Dew and Mist
Dew and early morning mist
The warmth of the sun-light catching the dew and evaporating the water
This world of dew is only the world of dew– and yet...and yet...

Issa (1763-1827)

Issa's tragic life, turfed out at 14, his wife and five daughters all dying, and he himself died before his last child, (to a subsequent marriage) was born, maybe helps account for his great appeal to those in trouble, especially to children and families. His 'In the Spring of my Life' is considered to be second only to Basho's work as a masterpiece in spiritual journey writings.

Dew stands here for the ephemeral nature of life, reminding us of the truth that a Buddhist might be expected to fully grasp: that beauty passes just like the dewdrop, but at times believing this is challenging - he wrote the poem just after a daughter had died. At the same time the beauty of the dew is also a reminder that maybe there is more to the world than the ephemeral nature we see around us.

Other related pages: more on worlds at Many Worlds, images and meaning in Chinese art and Calligraphy; a Haiku by Onitsura on Icicles; meaning in thought and language; and the place of beauty in art.

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  • Kobayashi Issa (1819) 'The Spring of My Life'. Translated selections by Sam Hamil & J.P. Seaton (2004) in 'The Poetry of Zen', Shambhala.

28th May 2015 ~ 21st June 2015