Tuesday Poem – Though Frosts Come Down, by Ryokan

Though Frosts Come Down

Though frosts come down
night after night,
what does it matter?
they melt in the morning sun.
Though the snow falls
each passing year,
what does it matter?
with spring days it thaws.
Yet once let them settle
on a man’s head,
fall and pile up,
go on piling up –
then the new year
may come and go,
but never you’ll see them fade away


translated by Burton Watson


Taigu Ryokan(1758-1831) was a Japanese poet in a tradition of radical Zen poets or “great fools”. Ryokan had no disciples and ran no temple, preferring a penniless life as a monk. [Source: http://www.poetseers.org/spiritual-and-devotional-poets/buddhist/ryokan/ryokanp/ryokan/]

You can read more Tuesday poems at the Tuesday Poem hub.

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