Japanese Poetry, The Masters

Dogen’s Waka on Impermanence

Waka is a Japanese word for poem that surfaced more than a millenium ago to differentiate the Chinese kanshi poems from the work of local scribes. A waka can have a long or short form, and the short ones can often read like haikus, a poetic embodiment of transience. This short one was written by Dogen in the 13th century.


Waka on Impermanence

The world? Moonlit
Drops shaken
From the crane’s bill


Dogen (1200-1253)
From: Zen Poems of China and Japan: The Crane’s Bill

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