Untitled Temple Poem
The sun comes up each morning in silence;
the moon disappears, but nobody sees.
Flowers dance by the roadside unnoticed;
birds twitter sweetly, but nobody hears.
People don’t stop to consider what matters.
People work hard all their lives to achieve
a dream of success that will make them happy:
position or power, fortune or fame—
until they are old and they realize too late
that the beauty of living has passed them by
while the river travels alone to the ocean,
the wind sings alone in the tops of the trees.
This poem was translated and adapted into English at the request of Morinobu Okabe, 31st priest of the Zen Buddhist Temple of Kokoji. The original Japanese poem is available to visitors as a broadside; this adaptation, which was first read by Ehrhart at a tea ceremony at the temple on June 23rd, 2006, will now be available at the temple for English-speaking visitors.
Kazunori “Ken” Takenaga is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War, where he first met W. D. “Bill” Ehrhart. Takenaga, then a Japanese National, now holds dual American and Japanese citizenship. He is currently a tourism specialist working for hotels in the Seto Inland Sea area of Japan.
Works by Kazunori “Ken” Takenaga
Poetry: Untitled Temple Poem