Japanese Death Poems

In the death poem (jisei), the essential idea was that at one’s final moment of life, one’s reflection on death (one’s own usually but also death in general) could be especially lucid and meaningful and therefore also constituted an important observation about life. The poem was considered a gift to one’s loved ones, students, and friends. The tradition began with zen monks, but was also popular with poets, whose poems were often just as solemn as those of monks, or entirely flippant and humorous. The poems are often full of symbols of death, such as the full moon, the western sky, the song of the cuckoo, and images of the season in which the writer died. http://www.quietspaces.com/deathpoems.html

The following are a collection of my own Japanese Death Poems (no I’m not nearing death…just playing):


This world has gone dark
With one foot in the next
I see light, peace…your face.


Dark clouds obscure the moon,
beating of my heart slows,
the open window beckons.


Stark, cold branches
silhouetted against the moon
point in all directions;
choosing my next path, I depart.


Torrential river’s rush,
now a dwindling,
drying rivulet.


Love, we still have love!
It remains constant
unlike this temporal body.


Whippoorwill’s call
at evening’s nigh…life
lifts gently from my
form before dawn.


Why, death is nothing!
It’s like walking from
one room to another.


More there than here,
a sudden burst of energy
hurls you into the beyond,
much like birth.


The hiker
moves swiftly
over rocky terrain,
boulders, mountains,
but one slip and the very
ground he depended
on meets him head-on
and he’s gone.


I looked around
and noticed people
aging and dying.
The belief was so
strongly embedded
that I followed suit.


Summer’s heat rising
from the pavement…
has no effect on my chilling form.


The lifeless state mirrors the deathless,
all is one continuous thread
weaving throughout lifetimes of infinity.

Previous Post
Leave a comment


  1. I love this series of poems on life’s transition to the next plane………very beautiful and comforting.


    • Thank you, Sherry. I joined a group on FB and it’s fun to read what people come up with and try my hand at it now and then.


  2. Hi Gayle! I like this a lot. It is quite beautiful. Just playing but such passion in every word here. I like the idea and might take your lead at some point. My first long drive today. Wish me luck!


    • Hi Renee…thanks so much. For some reason this really appeals to me too. It’s almost haiku like in its brevity. I hope you enjoyed your drive and wish you continued wellness and healing. xoxo


  3. Beautiful


  4. Oh, so good to see you, Gayle! Hope all is well in your world. This poem is wonderful. It oozes with the notion of gliding between worlds. And that’s just how I imagine life and death…as you said, moving from one room to the next. Lovely. Really, lovely! 🙂 ❤


  5. And good to see you too, Lorna! All is well, and thank you! I think we do glide between both when the time presents it. Maybe I’m subconsciously trying to set the stage for my own departure so that it will be effortless. : ~)


  6. Some of these are just stellar. Greta work.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love these. Inspiring, thoughtful. Takes away fearful thoughts. Might try to write some. Have to let yours leave my consciousness first. Glad I found my way to you.


    • Thank you, Barbara. I found a FB page for these and it inspired me to write some of my own. I agree, they do serve to remove fearful thoughts about death. I’m glad we found our way to each other!


    • It’s more interesting to me than scary. Maybe I’m just preparing myself for an easy transition when the time comes! Lots of love…


  8. A very interesting thought process ~ I specially like 2, 3 & 4 (like a haiku)~ Gayle, I was wondering if you would like to host a poetics for D’verse? Please email me at: sometimesg@yahoo.com ~ Thanks ~

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love the idea of writing death poems and relate to the Japanese origine of them. Don’t think the idea is depressing. They felt that as we die we might have some great wisdom to share. I don’t know that I will, but I hope I will be present enough to write one. These stanzas are lovely, Gayle.


    • I don’t find the idea depressing either, Jamie. Yes, perhaps some great wisdom or awareness is imparted at that exact moment. I don’t know if I will either but it would be nice to be conscious enough to do so. Thanks for reading and sharing, Jamie.

      Liked by 1 person


Please share your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


Words and Pictures from The Isle of Wight

writing in north norfolk

Writer of children's literature, short stories and poetry

Lady Nyo's Weblog

A woman writer's blog with invitations to other writers

Poetry Breakfast

Beginning March 20th, 2016 Poetry Breakfast will once again serve a little poetic nourishment every morning. Start your day with our new expanded menu. Poems, of course, are our specialty. But we will also be serving a fuller menu that includes poetry related creative non-fiction such as letters to and from poets, essays on poetry, and anything else that might feed a poet and poetry lover’s soul.

Mithai Mumblezz

Thinks and again mumbles!!


Thinking, writing, thinking about writing...


"We're all out there, somewhere, waiting to happen."


Nature needs Nurture

Whimsygizmo's Blog

poetic ponderings...parenting...procrastination...

Tao of Scrumble

A freeform way of life, love and everything

Tournesol dans un Jardin - Waka

Haiku * Troiku * Micropoetry

Sharp Little Pencil

Amy Barlow Liberatore... stories of lost years, wild times, mental variety, faith, and lots of jazz


A Silent poet shouting to be heard


Romance of Five Clouds and Magical Poetry

kanzen sakura

South meets East: Poetry and Musings - words of the seasons

Poems, stories, paintings and more by Sharmishtha Basu

(Agnijaat, Agnishatdal, Agnijashatadalama, Indie Adda)

This, that and the other thing

Looking at life through writing and photography

jaywalking the moon

poetry by claudia schoenfeld

She's Writing

Poetry and Prose

Rochelle Wisoff-Fields-Addicted to Purple

Growing older is inevitable. Growing up is optional.

everyday amazing

spreading good cheer, fun & love for life

Michael's Lair

Just Write WordPress.com site

Björn Rudbergs writings

Poetry and fiction by a physicist from the dark side

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.


Be inspired...Be creative...Be peace...Be

bardessdmdenton - author- artist

Historical and Literary Fiction / Essays / Poetry / Reviews /Book Cover and Interior Illustrations / Pet Portraits and Other Commissioned Artwork ... "Life can't ever really defeat a writer who is in love with writing, for life itself is a writer's lover until death - fascinating, cruel, lavish, warm, cold, treacherous, constant." ~ Edna Ferber, 1885-1968, American novelist, short story writer and playwright

Soul Dipper

Spirit Builder by Design

Contemplative Moorings

The official blog of unofficial author Michael Marsters.

Ramblings From A Mum

This is my journey, my thoughts, my views, plain and simple and from my heart. Please travel with me and share, hopefully it will be an interesting trip.


copyright 2013 - no reuse without permission ( see bwfiction.wordpress.com for fiction and fantasy )

"On Dragonfly Wings with Buttercup Tea"

All Is One With Our Creator


Take Control of Your Health

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging


poetic inspiration from life's simplicity


Mumblings of a Middle Aged Madwoman


if I go around more than once then ...

I Rhyme Without Reason

I live in words

Soul Speak

'You may say I'm a Dreamer, but I'm not the only one' ~ John Lennon

~ Dragon's Dreams ~

Carpe Noctem Quod Tempus Fugit!

Dreamwalker's Sanctuary

A Sanctuary for Enlightenment and Peace through Poetry and Inspirational Thoughts as we go through Life


laughing at the malfunction of the universe is better than crying about it

Lorna's Voice

Finding ways to make words sparkle

Olivia's In- Mind Whirls..

"It's all in my mind"


Poets Pub

Leslie White

View artwork by Leslie White


The best time to love...is when it is impossible///Stories of the heart-broken/shattered and sometimes mended

%d bloggers like this: