Song: Thoughts of a Traveler on the Chikuma River by Shimazaki Toson

Leonard Durso

Yesterday it was this way too–
today again it will be like this.
Why fret your life away
forever worrying about tomorrow?

How many times have I gone down into the valley
where dreams of glory and decay still linger,
seen the uncertain drift of the river waves,
sand-laden water that circles and returns?

Ah, what is the old castle saying?
What do the waves along the shore reply?
Be still and consider the ages gone by–
a hundred years are like yesterday

Chikuma River willows are hazy,
spring is shallow, the water flows on.
Alone I wander over the rocks,
binding my sorrows to this shore

translated by Hiroaki Sato & Burton Watson

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