Snowy notes, thinking spaces
Snowy notes, thinking spaces

I’ve been working on developing a book which includes making poetry translations of Haiku, Waka and other styles and looking for connections to various fields, including art, music and some philosophy. This is still at a fairly early stage as I’ve started totally rewriting the draft, which comes from the original long essay I wrote a while ago, changing the selection of artists and the poems to reflect new ideas and themes.

Independently of this, and quite sporadically too and with much appreciated help, have been tackling some Haiku and Kanshi Chinese style poems, as well as poems in the Waka style, from the original Japanese, looking at Zen Master Dogen Zenji (1200-1253), Ryokan Taigu (1758-1831) and Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) particularly. Considering their particular points of view about life, philosophy, Buddhism and art, it is very interesting to rethink what has already been translated into English, and question the conventions and formats used to do this over the decades.

Another project I started when I was doing Tenzo kitchen and cooking work at the Glasgow Zen Group retreats, was making a guide for future Tenzo cooks taking them through the food planning, schedule, ideas as well as possible recipes required for Soto retreats. Will aim to make some time to continue and expand this, as well as update as have been fortunate to pick up new ideas from other Tenzos… one thing I had started as well was working with Ryokan’s poetry, which can be pretty comical sometimes, to bring into this project, and possibly some drawings or artwork as illustrations.

within the thin covering snow
Three Thousand Worlds
again inside this world
fragile snow falls

vision of decay in mind, the wind permeates the body

at the month’s end moonless –
a one thousand year old cedar
is hugged by the storm

Please look out for more translations that have popped up on Sketchbook Notes.