The Master-Singers of Japan, by Clara A. Walsh, , at sacred-texts.com
(Born 11—; died 1198)
A famous poet of noble birth. He was one of the pages at the Court of the Mikado. One day he parted with a fellow-page, saying good-bye cheerfully, and promising to call on him on his way to Court next day, The same evening Saigyō was surprised and horrified to hear of his friend's sudden death. This impressed him so much, that he left the Court and his companions, and his happy family, and became a monk, travelling through the country for many years, and composing many beautiful poems.
By Saigyō—12th Century
Passing along the highway, when we see
The shadows of the willows floating cool
In a clear spring of water, then we pause
As fellow-travellers to rest awhile;
Loth to pass on, we linger.
We know not what the Temple may enshrine,
Yet feel the influence of things divine,
And pray with grateful tears!
The sadness of the moon-night fills my thoughts
With vague reflections of past hopes and fears.
Sad as the clouded moon my countenance
With eyes bedewed with tears.
The deep snow piled upon the mountain-peaks,
Melting, transforms the river's clear cascade
Into a foaming torrent whose white waves
Rush on their course resistless and unstayed.
Strong blows the evening wind and cool,
There where the marshlands silent lie,
Where the lone snipe stands by the pool,
Mirrored against a sullen sky.
Filled with compassion undefined,
Into my heart the silence steals.
To the vague loneness of the mind
The Autumn loneliness appeals!