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I have no house no wife no child A dewdrop came and went
no wooden printing block Once I governed Osaka
no money yet I wish for no death that dream of dreams
Shihei Hayashi (1738–1793) Hideyoshi Toyotomi (1536–1598)
I wish my life to end Wherever has that dog got to?
under cherry blossom I thought of him again
at the full February moon tonight as I came to bed
Saigyō Hōshi, (1118–1190) Shimaki Akahiko (1876–1926)
For a thousand years in Japanese culture, there has been a specific kind of very short poem which one composes either when actually on the verge of death, or else to prepare one's mind for that situation.1 This is known as a jisei, or …