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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A POEM BY RYOKAN

anne truitt, twining court 1, 2001
     


     PAYING RESPECTS AT THE GRAVE
     OF MY TEACHER SHIYO


     Old grave on the side of a deserted hill

     where year after year the sad grasses grow;

     no one attending to sprinkle and sweep it,

     only a reed-cutter at times passing by.

     I remember long ago, hair in boy's braids,

     going to school by the Seba River.

     Then one morning we flew off in different directions;

     after that no word from one another.

     Now I've come home and you've departed---

     how can I face your spirit?

     I pour a dipper of water over the stone,

     a small gesture of respect for my teacher.

     The bright sun suddenly sinks in the west;

     in mountain fields, only the sound of pines.

     Wandering back and forth, I can't bear to leave,

     tears continually wetting my robe.


                                         ----Ryokan
                                        tr Burton Watson


                *

    


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