Japanese Death Poem for Palestine and Israel


Encaustic and mixed media on panel; 24 x 24 x 4 inches (61 x 61 x 10 cm)

“Although the consciousness of death is in most cultures very much part of life, this is perhaps nowhere more true than Japan, where the approach of death has given rise to a centuries-old tradition of writing jisei, or the “death poem.” Zen monk Tetto Giko in May of 1369, several days before his death, gave a sealed message to his followers, forbidding them to read it while he was alive. After he died they read the following words:
The truth is never taken
from another.
One carries it always
by oneself.”*
*Hoffmann, Yoel. Japanese Death Poems. Boston: Tuttle Publishing, 1986.

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