Lucien Stryk

Translating Zen Poems (1989)

(I. M. Takashi Ikemoto)

The sliding doors open in
The house hugging the mountain—
Side where my children sled

in sandpapered orange-crates,
downswoop into our garden under
snow-glazed cypress, walnut,

fig, persimmon trees, mowing
dried stalks of tall eulalia
grass along the way. Inside,

we sit crosslegged, flushed
with hibachi embers, before
the plum-black Sado vase,

under your gift, the Taiga
scroll plum-blossoming out of
season. Over green tea and sweet

bean cake, I watch you shuffling
pages where I’ve englished
sparrows, temple gardens, fish,

time, universe—waiting
your word.
Now, thumbing through

years of those poems, I see you,
old friend, in flickering
light of sunset over snow roofs

of this midwestern town, recall
a moment under a mountain, when we
knew a master’s words need never die.



‘Translating Zen Poems’ first appeared in Pen and Ink and Paper Scraps and is © Ohio University Press / Swallow Press. It appears here with the kind permission of Ohio University Press / Swallow Press.

For a note about Lucien Stryk and his titles in print see Hearn in Matsue.



















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Titles by and about Lucien Stryk
from Ohio University Press /
Swallow Press, links to

Encounter with Zen (1981)

Collected Poems, 1953~1983 (1984)

Of Pen and Ink and
Paper Scraps (1989)

The Dumpling Field:
Haiku of Issa (1991)

Zen, Poetry, the Art of Lucien
Stryk, ed. Susan Porterfield (1993)

And Still Birds Sing:
New and Collected Poems (1998)