after Soen’s dancing maple

dropletinto my meditation
the scent of rain

into my meditation
a small child’s

into my daydream
a single red leaf

. . . . . . .


Into the zendo
Twilight maples
Come dancing

(c) Soen Nakagawa

given as a prompt for Carpe Diem Haiku Kai the goal being ‘to write a haiku in the same sense, tone and Spirit as the one given.’

Terebess Asia Online transcribes the poem a little differently:

Into the zendo
Twilight maples
Come [dancing]

and says of Soen Nakagawa and this poem:

Soen—perhaps the zaniest Zen master of modern times—was, among other things, an accomplished haiku poet, and this was one of his favorite verses. It is featured in his book “Ten Haiku of My Choice.” Soen often recalled the crimson leaves dancing in the twilight of the meditation hall at Ryutaku-ji in Japan, and he frequently brushed this poem. Here the character for dance forms a one-word barrier that is really moving.

There are more Soen Nakagawa poems on Terebess Asia Online. He might be my new favourite poet. Thanks to Kristjaan for introducing him to me.


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