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I Won’t Die

June 10, 2013

by Stephen Damon

Recently, I came across a poem I had written in response to two lines I had read in a poem by the Zen monk-poet, Ikkyu. The title of the poem and the first line are his and the rest of the poem is a description of my thoughts and feelings as I slowly digested his words. I found this “experiment” very interesting, and I invite anyone who is interested to try doing the same thing.

In a sense, all Zen teaching is incomplete and has to be completed, or at least developed further, in oneself in order for it to have its intended effect. Sometimes Zen teaching is expressed in a contradiction and we have to find a way to reconcile things like “Mind is Buddha,” and “No mind, No Buddha.” In this sense, our practice is a way of reconciling the “irreconcilable.”

I Won’t Die

but I won’t be here
so don’t look for me

not in your memories
nor in your dreams

anywhere you find
you won’t find me there.

Do not water the flowers
on my grave with your tears

you won’t find me there.

Remember that one thing
does not turn into another.

Winter does not turn into spring
nor today into tomorrow.

Consider this at sunrise
remember this at sunset.

When you see the full moon’s
reflection in water

know that hydrogen and oxygen
are there, two parts to one.


  • FreeBird
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From → Zen Buddhism

One Comment
  1. Beautifully done – and the subject the source for my original turning to zen as well. Thank you for sharing your work~

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