdrop last?
—Kigen (-1736) , 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

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 too...
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
Ware shinaba / sakaya no kame ni / shita no ikeyo / moshi ya shisuku no / moriyasennen

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

Year after year,
the face a monkey faces
is a monkey face.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Haiku scholar Kon Eizo explains: "At a New Year's performance, a monkey's mask worn by a monkey changes nothing, so we repeat the same foolishness each year."

Because it will not melt
we dedicate this ice
to the New Year's dawning sun
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Students with your copybooks:
from whose satchel
shall the New Year spring?
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Basking beneath the New Year's sun:
my grubby hut.
—Kobayashi Issa, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Letting in torrents
of New Year's rain:
my leaky hut.
—Kobayashi Issa, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

O, God of the New Year,
this year also,
please have pity!
—Kobayashi Issa, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

These useless dreams, alas!
Over fields of wilted grass
winds whisper as they pass.
—Uejima Onitsura (1660-1738) , loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When a nightingale stops singing,
it's just another bird.
—Uejima Onitsura (1660-1738) , loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A nightingale, when it ceases singing,
is just another ordinary / unexceptional bird.
—Uejima Onitsura (1660-1738) , loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The sincerity of snow, the moon and cherry blossoms
is the truthfulness of art.
—Uejima Onitsura (1660-1738) , loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Above the garden
the camellia tree blossoms
whitely...
—Uejima Onitsura (1660-1738) , explaining the essence of haiku, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Moonlit hailstones:
the night hawks return.
—Uejima Onitsura (1660-1738) , loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Nowhere to dump the dishwater:
cricket cacophony.
—Uejima Onitsura (1660-1738) , loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A good father
drives away crows
from his sparrow-like children.
—Uejima Onitsura (1660-1738) , loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A cool breeze:
the empty sky fills
with the songs of the pines.
—Uejima Onitsura (1660-1738) , loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Return my dream, raven!
You woke me to a misted-over
unreadable moon
—Uejima Onitsura (1660-1738) , said to be his death poem, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Tears are useless:
insects, lovers, the stars themselves
must part.
—Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Sparrow-like children,
make way, make way!
The stallion's coming through!
—Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

No one travels
this path but me,
this moonless autumn evening.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Lieutenant-General Tomoyuki Yamashita wrote this poem on December 4,1941, while sailing for Hainan to invade Malaya.

Now, as the sun and moon shine as one,
the arrow, hurtling from the bow,
speeds my spirit toward the enemy,
bearing also a hundred million souls
—my people of the East—
as the sun and moon shine as one.
—Tomoyuki Yamashita, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Bonfires for the dead?
Soon they'll light pyres
for us, instead.
—Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Children delight
in bonfires
for the dead;
soon they'll light
pyres
for us, instead.
—Issa, 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

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

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

The snow melts
the rivers rise
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

Peonies blossom;
the world is full of fibbers.
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Peonies blossom;
the world is full of blooming liars.
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Overdressed for my thatched hut:
a peony blossoms.
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Oh, magnificent peony,
please don't disdain
these poor surroundings!
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Insolent peony!
Demanding I measure your span
with my fan?
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

'This big! '
The child's arms
measured the peony.
Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Issa seemed to have a love-hate relationship with the peony, writing at least 84 haiku about the flower, sometimes praising it and sometimes accusing it of haughtiness and insolence!

The rutting cat
has grown so scrawny
he's nothing but eyes.
—Natsume Soseki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Clinging to each other
beneath an umbrella:
spring rain.
—Natsume Soseki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Twos become one:
butterflies.
—Natsume Soseki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

No rain
and yet the flowers glisten?
Dew.
—Natsume Soseki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Buzzings encircle
a meditating monk:
mosquitoes.
—Natsume Soseki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

He's lost so much weight
in the summer heat
even the mosquitoes won't bite.
—Natsume Soseki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Autumn's here, crickets,
whether you chirp
or not.
—Natsume Soseki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A windy temple:
coins clatter
in the collection box.
—Shuson Kato, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

After death
six feet under the frost
will be sufficient cover.
—Shuson Kato, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Midwinter thunder
rattles the windowpanes.
—Shuson Kato, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



PLUM BLOSSOM HAIKU

A shy maiden:
the loveliness of the lone plum
blossoming
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Longing for plum blossoms:
bowing before the deutzia,
weeping.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Moonlit plum tree,
tarry!
Spring will return soon.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The plum blossom’s fragrance
warms
winter’s frigid embrace.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

White plum blossoms:
have the cranes
gone undercover?
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Suddenly, the scent of plums
on a mountain path:
sunrise!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Warm sun unfolds
the plum blossom’s scent:
a mountain path.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The plum in full bloom
must not be disturbed
by the wind.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The plum's fragrance:
the past
holds such pathos.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Are you the butterfly
and I the dreaming heart
of Soshi?
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
kimi ya cho / ware ya shoshi no / yume gokoro

The poem above is a reference to a butterfly dream of Chuang Tzu, a Taoist sage and poet who was a major influence on Basho. Soshi is the Japanese rendering of the name Chuang Tzu. I believe what Basho may have meant is something closer to this:

Are you the butterfly
while I pursue dreams
of Soshi?
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Are you the butterfly
while in my dreams
I flit after Soshi?
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The white poppy
accepts the butterfly's broken wing
as a keepsake
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
shirageshi ni / hane mogu cho no / katami kana

As autumn deepens
a butterfly sips
chrysanthemum dew
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
aki o hete / cho mo nameru ya / kiku no tsuyu

A single leaf
of paulownia falling
reflects the sun.
—Takahama Kyoshi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I caught a falling cherry petal;
but opening my fist ...
nothing
—Takahama Kyoshi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

They call it a white peony
yet it contains
hints of red
—Takahama Kyoshi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Evening shadows
grow thick
on the floating algae
—Takahama Kyoshi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The snake slithered away
yet his eyes, having met mine,
remain
—Takahama Kyoshi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The bamboo grove
is lit
by the yellow spring sunlight
—Takahama Kyoshi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Chikurin ni/ Ki naru haruhi wo/ Aogikeri

On a hot summer night
dreams and reality
merge.
—Takahama Kyoshi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Mizika-yo ya/ Yume mo utsutsu mo / Onazi koto

The summer butterfly
has to look sharp
to make its getaway.
—Takahama Kyoshi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Natsu no cho/ Manako surudoku/ Kakeri kishi

The autumn sky
is severed
by the big chinquapin tree.
—Takahama Kyoshi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Akizora wo/ Futatsu ni tateri/ ****-taiju

“Cawa-cawa!”
The winter crow
elocutes coarsely.
—Takahama Kyoshi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Kawa kawa to/ Ookiku yuruku/ Samu-garasu


Keywords/Tags: Haiku, Zen, Japan, Japanese, translation, life, death, aging, time, pain, sorrow, lament



ORIGINAL HAIKU BY MICHAEL R. BURCH

Incomprehensible
by Michael R. Burch

for the NRA

“Slain” — an impossible word to comprehend.
The male lion murders cubs,
licks his lips, devours them.


As springs’ budding blossoms emerge
the raptors glide mercilessly.
—Michael R. Burch

I wrote the haiku-like poem above on 3-27-2023 after the Nashville Covenant school massacre.—Michael R. Burch



You rise with the sun,
mysteriously warm,
also scattering sunbeams.
—Michael R. Burch

Her sky-high promises:
midday moon
—Michael R. Burch

The north wind’s refrain,
a southbound train ...
Invitation?
—Michael R. Burch

The north wind’s refrain,
the receding strain
of a southbound train ...
Invitation?
—Michael R. Burch

The moon blushed
then fled behind a cloud:
her stolen kiss.
—Michael R. Burch

Elderly sunflowers:
bees trimming their beards.
—Michael R. Burch

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

Brittle autumn leaf,
no one informed me
you were my life!
—Michael R. Burch

Valentine Haiku #1
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

A leaf brushes my cheek:
a subtle lover’s
gentlest caress.

Valentine Haiku #2
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

Teach me to love:
to fly beyond sterile Mars
to percolating Venus.

The Ultimate Haiku Against God
by Michael R. Burch

Because you made a world
where nothing matters,
our hearts lie in tatters.

Early robins
get the worms,
cats waiting to pounce.
—Michael R. Burch

Sleepyheads!
I recite my haiku
to the inattentive lilies.
—Michael R. Burch

Am I really this old,
so many ghosts
beckoning?
—Michael R. Burch

The sky tries to assume
your eyes’ azure
but can’t quite pull it off.
—Michael R. Burch

The sky tries to assume
your eyes’ arresting blue
but can’t quite pull it off.
—Michael R. Burch

Two bullheaded frogs
croaking belligerently:
election season.
—Michael R. Burch

An enterprising cricket
serenades the sunrise:
soloist.
—Michael R. Burch

A single cricket
serenades the sunrise:
solo violinist.
—Michael R. Burch



New haiku translations added 8-25-2023

Grasses wilt:
the braking locomotive
grinds to a halt
—Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Ceaseless chaos—
ice floes clash
in the Soya straits.
—Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Once they’ve crossed the sea,
winter winds can never return.
—Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Banish the snow
for the human torpedo
now lies exploded.
—Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

(My interpretation is that the haiku above is about WWII kamikaze pilots. Winter is metaphorically the season of death and snow may be seen as a shroud for the dead. So here the poet may be saying, metaphorically, something like “We don’t need shrouds because our pilots are blowing themselves up.” )

The sky hangs low
over Karafuto,
as white as the spawning herring.
—Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Green bottle flies
buzzing carrion:
did they just materialize?
—Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Finally
the cicadas stopped shrilling:
calm before gale.
—Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As grief becomes unbearable
someone snaps a nearby branch.
—Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As grief reaches its breaking point
someone snaps a nearby branch.
—Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Trapped in the spider’s web
the firefly’s bulb
blinks out forever.
—Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Trapped in the spider’s web
The firefly’s light
Is swiftly consumed.
—Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Seishi Yamaguchi has been said to represent “a pinnacle of haiku in twentieth-century Japan.”

Graven images of long-departed gods,
dry spiritless leaves:
companions of the temple porch
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

See: whose surviving sons
visit the ancestral graves
white-bearded, with trembling canes?
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch



I remove my beautiful kimono:
its varied braids
surround and entwine my body
—Hisajo Sugita, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

This day of chrysanthemums
I shake and comb my wet hair,
as their petals shed rain
—Hisajo Sugita, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

This sheer kimono—
how the moon peers through
to my naked skin!
—Hisajo Sugita, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

These festive flowery robes—
though quickly undressed,
how their colored cords still continue to cling!
—Hisajo Sugita, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Chrysanthemum petals
reveal their pale curves
shyly to the moon.
—Hisajo Sugita, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Loneliness —
reading the Bible
as the rain deflowers cherry blossoms.
—Hisajo Sugita, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

How deep this valley,
how elevated the butterfly's flight!
—Hisajo Sugita, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

How lowly this valley,
how lofty the butterfly's flight!
—Hisajo Sugita, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Echoes from the hills—
the mountain cuckoo sings as it will,
trill upon trill
—Hisajo Sugita, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Winter in the air:
my neighbor,
how does he fare?
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Let’s arrange
these lovely flowers in the bowl
since there's no rice
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Please arrange
these delicate flowers in the bowl
since we lack rice
—Matsuo Basho, translation by Kim Cherub

An ancient pond,
the frog leaps:
the silver plop and gurgle of water
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

An ancient pond sleeps, quiet and still ...
untroubled ... until ...
suddenly a frog leaps!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Big old pond,
the little frog leaps:
Kerplash!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Explosion!
The frog returns
to its lily pad.
—Michael R. Burch

The first soft snow:
leaves of the awed jonquil
bow low
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Come, investigate loneliness:
a solitary leaf
clings to the Kiri tree
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The first chill rain, so raw!
Poor monkey, you too could use
a woven cape of straw.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Fever-felled mid-path
my dreams resurrect, to trek
into a hollow land
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This snowy morning:
cries of the crow I despise
(ah, but so beautiful!)
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The cheerful-chirping cricket
contends gray autumn's gay,
contemptuous of frost
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Whistle on, twilight whippoorwill,
solemn evangelist
of loneliness
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The sea darkening,
the voices of the wild ducks:
my mysterious companions!
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Lightning
shatters the darkness—
the night heron's shriek
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As the monks sip their morning tea,
chrysanthemums quietly blossom.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The fragrance of plum blossoms
on a foggy path:
the sun rising.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The sea darkens ...
yet still faintly white
the wild duck protests.
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Let me die
covered with flowers
and never again wake to this earthly dream!
—Ochi Etsujin, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

To reveal how your heart flowers,
sway like the summer grove.
—Tagami Kikusha-Ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In the thicket’s shade
a solitary woman sings the rice-planting song.
—Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Unaware of these degenerate times,
cherry blossoms abound!
—Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

These silent summer nights
even the stars
seem to whisper.
—Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The enormous firefly
weaves its way, this way and that,
as it passes by.
—Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Composed like the Thinker, he sits
contemplating the mountains:
the sagacious frog!
—Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A fallen blossom
returning to its bough?
No, a butterfly!
—Arakida Moritake, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Illuminated by the harvest moon
smoke is caught creeping
across the water ...
—Hattori Ransetsu, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Fanning its tail flamboyantly
with every excuse of a breeze,
the peacock!
—Masaoki Shiki, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Waves row through the mists
of the endless sea.
—Masaoki Shiki, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

I hurl a firefly into the darkness
and sense the enormity of night.
—Kyoshi Takahama, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

As girls gather rice sprouts
reflections of the rain ripple
on the backs of their hats.
—Kyoshi Takahama, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Will we remain parted forever?
Here at your grave:
two flowerlike butterflies
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

These wilting August weeds?
The only remains
of warriors' ambitions ...
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

These brown summer grasses?
The only remains
of "invincible" warriors ...
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

An empty road
lonelier than abandonment:
this autumn evening
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Spring has come:
the nameless hill
lies shrouded in mist
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A solitary crow
clings to a leafless branch:
autumn twilight
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

A solitary crow
clings to a leafless branch:
nightfall
—Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

Standing beneath cherry blossoms
who can be strangers?
—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

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

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, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Brief autumn breeze ...
she always wanted to pluck
the reddest roses
—Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

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

In our world
we walk suspended over hell
admiring flowers.
—Kobayashi Issa, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The childless woman,
how tenderly she caresses
homeless dolls ...
—Hattori Ransetsu, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Clinging
to the plum tree:
one blossom's worth of warmth
—Hattori Ransetsu, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

One leaf falls, enlightenment!
Another leaf falls,
swept away by the wind ...
—Hattori Ransetsu, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Disdaining grass,
the firefly nibbles nettles—
this is who I am.
—Takarai Kikaku, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A simple man,
content to breakfast with the morning glories—
this is who I am.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This is Basho’s response to the Takarai Kikaku haiku above

The morning glories, alas,
also turned out
not to embrace me
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The morning glories bloom,
mending chinks
in the old fence
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Morning glories,
however poorly painted,
still engage us
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

My dear Basho,
I too have been accused
of morning glory gazing!
—original haiku by Michael R. Burch

Taming the rage
of an unrelenting sun—
autumn breeze.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The sun sets,
relentlessly red,
yet autumn’s in the wind.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As autumn deepens,
a butterfly sips
chrysanthemum dew.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As autumn draws near,
so too our hearts
in this small tea room.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Nothing happened!
Yesterday simply vanished
like the blowfish soup.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The surging sea crests around Sado ...
and above her?
An ocean of stars.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Revered figure!
I bow low
to the rabbit-eared Iris.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Come, butterfly,
it’s late
and we’ve a long way to go!
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Nothing in the cry
of the cicadas
suggests they soon die.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I wish I could wash
this perishing earth
in its shimmering dew.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Spring!
A nameless hill
shrouded in mist.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Dabbed with morning dew
and splashed with mud,
the melon looks wonderfully cool.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Cold white azalea—
a lone nun
in her thatched straw hut.
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Glimpsed on this high mountain trail,
delighting my heart—
wild violets
—Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The 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

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

A kite floats
at the same place in the sky
where yesterday it floated ...
—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

Dawn!
The brilliant sun illuminates
sardine heads.
—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

Thorny roses
remind me of my hometown ...
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

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

White blossoms of the pear tree:
a young woman
reading her lover’s moonlit letter
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The pear tree flowers whitely:
a young woman reading her lover’s letter
by moonlight
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Pear tree blossoms
whitened by moonlight:
a young woman reading a letter.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Outlined in the moonlight ...
who is that standing
among the pear trees?
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The pigeon's behavior
is beyond reproach,
but the mountain cuckoo's?
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Your coolness:
the sound of the bell
departing the bell.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

As the moon flies west
the flowers' shadows
creep eastward.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

By such pale moonlight
even the wisteria's fragrance
seems distant.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

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

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

gills puffing,
a hooked fish:
the patient
—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

In the lingering heat
of an abandoned cowbarn
mosquitoes hum darkly.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

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

The stirred morning air
ruffles the caterpillar’s
hair
—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

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

NOTE: I believe this poem can be taken as commentary on ungrateful children. It reminds me of Robert Hayden's "Those Winter Sundays.—MRB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The red plum's fallen petals
seem to ignite horse ****.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lately the nights
dawn
plum-blossom white.
—Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation of his jisei (death poem) 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; this is believed to be Buson's jisei (death poem) and he is said to have died before dawn

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

Silently observing
the bottomless mountain lake:
water lilies
—Inahata Teiko, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Cranes
flapping ceaselessly
test the sky's upper limits
—Inahata Teiko, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Falling snowflakes'
glitter
tinsels the sea
—Inahata Teiko, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Blizzards here on earth,
blizzards of stars
in the sky
—Inahata Teiko, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Completely encircled
in emerald:
the glittering swamp!
—Inahata Teiko, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The new calendar:
as if tomorrow
is assured ...
—Inahata Teiko, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The new calendar:
as if tomorrow
can be predicted
—Inahata Teiko, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Ah butterfly,
what dreams do you ply
with your beautiful wings?
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Because morning glories
held my well-bucket hostage
I went begging for water!
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

My well-bucket being held hostage
by morning glories,
I went begging for water.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Since my well-bucket’s
being held hostage by morning glories,
I go begging for water.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

To listen, fine ...
fine also not to echo,
nightingale.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch, she wrote this poem in calligraphy on a portrait of Matsuo Basho

Upon her engagement to the servant of a samurai:

Will it be bitter,
the first time I bite
an unripe persimmon?
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Written for her only son, who died:

My little dragonfly hunter:
how far away has he wandered
I wonder?
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Her husband died when she was 27 years old:

Rising, I see,
and reclining I see
the web of the mosquito netting ...
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

After she had shaved her head, become a nun and retired from public life:

No more
fixing my hair,
merely warming my hands by the fire ...
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Leaves
like crows’ shadows
flirt with a lonely moon.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The moon settled
in a flower-strewn stream
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

My elderly parents
become my children:
strident cicadas
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Illuminating
my fishing line:
the midsummer moon.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Auspicious straw!
Even the compost
looks glorious!
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

How alarming:
her scarlet fingernails
tending the white chrysanthemums!
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Whatever ...
Leave it to the weather:
withered pampas grass.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Heat waves shimmering
above the wettened rock ...
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The moon:
a morning blur
amid cherry blossoms
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Loneliness
abides within the listener:
the cuckoo’s call
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Skylark,
what do you make
of the trackless sky?
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Returning
from moon-viewing:
we humans, voiceless.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The harvest moon
illuminates these snowdrifts
I trample.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

How contentedly they snore
in the boondocks:
full moon
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The butterfly tip-toes at ebb-tide
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Along her path
butterflies flit,
front and back
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Voiceless
as a butterfly:
the Buddhist service
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Whirling its wings
the butterfly
creates its own wind ...
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The waterweed
washes away
unaware of the butterfly’s weight
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Now and then
a dandelion intrudes
on a butterfly’s dreams
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Sometimes a butterfly
emerges from the mist ...
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A butterfly settles on
cherry blossoms:
nap time!
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Moonflowers blossom:
a woman’s nakedness
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

My painted lips
purified:
crystalline springwater
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A woman’s desire:
the wild violets’
entangled roots
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Her day off:
the ******* wakes
to a frigid morning.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

With the waning moon
silence enters the heart.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

We stoop to pick up ebb-tide pebbles.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Ebb-tide:
everything we stoop to collect
slips through our fingers ...
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

To entangle
or unentangle the willow
is the wind’s will.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Inflating the frog’s belly: looming downpour
Inflating the frog’s belly: pregnant thunderheads
The frog inflates: monsoon soon
The frog inflates: prophet of the deluge
Thunderclouds inflating: the frog’s belly
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Her death poem:

Having seen the moon
I can bid Earth
farewell ...
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Isn’t it good
to wake up alone,
unencumbered?
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

She wakes up
alone,
unencumbered.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Her body-debt paid
she wakes alone—
a frigid night.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Coolness—
strangers meet on a bridge
late at night.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

A woman’s passion
flowers from the roots—
wild violets.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Also a poet arranging words
with its airy wings—
the butterfly.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

It’s child’s play for the cranes
circling the clouds
to celebrate the year’s first sunrise

Cicadas chirp
oblivious to death.
—Fukuda Chiyo-ni, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Spring
stirs the clouds
in the sky's teabowl
—Kikusha-ni, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Tonight I saw
how the peony crumples
in the fire's embers
—Katoh Shuhson, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

It fills me with anger,
this moon; it fills me
and makes me whole
—Takeshita Shizunojo, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

War
stood at the end of the hall
in the long shadows
—Watanabe Hakusen, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Because he is slow to wrath,
I tackle him, then wring his neck
in the long grass
—Shimazu Ryoh, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Pale mountain sky:
cherry petals play
as they tumble earthward
—Kusama Tokihiko, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The frozen moon,
the frozen lake:
two oval mirrors reflecting each other.
—Hashimoto Takako, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The bitter winter wind
ends here
with the frozen sea
—Ikenishi Gonsui, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Bitter winter wind,
why bellow so
when there's no leaves to blow?
—Natsume Soseki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The lamp extinguished,
once-distant stars
enter my window.
—Natsume Soseki, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Winter waves
roil
their own shadows
—Tominaga Fûsei, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

No sky,
no land:
just snow eternally falling ...
—Kajiwara Hashin, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Along with spring leaves
my child's teeth
take root, blossom
—Nakamura Kusatao, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Stillness:
a single chestnut leaf glides
on brilliant water
—Ryuin, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The snake slipped away
but his eyes, holding mine,
still stare in the grass
—Kyoshi Takahama, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Girls gather rice sprouts:
reflections of the water flicker
on the backs of their hats
—Kyoshi Takahama, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Murmurs follow the hay cart
this blossoming summer day
—Ippekiro Nakatsuka, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The wet nurse
paused to consider a bucket of sea urchins
then walked away
—Ippekiro Nakatsuka, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

May I be with my mother
wearing her summer kimono
by the morning window
—Ippekiro Nakatsuka, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The hands of a woman exist
to remove the entrails of the spring cuttlefish
—Sekitei Hara, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The moon
hovering above the snow-capped mountains
rained down hailstones
—Sekitei Hara, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Oh, dreamlike winter butterfly:
a puff of white snow
cresting mountains
—Kakio Tomizawa, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Spring snow
cascades over fences
in white waves
—Suju Takano, loose translation by Michael R. Burch



Keywords/Tags: haiku, Japanese, translation, Oriental, imagery, metaphor, nature, coronavirus, plague, life, death, nature

Keywords/Tags: Burch, original haiku, haiku, nature, spring, summer, fall, autumn, winter, Zen, death, Japan, Japanese, translation, life, aging, time, pain, sorrow, lament, mrbhaiku
Garrett Smith Dec 2013
10...
My wife, my brothers
mom, dad
inhale

9...
That vacation at the beach
three, maybe four years ago
exhale

8...
Saying goodbye to a friend
not knowing it was the last
inhale

7...
My favorite song, country roads
hand swimming through the breeze
exhale

6...
Do I forgive what you've done?
should I forgive, should I forget?
inhale

5...
Sweat beads on my brow
I turn to my brothers
exhale

4...
My hands are numb
knuckles white
inhale

3...
seconds roll like thick honey
do I want this?
exhale

2...
Dear God...
guide us...
inhale

1...
Our last fight...
Our first kiss...
exhale...

Lift Off.

— The End —