Jun 032013

Since I speak little Japanese and no variety of Chinese (in which the Zen poems like this were composed), all the Japanese poems on this site are drawn from (Israeli!) scholar Yoel Hoffman’s excellent Japanese Death Poems, and translated into Hebrew from his English prose translations. For legal reasons and because I am lazy, the English translation you’ll find below is actually a re-translation from the Hebrew, rather than Hoffman’s original English. Whether a translation is still valid after all these games of cross-linguistic telephone I don’t know, since I can’t read the originals (which Hoffman doesn’t provide anyway), but they maintain their internal logic, I think, so…s’all good.

סייגיו (1118-90)
שיר מוות

חֶפְצִי לָמוּת
בָּאָבִיב, מִתַּחַת
לְפִרְחֵי הַדֻּבְדְּבָן
בְּעוֹד יָרֵחַ הָאָבִיב
  1. My wish is to die
    in the spring, beneath
    the cherry blossoms
    while the spring moon
    is full.

    (Death poem, Saigyo, 1118-90)

  One Response to “I should not be reading these.”

  1. Luckily, it’s now summer.

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