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Ikkyu: Crow With No Mouth: 15th Century Zen Master Paperback – September 1, 2000

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Editorial Reviews


Age Eighty Weak
All Koans Just Lead You On
All The Bad Things I Do Will Go Up In Smoke
All The Old Masters Want Is Money And Fame
Alone With The Icy Moon No Passion
Amazingly Sad How Its Blade Mirrors The Years
And It Breaks My Heart How So Easily
And The Nights Inside You Rocking
And What Is The Heart
Another House Has Its Own Path Through The Dark
Anybody Can Enter Buddha's World
At The Bath She Bathed Scrubbing Her Face And Body
A Beautiful Woman's Hot Vagina's Full Of Love
Before Birth After Birth
Believe In The Man Facing You Now
Beloved Wei-shan Wanted To Come Back As A Cow Grazing A Wide Valley
Books Koans Sitting Miss The Heart But Not Fishermen's Songs
Born Born Everything Is Always Born
Break Open The Cherry Tree Where's The Flower?
Break Through One Impasse There's Another Let The Sweet
Brown Ruffle Of Flame Rushes Across My White Paper Diploma
Brush Ink Plunge Forward Blind Man Who Knows Each Step In The Dark
A Butterfly Hovers In Front Of Her Face
Cheap Tea Thin Gruel Pale Leaves As Winter Begins
Chopping Up Herbs Blood Flows From My Hand Into The Block
Chrysanthemums Hammered Out Of Raw Iron
Clouds Endless Clouds Climbing Beyond
Clouds Very High Look
Crazy Cloud Likes His Own Mind Its Wish For Flutesongs Rainy Nights
A Crazy Lecher Shuttling Between Whorehouse And Bar
The Crow's Caw Was Ok But One Night With A Lovely Whore
Cut Off Everything From Everything Stand Here The Soles Of Your Feet
Don't Hesitate Get Laid That's Wisdom
Don't Wait For The Man Standing In The Snow
Don't Worry Please Please How Many Times Do I Have To Say It
Eat The Wind Eat The Water Nobody Can Say How
The Edges Of The Sword Are Life And Death
Empty Belly No Wine It's Freezing
Even Before Trees Rocks I Was Nothing
Even If Buddha Himself Kneeled At My Deathbed
Even In Its Scabbard My Sword
Even Rinzai's Disciples Don't Know
A Flower Held Up Twirled Between Human Fingers
Flowers Are Silent Silence Is Silent The Mind
Flute Notes Bring Gods Demons Only That Music
For Us No Difference Between Reading Eating Singing
Forget What The Masters Wrote Truth's A Razor
Frogs At The Bottom Of A Well Like You Idiot
Fuck Flattery Success Money
The Girl Listening To The Poet Bursting With Poems Thinks Nothing
Go Down On Your Silly Knees Pray
Gravestones Melt To Stumps Of Stone Knobs
Hear The Cruel No-answer Until Blood Drips Down
Her Mouth Played With My Cock
Here I Am Simply Trying To Get Into Your Head
How Is My Hand Like Mori's
Hsu-t'ang Tore Off His Robes Like A Broken Sandal
Hundreds Of Peaks But Only One Lone Bell Out Of Nowhere
I Ask Yo Answer I Don't You Don't
I Can't Smell A Thing Can't See Their Pink
I Didn't See One Thing On My Trip
I Don't Own A Sewing Needle But I Keep Calligraphy
I Found My Sparrow Sonrin Dead One Morning
I Hate It I Know It's Nothing But I
I Have To Admit My Passion Never Leaves
I Like My Anger My Grouchy Furious Love
I Live In A Shack On The Edge Of Whorehouse Row
I Love Bamboo How It Looks
I Love Taking My New Girl Blind Mori On A Spring Picnic
I Remember One Quiet Afternoon She Fished Out My Cock
I Still Worry About How I Look My Dry White Hair Oh
I Think Of Your Death Think Of Us Touching
I Try To Be A Good Man But All That Comes
I Walked Through The Door Of Death Came Back Went Back Am Here
I Was Like An Old Leafless Tree Until We Met Green Buds Burst And
I Went Half Crazy Studying Sitting For Days Now The One Thing
I Woke From A Dream Of Death To Day's Amazing
I Won't Die I Won't Go Away I'll Always Be Here
I'd Love To Give You Something
I'd Sniff You Like A Dog And Taste You
I'm Alive! Right? Don't We Say That?
I'm Eighty Still Alive Looking Up Every Night
I'm In It Everywhere
I'm Like Wind Pouring Down Hills Into The City
I'm Pure Shame
I'm Up Here In The Hills Starving Myself
I'm Whole As Long As I Hear You Singing
I've Burnt All The Holy Pages I Used To Carry
Icy Window Windy Snow Moon Tangled Among Black Flowers
If There's Nowhere To Rest At The End
If You Don't Break Rules You're An Ass Not Human
Ikkyo Near Death Returns Your Cloak To You
Ikkyu The Whole Day Singing Boozing So Great So
Ikkyu This Body Isn't Yours I Say To Myself
In A Dazzling Scabbard
In Deep Winter I Write Poems Get Drunk The Cup's Heavier Heavier
In The Freezing Hall One Night In A Flimsy Robe I Hallucinated
In War There's No Time To Teach Or Learn Zen Carry A Strong Stick
Inside The Koan Clear Mind
It Isn't That We're Alone Or Not Alone
It Takes Horseshit To Grow Bamboo
It's A Hungry Morning When I Don't See Her
It's Logical: If You're Not Going Anywhere
Keep Writing Those Deep Questions Sleep On
Know Nothing I Know Nothing Nobody Does Can You Face Me
Life's Like Climbing Knife-trees Hills With Swords Sticking Up
Like A Knifeblade The Moon Will Be Full Then Less
Lin-chi Screamed Katsu! At Precisely The Right Time Gave Life Death
Lin-chi's Followers Don't Know Zen I The Blind Donkey Do
Listen Whose Face Is It A Piece
Lone Moon No Clouds
Long Life
Look Up Heaven Look Around You Earth Red Flesh White Bones Crushed
Melons Eggplants Rice Rivers The Sky
Men Are Like Cows Horses Fuck Poetry
The Mind Is Exactly This Tree That Grass
Mirror Facing A Mirror
My Death? Who Was It Anyway Always Where He Was Never
My Dying Teacher Could Not Wipe Himself Unlike You Disciples
My Friend's Funeral This Morning
My Gray Cat Jumped Up Just As I Lifted This Spoon
My Mind Can't Answer When You Call
My Monk Friend Has A Weird Endearing Habit
My Name Ikkyu's Disgusting Not Dust Yet
Nature's A Killer I Won't Sing To It
Night After Night After Night Stay Up All Night
Night Plum Blossoms Spreading Under A Branch
No Masters Only You The Master Is You
No Money In A Dream Plums Simple And Close
No More Zen Write One Great Line
No Nothing Only Those Wintry Crows
No Tiny Wooden Hut With A Grass Roof In The Hills
No Walls No Roof No Anything My House
No Words Sitting Alone Night In My Hut Eyes Closed Hands Open
Nobody Before Me Nobody After
Nobody Cares About My Hungers Thirsts
Nobody Knows I'm A Storm I'm
Nobody Knows Shit Nobody Lives Anywhere
Nobody Told The Flowers To Come Up Nobody
Nobody Understands My Not No Zen Zen
Nobody Understands Why We Do What We Do
Not Two Not One Either
October Wind Crosses The World
Oh Green Green Willow Wonderfully Red Flower
Oh The Evening Wind Hurries Smoke Our Smoke
Oh Yes Things Exist Like The Echo When You Yell At The Foot Of A
On The Deep Green Lily Pad Dew
Once While She Was Cooking I Kneeled Put My Head Between Her Warm
One Half-thawed Lovesong Chilly As Dusk Remains
One Long Pure Beautiful Road Of Pain
One Of You Saved My Satori Paper I Know It Piece By Piece You
One Pause Between Each Crow's
One White Blossom Snow
One Wisp Rootless Shifting A Dot In The Blue Sky
Only A Kind Deadly Sincere Man
Only One Koan Matters
Outrageous Eyes Ears Nose In The Cold One Silent Tinkling Hell
Passion's Red Thread Is Infinite
Peace Isn't Luck For Six Years Stand Facing A Silent Wall
Pine Needles Inches Deep Hug The Ground
Pleasure Pain Are Equal In A Clear Heart
Plum Blossom Close To The Ground Her Dark Place Opens
Poems Should Come From Bare Ground
Poetry's Hellish Bullshit One Good Way To Suffer Men Love It
Poetry's Ridiculous Write It Feel Proud
Raging In The Now Hungry For It
Rain Drips From The Roof Lip
Rain Hail Snow Ice
Raining Or Not
Rice Boils In My Broken-footed Iron Pot
Rinzai Did It Without A Care
Self Other Right Wrong Wasting Your Life Arguing
Sexual Love's Attachment Pain Is Deeper Than I Can Know
She'd Play With It Almost Anywhere Day And Night
Sick All I Can Think Of Is Love And Fucking The Love Song
Sick Of It Whatever It's Called Sick Of The Names
Sick Zen From The Famous Three You Know Who I Mean
Sin Like A Madman Until You Can't Do Anything Else
Six Years Of Hunger Sitting Like A Secret In Darkness
Skinny Legs Wandering No Friends The Lamppost Moves Not Me Following
So Burning's Knowing And I'm Not Even Drunk On Three Wines
So Many Paths Go Up From The Foothills
So Many Words About It
Some Die Meditating Some On Their Feet But He Did Both
Some Monks Live In Caves Build Huts On Snowy Mountains
Something In Us Always Wants To Cry Out
Sometimes All I Am Is A Dark Emptiness
Stand Tiptoe On The Tip Of A Needle
Stare At It Until Your Eyes Drop Out
Stirring Old Ashes With His Eyes Shut Tight
Suddenly Nothing But Grief
Sutras Poems I Stash Them Under My Robe Burn Them All
Talk About Family Laws Ideals My Silence Drives Me Mad
Ten Dumb Years I Wanted Things To Be Different Furious Proud I Still
Ten Fussy Days Running This Temple All Red Tape
Ten Years Of Whorehouse Joy I'm Alone Now In The Mountains
That Stone Buddha Deserves All The Birdshit It Gets
They Could Have Put A Small Doll In The Urn
They Do It In The Street In Broad Daylight Like Cows And Horses
They Screw Inside The Temple Call In Students For 'mysterious Satori
They Used Sticks And Yells And Other Tricks Those Fakes
Thirsty You Dream Of Water Cold You Want Fire
This Boat Is And Is Not
This Brick House I Live In Is Really The Sky
This Cow Has Come To Teach You: What You Do Is Where You Are
This Donkey Stumbles Blind Over Stones Into Walls Ditches
This Hungry Monk Chanting By Lamplight Is Buddha
This Ink Painting Of Wind Blowing Through Pines
This Morning's Koan's A Poem Tonight People Flock To This Mountain
This Soul Torch I Hold Up Lights The Sky
This Useless Dying Koan Body Singing Its Lust
This World This Thing You And I Call Knowing
Those Old Koans Meaningless Just Ways Of Faking Virtue
Three-foot Axe Leans On The Headsman's Block
Up All Night In This Fisherman's Hut Drinking Talking
Watching My Four-year-old Daughter Dance
We Live In A Cage Of Light An Amazing Cage
We're Lost Born In Delusions Deeper Than Any Mind
We're Lost Where The Mind Can't Find Us
A Well Nobody Dug Filled With No Water
When I Was Forty-seven Everybody Came To See Me
Where You Are Whatever You Do
White-haired Priest In His Eighties
Who Brought These Fish Sizzling In The Pan I'll Never Stop Thinking
Who Teaches Truth? Good/bad The Wrong Way
Why Is It All So Beautiful This Fake Dream
Wife Daughters Friends This Is For You Satori
The Wise Know Nothing At All
A Woman Is Enlightenment When You're With Her And The Red Thread
Yoso Hangs Up Ladles Baskets Useless Donations In The Temple
You Can Hear It When It Doesn't Even Move
You Can't Be Anyone But You
You Can't Make Cherry Blossoms By Tearing Off Petals
You Me When I Think Really Think About It
You Poor Sad Thing Thinking Death Is Real
You Stand Inside Me Naked Infinite Love
You Won't Even Be Here To Read Them
Your Name Mori Means Forest Like The Infinite Fresh
Zen's Finished Stick Your Brain In A Peach Branch Guzzle Sake
-- Table of Poems from Poem Finder®

About the Author

Stephen Berg, founding editor of American Poetry Review, is the author of two dozen books of poetry and translations. He is a professor of English at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Copper Canyon Press; Reprint edition (September 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1556591527
  • ISBN-13: 978-1556591525
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,219 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By M. J. Smith VINE VOICE on October 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
Ikkyu wrote his verses in a four line form which has been reworked into couplets by Stephen Berg. It is important to remember that these are version by Stephen Berg not careful translations from the original - as reworkings often are the most accessible translations.
Ikkyu was not a typical Zen master - the monkish disciplines of celebacy and sobriety were not in his repetoire. While this makes him an oddity, it reinforces the ideal that one who is enlightened is one who is free. This freedom (often seen as indifference or non-clinging) is voiced in this poem "Ikkyu this body isn't yours I say to myself / wherever I am I'm there". His freedom from the disciplines is shown in poems that are explicitly sexual not merely erotic. A very tame example: "don't hesitate get laid thaat's wisdom / sitting around chanting what crap".
Ikkyu is definately a poet that students or would-be students of Zen should read ... in fact, we all should read it for the sheer fun and beauty of it.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By George Schaefer on May 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is classic haiku from the 15th century zen master Ikkyu. Ikkyu was a headmaster at Daitokuji before renouncing the hipocritical attitudes of the monks. Ikkyu was far too hearty and robust to endure that fate. He was not afraid to toss a few obscenities into his writing. This is not your Mothers haiku. Ikkyu cussed and swore and ignored the authorities. This collection gives one a generous sampling of his haiku. This is a neglected genius that often is overlooked in favor of Basho and Ryokan. Those two are also brilliant but Ikkyu is the wild man of the group. He is Rimbaud blaspheming, Whitman yowling a barbaric yawp and Bukowksi drunk on the floor in one package. Its a great introductory collection to haiku and japanese poetry in general.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By E. E. Hicks on February 23, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ikkyu is perhaps the most like "normal" humans by any accounting of a Zen master I've encountered in print. One can relate to this guy. Some of his poems are like Michael Jordan putting up a final second shot and touching nothing but net. I wasn't sure I would like his poetry since I'm not that big a poetry fan but this is the kind of book to take on a long run down the Grand Canyon or somewhere you might crave inspiration when space is at a premium.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rauan Klassnik on September 30, 2008
Format: Paperback
If you're looking for pretty, nature, Haiku-esque poetry, then this might not be for you. Many of these are graphic sexual depictions. Many have four letter words. Ikkyu, aka Crazy Cloud-- Zen Monk, Enlightened One, Patron of Whorehouses, Virile and Active into Old Age.

But don't think these are just sex poems. These are poems built of a version of primary colors: light, dark, mountains and wind.

There's a Whitmanesque Bullheadedness and Joy of Life to many of these short poems (most 2 lines long, rocking back and forth in their sliding images and rhythms) but you don't get the tongue-in-your-ear feeling that comes with reading Leaves of Grass.

Whether he's telling you about burying his pet sparrow or going down on a woman in the kitchen as she cooks, Ikkyu rewards the reader again and again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By khora on November 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
along with pessoa, my favorite dead poet.

a text which entered my memory and on which i dwelt the whole day:

"don’t worry please please how many times do I have to say it
there’s no way not to be who you are and where"

in a way, this is exactly what michel henry says, in his phenomenological work. the self-affection of flesh, its inability of being otherwise, its desire to run away from itself and its own suffering, its affective character.

the translation is beautiful, very accessible and very well crafted.

and, of course, his erotic and irreverent poems are anthological :)
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J.D. on April 8, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book because I liked the preface (really that never happens) and I was under the mistaken impression that the author had written it -- it was actually written by Lucien Stryk and not the author, Stephen Berg. Now, that said, let it be noted that the "author" did not translate these, he used translations from others (see the Forward) and from them, he creates the "versions" we see in this book.

Ikkyu's original poems were in four-lines. If you take a look at this book, you'll notice they're no longer in four-lines, they've been condensed to two-lines each. Now, in my mind, Japanese poetry loses enough through translation to English as you lose cultural references, puns, and other subtle references that just don't make it into English, or if they do, they're unnoticed. To then change the emphasis of the poems by putting them in two-lines instead of four...it feels like the poems are being taken further from the originals than necessary. I personally don't understand (or agree with) this change, and the author doesn't explain himself. Rather, he just said (in the Forward), "A true essay about what happened between their texts and mine would have to explain at length a process not usually associated with other such ambitions transfigurations." -- In all honesty, that sounds like some sort of prevarication to me.

In this sort of poetry, the ending of a line gives pause, the ending of a thought, the dragging on of another. It's an act of condensing and stretching out ideas and it makes a very large difference in how something's read and the resulting meaning that's taken away. As this can be hard to imagine, I'm going to give an example.
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