Surely there's a Teahouse


I just wanted to post this lovely letter to Nick that was sent to The Red Hand Files by Aleesha from Brisbane, Australia. Such a lovely letter and such gorgeous poetry. My husband said to tell you, Aleesha, that he has the book! Love, Susie x


My condolences to you, for the passing of your mother from this world.

Last year I was gifted a beautiful book from my Japanese friend titled –

Japanese Death Poems
Written by Zen Monks and Haiku Poets on the Verge of Death

I recommend obtaining a copy if you can. As I move through the pages today, I want to share a small part with you. Everything below is an excerpt from the book:

A poem by Shiyo, who died on the fourth day of the second month, 1703 at the age of thirty-two.

Surely there’s a teahouse
With a view of plum trees
On Death Mountain, too.

Shiyo (Otaka Gengo Tadao) is one of the forty-seven samurai who, in the winter of 1703, avenged the death of their master and who were thus ordered to commit seppuku as punishment. In Shiyo’s death poem, Shide No Yama, “Mountain of Death”, is the mountain crossed, according to the belief, in the journey from life to death.

A poem similar to Shiyo’s was written by Kaiga Yazaemon Tomonobu, another of the forty-seven samurai. The similarity between the poems is less, perhaps, a sign of Kaiga’s smaller talent than a testimony to the friendship between him and Shiyo:

And won’t there be
A teahouse among the cherry blossoms
Along the way of death? 

Aleesha, Brisbane, Australia.