the moon let fall
a cold sound
sound of water,
winter is on its way
one person’s light
when I stand
muddy water flows
from the burned out rubble
winter’s long shadow
Sumitaku Kenshin (1961-1987) was the pen-name of Sumitaku Harumi (住宅春美).
In the seventies, he read a lot of poetry and books about religion and philosophy, and, interested in Buddhism, he started taking correspondence courses through the Central Buddhism Academy (中央仏教学院) in 1982. After completing the coursework the following year, he became a monk at Nishihongan Temple (西本願寺), where he changed his name to Kenshin.
In 1984, he was hospitalized with acute myelocytic leukemia (急性骨髄性白血病). Four months later, his wife gave birth to a son, but, because her husband’s illness was incurable, she soon divorced him at the request of her parents, and Kenshin took responsibility for the boy and began raising him in his hospital room.
That October, he discovered free-form haiku, and he decided to start writing his own. He was especially fond of the work of Ozaki Hosai.
In 1985, Kenshin self-published The Experimental Notebook (試作帳), but his condition grew worse over the next year.
At 11:23 p.m. on February 7, 1987, Kenshin passed away. He was 25 years old. Although he was a haiku poet for less than three years, he left behind 281 poems. The year after his death, a collection of his work, Unfinished (未完成), was published.
All poems translated here were found at kaishi-haiku.com.