Zen Poems - Lucien Stryk [Reader & Translator] (VBR MP3)
1. Enlightenment Poems of the Chinese Zen Masters (6:39)
2. Death Poems of the Chinese Zen Masters (8:03)
3. Poems of the Japanese Zen Masters (11:58)
4. Poems of the Japanese Zen Masters: Continued (8:00)
5. Shinkichi Takahashi - Contemporary Japanese Master (6:42)
6. Zen Poems of Lucien Stryk (13:45)
Total time: 55:07
This is a great collection of Chinese and Japanese Zen poems, read and translated by Lucien Stryk, who also includes a few of his own works at the end.
I enjoy reading Chinese and Japanese poetry in translation. It has a directness and simplicity that I never found in most Western poetry.
The poems are fairly short and condensed. These are a few fairly typical examples:
Without a jot of ambition left
I let my nature flow where it will.
There are ten days of rice in my bag
And by the hearth, a bundle of firewood.
Who prattles of "illusion" or "nirvana?"
Forgetting the equal dusts of fame and fortune,
Listening to the night rain on the roof of my hut,
I sit at ease, both legs stretched out.
After ten years in the red light district,
How solitary a spell in the mountains.
I can see clouds a thousand miles away
Hear ancient music in the pines ...
The myriad differences resolved by sitting
All doors open ...
In this still place I follow my nature, be what it may.
Through the one hundred flowers I wander freely
The soaring cliff my hall of meditation.
With the moon emerged – my mind is motionless.
Sitting on this frosty seat
No further dream of fame.
The forest, the mountain, follow their ancient ways
And through the long Spring day -
Not even the shadow of a bird ...
Serving the Shogun in the capital
Stained by worldly dust, I found no peace.
Now, straw hat pulled down, I follow the river ...
How fresh the sight of gulls across the sand!
Lucien Stryk Biography
"Lucien Stryk is an American Zen poet, translator, and former English professor at Northern Illinois University (NIU).
Stryk was born in Poland, moved to Chicago aged four, and served on the Northern Illinois University faculty from 1958 until his retirement in 1991. He also has taught at universities in Japan, and was a Fulbright lecturer both in Japan and in Iran.
Stryk has written or edited more than two dozen volumes of poetry, collections, and translations of Chinese and Japanese Zen poetry. His poetry has been influenced by Walt Whitman, Paul Éluard, and Basho, and translated into Japanese, Chinese, French, Spanish, Swedish and Italian.