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
Thought I Was Free
Thought I was free of passion, so this melancholy comes as surprise: a woodcock shoots up from the marsh
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,
How wonderful, that Her heart Should show me kindness; And of all the numberless folk,
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
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
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,
As Banked Clouds
As banked clouds are swept apart by the wind, at dawn the sudden cry of the first wild geese
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
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
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
To bid them my last farewell.