Grasses Bury the River Bank by Su Tung-p’o

Grasses bury the river bank, rain darkens the village;
the temple is lost in tall bamboo–I can’t find the gate.
They’re gathering wood and brewing herbs–I’m sorry a monk is sick;
they’ve swept the ground and burned incense–it cleans my spirit.
Farm work not finished, though we’re into Little Snow;
lamps lit before the Buddha, signal of dusk–
lately I’ve developed a taste for the quiet life.
I think how we could lie and talk together through the night.

translated by Burton Watson

6 thoughts on “Grasses Bury the River Bank by Su Tung-p’o

  1. As a ‘Western Buddhist’ Ive always appreciated these Chinese and Japanese poems which evoke the transient nature of life and its gift/evocation of nature. Basho is my favourite!

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