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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The Monk Saigyo
Should I blame the moon For bringing forth this sadness, As if it pictured grief? Lifting up my troubled face,
Winds Of Autumn
Even in a person most times indifferent to things around him they waken feelings
How wonderful, that Her heart Should show me kindness; And of all the numberless folk,
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
Sunk In Melancholy
Sunk in melancholy, and Gazing Upon the moon: its hue: Why is it so deeply
limitations gone since my mind fixed on the moon clarity and serenity make something for which
In A Mountain Village
In a mountain village at autumn’s end— that’s where you learn what sadness means
As Banked Clouds
As banked clouds are swept apart by the wind, at dawn the sudden cry of the first wild geese
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
Now I Understand!
Now I understand! When to remember me She vowed, She said she would forget me,
Thought I Was Free
Thought I was free of passion, so this melancholy comes as surprise: a woodcock shoots up from the marsh
Having Drifted Apart
Having drifted apart, Why should folk Despise each other? For Not known and unknowing
Why Should I Be Bitter
Why should I be bitter About someone who was A complete stranger Until a certain moment
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,
Having Drifted Apart
Having drifted apart,
Why should folk
Despise each other? For
Not known and unknowing
Times there were once before…