VI. From the Literature:  Japanese Death Poems
From: deans12@aol.com

The book "JAPANESE DEATH POEMS Written by Zen Monks and Haiku
Poets on the Verge of Death." was compiled by Yoel Hoffmann.
Publisher, Charles E.  Tuttle Company, Inc..  ISBN 0-8048 1505-4.
Library of Congress Catalog Card No.  85-52347.  Cost $ 17.50.  I
purchased it from the University Bookstore, Seattle, Washington.
Phone number (206) 634-3400.  Sorry I don't have the address but
they are wonderful to deal with over the phone.

Died on the twelfth day of the tenth month 1694 at the age of fifty-one.

On a journey, ill:                     Tabi ni yande
my dream goes wandering       yume wa kareno o
over withered fields.                 kakemeguru

Died on the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month, 1783 at the age of

Of late the nights                      Shiraume ni
are dawning                             akaru yo bakari to
plum-blossom white.                  narinikeri

Died on the third day of the ninth month, 1806 at the age of forty-five

I long for people -                     Hito koishi
then again I loathe them:           hito mutsukashishi
end of autumn.                         aki no kure

Died on the nineteenth day of the tenth month, 1778 at the age of

Leaves never fall                       Uso ni chiru
in vain - from all around             ha mo nashi yomo no
bells tolling.                               kane no koe

Died on the nineteenth day of the eleventh month, 1827 at the age of
What matter if I live on -             A mama yo
a tortoise lives                            ikite mo kame no
a hundred times as long.             hyaku-bu ichi


From one basin                          Tarai kara
to another -                                 tarai ni utsuru
stuff and nonsense.                     chimpunkan

note:  "Accounts of Issa's death do not indicate that he wrote a death poem;
these two poems are held to be his death poems by popular tradition."

Died on the thirteenth day of the ninth month, 1772 at the age of

A back-yard chrysanthemum       Uragiku ya
looked at the setting sun               yuhi ni mukai
and faded.                                  shibominuru

Died on the fourth day of the second month, 1703 at the age of twenty-four

Over the fields of                         Sono nioi
last night's snow -                        yuki no ashita no
plum fragrance.                           noume kana

Died on the nineteenth day of September, 1902 at the age of thirty-six

The loofah blooms and                 Hechima saite
I, full of phlegm,                           tan no tsumarishi
become a Buddha.                       hotoke kana

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