Oct 10 2018

Izumi Shikibu – Although the wind

Published by at 9:11 am under Poetry

Although the wind
by Izumi Shikibu

English version by Jane Hirshfield

Although the wind
blows terribly here,
the moonlight also leaks
between the roof planks
of this ruined house.

— from Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women, Edited by Jane Hirshfield


/ Image by Manwathiell /

I have several loved ones feeling particular frustration and rage at how they have been treated after finding the courage to speak out about private traumas, only to be ignored and treated with contempt by a system that would rather maintain its fading myths than its heart.

An excerpt of something I posted on Facebook a few days ago–

I try to remind myself that the greatest healers in the world are often themselves wounded in some way. The ways we find to survive trauma can open us to deep truths about ourselves and the world, unlocking hidden strength. We might, for the first time, find our authentic voice. Sometimes our job is just to cry out with such a great pure ache that the world has no choice but to stop and let its heart break open. Survivors carry the medicine the world needs, whether or not the world is smart enough to recognizes it.


Recommended Books: Izumi Shikibu

Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry


Izumi Shikibu

Japan (974? – 1034?) Timeline
Buddhist : Zen / Chan

Izumi Shikibu is one of the towering figures of Japanese literature. She lived in Kyoto and was an official companion to the empress. She married young, but scandalized the court by abandoning her husband to become the lover of one of the empress’s sons. When the prince died a few years later, she took a series of other lovers before eventually marrying for a second time.

She was a social rebel, but willing to be fully engaged in her life. And, like her personal life, Shikibu’s poetry mixes elements of eros with the deep awareness that comes from Buddhist meditative practice.

More poetry by Izumi Shikibu

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Izumi Shikibu – Although the wind”

  1. Olga T.on 10 Oct 2018 at 4:09 pm

    and at every daybreak
    the warm sun seeps
    through the worn-out shutters.

    this, we can count on
    no matter what state
    our house is in.

    at every daybreak.

  2. Soo Youngon 11 Oct 2018 at 10:35 pm

    Sometimes I feel like the ruined house
    unable to stand upright
    during the slightest of storms.

    Other times, I am like the moonlight
    leaking through the groaning eaves,
    slashing light where there was darkness.

    Right now I am the terrible wind
    haunted like wolves in heat,
    seeking the perfect impact to my longing
    to leave behind something,
    beyond the ruined houses,
    to linger beyond the waxing and waning
    moons to imprint into this ruined
    and perfect life
    something that echoes of meaning.

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