Heidi StephensonIssa's Peaceable Kingdom (Part Two)
Animal Rights Poetry By Heidi Stephenson From All-Creatures.org

Poems of compassion dedicated to the non-human animals who share this planet with us and the people who fight for them.

Issa's Peaceable Kingdom (Part Two)
By Heidi Stephenson

“Ask the animals, and they will teach you.” (Job 12:7)

resting his hands
on the green plum, asleep…
a frog

baby sparrows
by the cow and the horse

thin wall –
from the mouse’s hole
a wren!

on friendly terms
with the dog of Iosaki…
a plover

the young buck’s
antlers tilting…

spring breeze –
a cow leads the way
to Zenko Temple

from the great bronze
Buddha’s nose…
a swallow!

sitting on her eggs
the hen admires
the peony

sharing the sunset
with the pony…
a snail

katydid –
on his way to being sold
still singing

clinging to
the boar hunter’s arm…
little butterfly

butterfly dances
‘round the arrow
in a dying deer

Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828) was one of Japan’s four great haiku masters. His compassion and empathy for our fellow beings was legendary. These verses in English translation are from Professor David G. Lanoue’s 2014 book: Issa and the Meaning of Animals: A Buddhist Poet’s Perspective.

©Heidi Stephenson, January 2018

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