Triumph of the Sparrow
Zen Poems of Shinkichi Takahashiby Lucien Stryk
“You need know nothing of Zen to become immersed in his work. You will inevitably know something of Zen when you emerge.” – Jim Harrison, American Poetry Review
Shinkichi Takahashi is one of the truly great figures in world poetry. In the classic Zen tradition of economy, disciplined attention, and subtlety, Takahashi lucidly captures that which is contemporary in its problems and experiences, yet classic in its quest for unity with the Absolute. Lucien Stryk, Takahashi’s fellow poet and close friend, here presents Takahashi’s complete body of Zen poems in an English translation that conveys the grace and power of Takahashi’s superb art.
A Wood in Sound
The pine tree sways in the smoke,
Which streams up and up.
There’s a wood in sound.
My legs lose themselves
Where the river mirrors daffodils
Like faces in a dream.
A cold wind and the white memory
Of a sasanqua.
Warm rain comes and goes.
I’ll wait calmly on the bank
Till the water clears
And willows start to bud.
Time is singed on the debris
Of air raids.
Somehow, here and now, I am another.
Aching of Life
There must be something better,
But I’m satisfied just as I am.
Monkeys sport deep in the forest,
Fish shoot up the mountain stream.
If there’s change, there’s also repose–
Which soon must suffer change.
Along the solar orbit of the night,
I feel life’s constant aching:
Smack in the middle of the day,
I found moonlight between a woman’s legs.