Written on the Verge of Death ; Japanese Death Poems.

Written on the Verge of Death ; Japanese Death Poems.

Imagine casting off the fabric of your life and condensing it into seventeen syllables, three short lines. You could in the traditions of wandering monks and geisha and samurai write a short a Poem.
A Death Poem.

My companion in the skies
of death,
a cuckoo.


Jisei, is the ancient art of writing � a farewell poem�. A traditional Jisei was mostly written in tanku form((five lines with 5-7-5-7-7 syllables respectively) but a great deal of them are also written in haiku form also .
You would probably think a death poem has a underlining negativity to it. Well I think the Jesei is about embracing death, embracing inevitability. Once one ceases to worry about life and death, one can begin to enjoy oneself; just as, when one stops worrying about when the mushrooms will kick in, the walls start swaying.

ill on a journey
my last dream wandering
Over withered fields.


The great haiku poet Mutaso Basho apparently did not leave us a death poem. While approaching the final hours of his life, his students pressed close around him, hinting that it would be a good time for him to prepare a final haiku. Basho turned to them and said, �Anyone of my poems could be my death poem.�

Ending, I would like to say again that a Death Poem is about living a life of spirtual discipline and a mastery of your writing craft and coming to terms with your destiny and accepting your mortality.
A message at the end of one journey and at the beginning of another.

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