“A Future of Ice” Miyazawa Kenji , a Buddhist poet and cellist

“The Future of Ice”

Miyazawa Kenji, a Japanese poet, write, cellist and Buddhist.

I have had his book (Future) for a couple of years now and have never cracked it.  I am sorry for that.  Miyazawa Kenji didn’t live long, he died at 37 in 1933.  He started with tanka, but moved onto free verse, which was all the craze in Japan in 1910.  His work is so far reaching that it doesn’t fit the concept I had of either a Buddhist or a poet for that time. He was a remarkable man, from a wealthy family (wealth came from his parents second hand clothes shop..) the first son, and learned in agricultural concepts, was a lover of classical music, Beethoven, Wagner, Strauss, and other composers.  He was a good cellist, which surprised me.  Cello is rather rare in a countryside for that time. He wrote prodigiously, a number of books but his religion, a zazen form of Buddhism, was alwBays prominent,  not the usual pieties, but with an upward looking view towards constellations, what was more than on the ground. This book, “A Future of Ice” is revolutionary in concept, breaking all standards of poetry for that time.  It is revolutionary because the Buddhist who wrote it was not constrained by culture or time.

One his poems……

from: Shadow from the Future:

The blizzard drives hard

and this morning nnother catastropic cavin

why do they keeo blowing

the frozen whistle?

Out of the shadows and the horrible smoke]

A deathly pale shadow of a man staggering

The frightening shadow of myself

cast from a future of ice.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

W, 2022

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