enlightenment

Inhale, exhale

Forward, back

Living, dying:

Arrows, let flow each to each

Meet midway and slice

The void in aimless flight-

Thus I return to the source ~Gesshu Soko

cattailsinsun

Hoffmann (Japanese Death Poems, p. 97) notes that within this poem the arrows after hitting in midair do not fall to the ground, but continue in directionless flight through empty space. He further states that the image within this poem tells of a state of consciousness in  which the concept of the ordinary mind forming one’s outlook on the world have vanished and polarities (good-bad, life-death) are embraced in an enlightened being.

black & white sunday: after and before

A bamboo sprout

Picked too soon-

It would bloom in glory

But for man

~Issa (trans: N Yuasa: The Year of My Life)

irisbnw

In the above haiku, Issa has written about imaginary blossoms.  Yuasa notes that bamboo sprouts are harvested when they are young and soft and that they bear no flowers even if they are left to grow.  After: “alternative facts”  Before: “imaginary blossoms”

iris

lost in translation