mit goldnen Fingern
fummelt der Vollmond zwischen
den feuchten Gräsern

[As the wind rises,]
Dewdrops come glimmering down,
And pliant pampas
Soon divide themselves to let
The moon nestle there a while.

[The Zen Poems of Ryokan. Selected and Translated with an Introduction, Biographical Sketch, and Notes by Nobuyuki Yuasa. Princeton: Princeton University Press 1981. 136.]

Die Anregung zu diesem Vers geht zwar auf Ryokan und Nobuyuki Yuasa zurück. Aber es handelt sich selbstverständlich nicht um eine angemessene Übersetzung: Insbesondere entspricht das englische Verb  „to nestle“ gewiss nicht dem deutschen „fummeln“!

Lauter Brunnenfrösche

der ewige Streit
wer Recht hat wer gut ist
nichts als Gequake

Ikkyū Sōjun (1394-1481):

[In the midst of happiness there is trouble in Ikkyū’s school.]
Each frog fighting for respect at the bottom of the well;
Day and night busy thinking about the details of the scriptures;
Right and wrong, self and other, fussing away a whole life.


Arntzen, Sonja: Ikkyū Sōjun. A Zen Monk and his Poetry. Occasional Paper No. 4. Program in East Asian Studies. Western Washington State College. Washington 1973. 98f.


die Tempelfliegen
verdrehen die Pfötchen wie

Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827):

The flies in the temple
imitate the hands
of the people with prayer beads.

The Essential Haiku. Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa. Edited and with Verse Translations by Robert Hass. New York: HarperCollins 1994. 188.


werden schließlich zu Sklaven
der Chrysanthemen

Yosa Buson (1716-1783)

when you grow chrysanthemums
you become a servant
of chrysanthemums

Collected Haiku of Yosa Buson. Translated by W.S. Merwin & Takako Lento. Port Townsend, Washington: Copper Canyon Press 2013. 169.

Chrysanthemum growers –
you are the slaves
of chrysanthemums!

The Essential Haiku. Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa. Edited and with Verse Translations by Robert Hass. New York: HarperCollins 1994. 100.

Ikkyūs Zen

Sitzen und Singen?
lieber die schlichte Weisheit
der Sinnesfreuden

Ikkyū Sōjun (1394-1481)

don’t hesitate get laid that’s wisdom
sitting around chanting what crap

(Crow With No Mouth. Ikkyū. Fifteenth Century Zen Master.
Versions by Stephen Berg. Port Townsend: Copper Canyon Press 1989. 54. Klappentext: „Zen master Ikkyū Sōjun was a Japanese monk-poet-calligrapher-musician who celebrated erotic love and attained satori upon hearing a crow call. Appointed headmaster at Daitokuji, the great temple in Kyoto, he lasted nine days before denouncing the rampant hypocrisy among the monks. He invited them to look for him in the sake parlors of the Pleasure Quarters.“)


Jahreszeiten sind
schnuppe wichtig ist eine
ruhige Seele

[无门]慧开 (1183-1260): 春有百花


[Wumen] Huikai (1183-1260): Spring Has Its Myriad Flowers

Spring has its myriad flowers, autumn its moon;
summer has cool breezes, winter its snows.
If your mind is free of trivial worries,
this then is a good season in human terms.

(A Full Load of Moonlight. Chinese Chan Buddhist Poems. Translated by Mary M. J. Fung and David Lunde. Hongkong: Musical Stone Culture 2014. 82.)