all thoughts exhausted...



(Woodblock, 1856)


When all thoughts
Are exhausted
I slip into the woods
And gather
A pile of shepherd's purse.

Like the little stream
Making its way
Through the mossy crevices
I, too, quietly
Turn clear and transparent.

        – Ryƍkan

                (Trans. John Stevens)


DeadMule said...

Oh, lovely.

anhaga said...

Thanks for posting these, Sam. A beautiful picture and poem, and I think I know the mood well.

I wonder about the translator's wisdom in rendering the flower in the first stanza as "shepherd's purse." Even assuming that the Japanese word does refer to the same flower that English calls "shepherd's purse," the translation can't help but introduce alien connotations into a poem from a time when there were no sheep in Japan (I'm guessing, about that).

Too small of a quibble, maybe, but questions of translation have been on my mind lately....

sam of the ten thousand things said...

And those questions should be on your mind, James. You're right in your notion here. But, it is a neat poem.

Thanks, Helen.