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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, Looking out across the sea to the Fleet Isles. To a poem written, in not dissimilar vein and within a year, but on the other side of the world. 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 A spider's web between stalks. To a poem written a thousand years previously at a Buddhist high point in Tang China. - 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.

Above hovering on blue introduces a link: click to go, move away to stay.


Saturday 14th December 2019

Murphy on duty to this site