Words of Wonderzen poem by ryokan

Like the little stream
Making its way
Through the mossy crevices
I, too, quietly
Turn clear and transparent.

by Ryokan, translated by John Stevens


Sitting by this little babbling stream in my mind’s eye takes me back to times when I used to cycle out of Glasgow and into the countryside, stopping and sitting by a wee babbling burn (little stream) to take a drink; to cool my hands and my face

the water clear like liquid diamonds glittering in the sun. The gentle sound of the water babbling and gurgling lulling me into a still place of just being there, with the stream at peace and away from everything, as the cars whizzed by. I was here with this little stream and its moss, its lichen its neverending stories. Fresh in the serenity of this moment, there is only the water and its course and it runs through me.


Ryōkan it is said, was a very humble  Japanese Zen monk who spent his time writing poetry, drawing calligraphy, and communing with nature.

From Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf:  Zen Poems of Ryokan, translated by John Stevens. Published by Shambala in Boston, 1996.