death poem

Basho died while visiting friends in Osaka.  He wrote:

Taken ill on a journey,
my dreams wander
over withered moors.

Aitken Roshi, in The River of Heaven, suggests this was not Basho’s death poem.  Apparently, when asked for a death poem, Basho said:

From old times it has been customary to leave a death poem behind, and perhaps I should do the same.  But every moment of life is the last; every poem is a death poem.  Why then should I write one at this time?  In these last hours, I have no poem.

What is your poem in this moment?

7 thoughts on “death poem

  1. The direction that I am going in,
    in the present moment,
    is my path…

    Everything that arises,
    everything that is presented
    is my path…

    Follow the directionless path,
    the path that leads to nowhere –
    the present moment…

  2. I guess I have two phrases that I use that encapsulate it all.

    ‘Leaves fall.’ I use it on every blog post/e-mail.

    ‘I am here.’

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