Poems by Ryōkan

“Down in the village
the din of
flute and drum,
here deep in the mountain
everywhere the sound of the pines.

Wild peonies
Now at their peak in
Glorious full bloom.
Too precious to pick.
Too precious not to pick.”


“Slopes of Mount Kugami—
in the mountain’s shade
a hut beneath the trees—
how many years it’s been my home?
The time comes to take leave of it—
my thoughts wilt like summer grasses,
I wander back and forth like the evening star—
till that hut of mine is hidden from sight,
till that grove of trees can no longer be seen,
at each bend of the long road,
at every turning,I turn to look back
in the direction of that mountain.”


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