Buddhism · Classic · Japanese Culture · Poetry · Traditional · Zen


The night is fresh and cool,
Staff in hand I walk through the gate.
Wisteria and ivy grow together along the winding mountain path;
Birds sing quietly in their nests and a monkey howls nearby.
As I reach a high peak a village appears in the distance.
The old pines are full of poems;
I bend down for a drink of pure spring water.
There is a gentle breeze, and the round moon hangs overhead.
Standing by a deserted building,
I pretend to be a crane softly floating among the clouds.

— Ryokan (1758–1831) translated by John Stevens


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