For Daigu Ryokan (1758-1831)

NEAR THE INN AT JOURNEY'S END


As the geese head home
I cross the bridge into the village,
Above on the hills are pines
Below stand fields and orchards.
Children chatter
And the persimmons are ripe.


Having crossed the bridge,
I am met by the hermit
From the forest wastes
Whose ragged robe and empty bowl
Offend me -
He is a little drunk it seems.


He asks: ‘Has the bridge brought you
To firm ground now? '
‘I saw you start to cross
But my mind's eye slipped
And the bridge was empty -
On the path, there is no separation'.

by Keith Shorrocks Johnson

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