JAPANESE DEATH POEMS

JAPANESE DEATH POEMS
Written by Zen Monks and Haiku Poets on the Verge of Death

Source: Yoel Hoffmann (1937-)

DAIRIN SOTO
Died on the twenty-seventh day of the first month, 1568 at the age of eighty-nine

My whole life long I’ve sharpened my sword
And now, face to face with death
I unsheathe it, and lo–
The blade is broken–
Alas!

BASSUI TOKUSHO
Died on the twentieth day of the second month, 1387 at the age of sixty-one

Look straight ahead. What’s there?
If you see it as it is
You will never err.

 

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