One Robe, One Bowl The Zen Poetry of Ryokan is an eighty-five page book that is the perfect size to put into a backpack or small bag and take to the beach, woods, park or other quiet area. 100 Chinese poems and 103 Japanese poems are in the book. John Stevens includes an introduction section that gives the reader an understanding of Ryokan’s life.

Ryokan was a hermit poet who lived in Japan from 1758 until 1831. He was a Zen monk whose poetry is to the point and about nature. The book is highly recommended. Relax and enjoy this gem.


Two poems by Ryokan translated by John Stevens:


A LONELY four-mat hut
All day no one in sight.
Alone, sitting beneath the window,
Only the continual sound of falling leaves.


I’ve LEFT the world far behind,
my robe is covered with moss;
A small bundle of firewood burns, brightening the night.


To purchase this book see below:


One Robe, One Bowl: The Zen Poetry of Ryokan