Monthly Archives: January 2015

Rengetsu Poems from the Rengetsu Circle

Preface and Acknowledgements

Professor John Stevens Sensei, Rengetsu authority, has published two books on Rengetsu’s life and poetry (2005, 2014) and has done much to bring her work to the Western public. We wish to express appreciation to Stevens Sensei for his wonderful translations of Rengetsu’s poems and to the Robyn Buntin Gallery for permission to publish them here. The information for this posting came from http://rengetsu.robynbuntin.com/category/artwork/. You may enjoy visiting the Rengetsu Circle, http://rengetsu.robynbuntin.com/. Rengetsu’s distinctive calligraphy is superbly rendered on the scroll shown here.

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世の中の  ちりものごりも  ながれてハ     きよきにかえる  かものかわなみ

yo no naka no    chiri mo nagori mo    nagarete wa     kiyoki ni kaeru    kamo no kawanami

This floating world’s   dirt and grime   flows away,

And all is purified   by the waves of Kamo River.

~ ~ ~

yado kasanu   hito no tsurasa o   nasake nite     oborotsuki yo no   hana no shitabushi

“No place at the inn“ but   I find consolation   sleeping beneath

The hazy moon   and the cherry blossoms.

~  ~  ~

この君は  めでたきふしを  かさねつつ   末の世ながき  ためしなりけり 

kono kimi wa   medetaki fushi o   kasane tsutsu     sue no yo nagaki   tameshi nari keri

Noble bamboo   puts forth node after node   year after year

Flourishing quietly,   an example to us.

~  ~  ~

kogahara ochite kokemusu kusamura ni     kokoro nagaku mo sumeru tsuki kana

Across the ancient fields   bunches of moss   mingle with thick grass;

My heart, too, is brightened   by the pure moonlight.

~  ~  ~

ukarekite    hana no no tsuyu ni    nemuru nari      ko wa daga yume no    kochoo naruran

Sporting and sleeping   among  the dew in    a field of flowers –

In whose dream    is this butterfly?

~  ~  ~

海己雪

たちかえり なにはすが々さ きてもミん     雪おもしろき あはちしま山

umi no yuki

tachikaeri   naniwa sugagasa   kite momin     yuki omoshiroki   awajishima yama

Seashore Snow

Returning home   in my Naniwa straw hat   I gaze upon the

Snow white face of   Awajishima mountain.

~  ~  ~

元旦のあしたけさう文うるミて

人ミなの 春のこ々ろや さそうふらん     かざしのうめも 匂ふ明けぼの

gantan no ashita kesofumi urumite

hito minano  haru no kokoro ya   sasouran     kazashi no ume mo   niou akebono

Upon seeing a good luck charm vendor on  New Year’s Day morning

Surely all are   enticed by the   heart of spring—

As we smell plum blossoms on display,   and watch a brilliant sunrise.

~  ~  ~

くみあげて 世にこそめずれ 山ふきの     花のかふかき うじのつむ水

kumiagete   yo ni koso mezure   yamafuki no     hana no kou kaki   uji no tsumu mizu

Scooped up and put inside this pot:  something so admired   for its fragrance of

Mountain roses – the water from Uji (River).

~  ~  ~

ゆく末の さちのとよはひを  二葉にて ちとせをまつぞ  めてたくりけり

yuku sue no   sachi no to yowai o   futaba ni te   chitose o matsu zo  medetakuri keri

One’s coming years   of maturity   should be celebrated

As being like the fresh needles   of an auspicious, evergreen pine.

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