Fennel flowers with dew on them and sky behind.


This world of dew is only the world of dew– and yet...and yet...

Kobayahi Issa (c. 1817)

Issa’s tragic life, his mother dying when he was three, later years of fighting his step family, and then his wife and children all dying, underlies his great appeal to those in trouble, most especially to children and families. Here dew stands for the ephemeral nature of life, reminding us of the truth that a Buddhist, as he was, might be expected to fully grasp: that beauty too passes just like the dewdrop. However, at times believing this can be challenging - he wrote the poem just after his second child had died. We yearn to hang on to the beauty, or at the very least, we wish to see that beauty explained as part of some greater whole.


The Japanese poet Issa (1763 - 1828) is said to have written over 20,000 haiku. This translation is by Sam Hamil + J.P. Seaton (2004) in ‘The Poetry of Zen’, published by Shambhala. Issa’s ‘In the Spring of my Life’ is considered to be second only to Basho’s work as a masterpiece among spiritual journey writings. The photograph, taken early on an August morning in Moffat, Scotland, is of the flowers of fennel.


Saturday 14th December 2019

Murphy on duty

Details of the
Greeting Card

Go to the contents for this section     Go to the 'Home' page for this site - ColinBrydon.net     Return to the top