The vicissitudes of this world are like the movements of the clouds.
Fifty years of life are nothing but one long dream.
Sparse rain: in my desolate hermitage at night,
Quietly I clutch my robe and lean against the empty window.
Ryokan (translated by John Stevens), One Robe, One Bowl: The Zen Poetry of Ryokan (1977).
The farmers are walking about
in their soggy fields. Inside their heads
a pleasant sun shines on crops without weeds.
In a house across the road a young man
plays a piano, aware of Bach and Bartok
listening indulgently to his blundering counterpoint.
And the dog asleep in a doorway twitches
his forepaws. He's chasing
the fattest hare in Midlothian.
Dreams fly everywhere. They creep
into minds whose owners have slammed them shut.
That boy's lungs are full of them.
Sometimes they come true and the world stares
at a new great painting or a body by the wayside
with chopped off hands.
The dreams of sleep dissolve when the window whitens
and the dreams of daylight swarm in with a passport to heaven
in one hand and a passport to hell in the other.
And sweet berries grow over the graves
of all of us or a white stone marks the place
which is the end of dreams, and of hell, and of heaven.
Ewen McCaig (editor), The Poems of Norman MacCaig (Polygon 2009).