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Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf: Zen Poems of Ryokan Paperback – April 13, 2004

4.7 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf is a welcome addition to the growing body of Ryokan's work available in English."— Tricycle
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala (April 13, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590301080
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590301081
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.4 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #980,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
These are fresh and spare and unforgettable poems, reproduced by John Stevens with directness and fidelity to the original (or so I have been told by my multilingual friends.)

Ryokan was a nature poet but fully in touch with humanity and he had this touch in his poems such that each poem has many levels and can be appreciated through any or all.

"At night I got drunk on peach blossoms by the river.

I never cared about returning home,..."

How can you not love it? I can taste the dewdrops already...
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Format: Paperback
This book is an extremely well balanced collection of poetry and drawings by Ryokan. I know no Japanese to assess the "accuracy" of the translation, but the poems all stand as poetry in their own right in English. Many poems are similar to the Chinese Zen (Chan) poetry - drawing on keen observation rather than metaphor. Others are delightful pieces in which the poet gently laughs at himself. A few poems have a didactic intent but Ryokan's understanding of Buddhism leaves little room for the Buddhist scholastics. This small book should be on the "must read" list for anyone interested in religious poetry.
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Format: Paperback
I like the way Stephens includes enough information about Ryokan to help understand the poetry. As Ryokan notes himself, outside his Zen, he has no Poetry to offer.
Ryokan refusing to take a position of a Zen Abbot, instead goes back to the place of his youth and takes hermitage. "The cold wind gathers enough fallen leaves to build my fire."
His code of living avoids flattery as much as objuragation, he teaches with a tear, plays with children, and falls in love with a young nun. All of this brings forward our own starkling humanity!
Stephens does a master presentation in bringing this material together in such an artful way as to illuminate all sides of Ryokan with that of the reader themselves. And with that the poetry comes alive.
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Format: Paperback
This third edition(Tokyo, 1954)is created of folded rice? paper and bound by a fine green ribbon - this volume fascinates me each time I read it. Ryokwan-sama speaks through his poetry of gentle musings, of wisdom found by not searching for it, and of both happiness & despair. This translation has been made from the Chinese text by Jakob Fischer. This is certainly a labor of love which honors Ryokwan and the culture of the Orient. These contemplations and astute observations of this eccentric priest's life reach towards the zen of living. "I longed on that warm spring day, to stop the enchanted hours in their flight."
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Perfect. A master, of course, I found the poetry in this volume to be to the point, without flair while still remaining subtle and containing depths.
If Zen were a language, this is what it would speak.
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By Mclusky on February 2, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love Ryokan and turn to this book often. It has no fluff or pretense in it the way a lot of classic English poetry has. Ryokan is a poet for those they usually can't stand poetry like myself. He writes about nature, meditation, going for alms and the general ups and downs of human life in a very refreshing way.
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