even poorly planted

by Kobayashi Issa

English version by David G. Lanoue
Original Language Japanese

even poorly planted
rice plants
slowly, slowly... green!

-- from The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology), Edited by Ivan M. Granger

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/ Image by Deboarah Austin /

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Something so... healing about this haiku. Do you have the same reaction?

To me these words suggest that no matter how imperfect we imagine our circumstances -- lack of education, finances, travel, guide, whatever we think might be missing that's holding us back -- still we inexorably grow green. Spirit awakens within us with utter disregard to the limiting details of our lives. And what is truly beautiful is watching the unique ways that greenness comes upon us. The story we get to share with the world is the specific way the spirit rises in us, the special path it finds around the obstacles that make up our specific lives, and how we are often strengthened by this navigation.

And while daily life itself may have its challenges and struggles, that greening process, well, it just happens. Slowly, patiently, naturally. All we have to do is let it.

Recommended Books: Kobayashi Issa

The Longing in Between: Sacred Poetry from Around the World (A Poetry Chaikhana Anthology) Zen Poetry: Let the Spring Breeze Enter This Dance of Bliss: Ecstatic Poetry from Around the World The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry Haiku Enlightenment: New Expanded Edition
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even poorly planted