Kenji Miyazawa Arrived Today

ImageMy book of Miyazawa’s poetry arrived today and I love it. I will share a sample but must set the context. Miyazawa died at the age of 37 having suffered from pleurisy (a lung disease) his entire life. In light of this and the fact that he was relatively unknown until after he died I find the following poem intensely poignant.

Night

So far for two hours
the blood from my throat hasn’t stopped.
Outside people walk no longer,
trees quietly breathing and budding this spring night.
This very place is the training ground of spring, the bodhisattva
     has abandoned a billion of his bodies,
various buddhas live here in nirvana, and so
tonight, now, here, seen by no one,
I can die alone –
I’ve decided on this thought many times,
I have told it to myself,
but again lukewarm
new blood wells up and
once again pale-white I become frightened.

 

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