Eihei Dogen Kigen translations

These are modern English translations of haiku and other poems by Eihei Dogen Kigen, translated by Michael R. Burch. Eihei Dogen Kigen (1200-1253) was a Japanese Buddhist monk, priest, poet and philosopher who founded the Soto school of Zen. 

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

Takaha Shugyo haiku translations

These are my modern English translations of haiku and tanka by Takaha Shugyo.

Oh, fallen camellias,
if I were you,
I'd leap into the torrent!
—Takaha Shugyo, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Wild geese pass
leaving the emptiness of heaven
revealed ...
—Takaha Shugyo, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Inside the cracked shell
of a walnut:
one empty room.
—Takaha Shugyo, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Haiku translations

These are modern English translations of haiku written by Oriental masters of the form like Basho, Buson, Issa, Seishi, Shiki, Shugyo and Sugita. There are also translations of ancient waka and tanka, with strong resemblances to haiku. 

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

THIS WORLD OF DEW …

In their haiku the Oriental masters of the form frequently used dew as a metaphor for the transience of life. Some of these poets have used dew metaphorically in a jisei (a type of death poem sometimes called a “zen death poem”) … but then I discovered to my surprise that I had used dew in similar ways quite frequently in my own poetry …

This world?
Moonlit dew
flicked from a crane’s bill.
— Eihei Dogen Kigen, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch 

After Hearing the Rain

wet
with the dew
of a heavy rain—
the scent of ozone
lingering still
 
          *
 
a bird cries
somewhere in a nest—
her shattered child
 
          *
 
the gate has opened—
I walk through
looking for salvation
 
          *
 
these are the souls
who wander
the desolate streets—
I search their eyes
they do not see
 
          *
 
in the street
after a heavy rain—
a moment of heat
 
          *
 

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