Taigu Ryokan

(1758-1831 / Japan)

First Days Of Spring - The Sky - Poem by Taigu Ryokan

First days of Spring-the sky
is bright blue, the sun huge and warm.
Everything's turning green.
Carrying my monk's bowl, I walk to the village
to beg for my daily meal.
The children spot me at the temple gate
and happily crowd around,
dragging to my arms till I stop.
I put my bowl on a white rock,
hang my bag on a branch.
First we braid grasses and play tug-of-war,
then we take turns singing and keeping a kick-ball in the air:
I kick the ball and they sing, they kick and I sing.
Time is forgotten, the hours fly.
People passing by point at me and laugh:
'Why are you acting like such a fool?'
I nod my head and don't answer.
I could say something, but why?
Do you want to know what's in my heart?
From the beginning of time: just this! just this!

Comments about First Days Of Spring - The Sky by Taigu Ryokan

  • Fabrizio Frosini (11/24/2016 5:38:00 AM)

    Santoka Taneda was rather different from Ryokan, from a certain point of view..
    about Santōka's begging:
    when someone mentioned this contrast -with Ryōkan's begging- to Santōka, he replied: ''My passions are too deep to do such a thing. If I don't have a begging bowl, I can't live. Therefore, I never forget my bowl.''
    (Report) Reply

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  • Fabrizio Frosini (11/24/2016 5:34:00 AM)

    Ryōkan Oshō, the famous beggar-monk-poet of Echigo, frequently left his begging bowl by the side of the road while he tossed a ball with the village children, played marbles with the local geishas, or picked flowers. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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