Oriori no Uta : Poems for All Seasons

The past, the future――

snowlight faintly glows


Taneda Santōka

From Sōmokutō (Grass and Tree Pagoda, 1940). After a troubled and stormy youth, Santōka in middle age became a Buddhist priest, From 1925 until shortly before he died in 1940, he roamed Japan as a begging monk. This haiku, titled “Return,” is from mid-December, 1939, when he had finally settled down in Matsuyama City in a little house he called “A Blade of Grass.” The past and the future, it hints, are boundless and vast, but a faint light shines on both, like the dim glow given off by snow at night. Ten months after moving into A Blade of Grass, Santōka died.




種田山頭火(たねだ さんとうか)