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A poem by Yosa Buson: Elegy to the Old Man Hokuju

 

Elegy to the Old Man Hokuju

You left in the morning, at evening my heart is in a
thousand pieces.
Why is it so far away?

Thinking of you, I go up on the hill and wander.
Around the hill, why is it such a sadness?

Dandelions yellow and shepherds-purse blooming white —
not anyone to look at them.

I hear a pheasant, calling and calling fervently.
Once a friend was there across the river, living.

Ghostly smoke rises and fades away with a west wind
strong in fields of small bamboo grasses and reedy fields.
Nowhere to leave for.

Once a friend was there across the river, living, but today
not even a bird sings a song.

You left in the morning, at evening my heart is in a
thousand pieces.
Why is it so far away?

In my grass hut by the Amida image I light no candle,
offer no flowers, and only sit here alone.
This evening, how invaluable it is.

Priest Buson
with a thousand bowings

 

Yosa Buson

 

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