Biography of Saigyo
23 year old Norikiyo Satoh, an elite warrior who served the retired emperor, became a Buddhist monk and called himself Saigyo. His reasons for becoming a monk are not known.
However, it is said that the actual person was quite different from the rustic image one might have of a wandering Buddhist monk and hermit. He had connections with the highest authorities of his time, such as the retired emperor Suitoku, worked with Taira no Kiyomori as a warrior, met with the first Shogun, Minamoto no Yoritomo, and left us with many episodes from his time as a political coordinator, at which he worked even after becoming a monk.
He was, of course, also a famous poet. Since his death, his life has become legend in Japan. But where can we find the true Saigyo? Perhaps in the "suffering spiritual flower" of his poems.
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Winds Of Autumn
Even in a person most times indifferent to things around him they waken feelings
Not Stopping To Mark The Trail
Not stopping to mark the trail, let me push even deeper into the mountain! Perhaps there's a place
The Monk Saigyo
Should I blame the moon For bringing forth this sadness, As if it pictured grief? Lifting up my troubled face,
Having Seen Them Long
Having seen them long, I hold the flowers so dear That when they scatter I find it all the more sad
As Banked Clouds
As banked clouds are swept apart by the wind, at dawn the sudden cry of the first wild geese
In A Mountain Village
In a mountain village at autumn’s end— that’s where you learn what sadness means
limitations gone since my mind fixed on the moon clarity and serenity make something for which
Now I Understand!
Now I understand! When to remember me She vowed, She said she would forget me,
Why Should I Be Bitter
Why should I be bitter About someone who was A complete stranger Until a certain moment
How wonderful, that Her heart Should show me kindness; And of all the numberless folk,
There's Not A Trace Of Cloud
There's not a trace of cloud Now-and she Is in my thoughts; The moon and my heart
Having Drifted Apart
Having drifted apart, Why should folk Despise each other? For Not known and unknowing
He Made No Promise
He made no promise, yet Wondering if he'll come, I wait, In the early evening; If only it would stay this way,
Sunk In Melancholy
Sunk in melancholy, and Gazing Upon the moon: its hue: Why is it so deeply
As Banked Clouds
As banked clouds
are swept apart by the wind,
at dawn the sudden cry
of the first wild geese
winging across the mountains.