From Vietnam Veterans Against the War,

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Temple Poem (poem)

By Shinmin Sakamura

Amakusa, Japan

The sun comes up each morning in silence;
the moon disappears, but nobody sees.

Flowers dance by the roadside unnoticed;
birds twitter sweetly, but nobody hears.

People don't stop to consider what matters.
People work hard all their lives to achieve

a dream of success that will make them happy:
position or power, fortune or fame—

until they are old and they realize too late
that the beauty of living has passed them by

while the river travels alone to the ocean,
the wind sings alone in the tops of the trees.

From the original Japanese by Shinmin Sakamura Translated by Kazunori Takenaga
Adapted by W. D. Ehrhart

[This poem was translated and adapted into English at the request of Morinobu Okabe, 31st priest of the Zen Buddhist Temple of Tokoji.]

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