In the age of omnipresent news and digital devices dominating our every waking moment, this poem by 18th century Japanese hermit poet Ryokan seems very relevant. No news of the affairs of men. How lovely to be without the news of the world. Whatever the news of the day, Ryokan sure as hell didn’t give two shits about it. He lived as a hermit and begged for foods in towns, he played with the village children to the scorn of the elders. He didn’t try to do anything noteable to make him revered. However the wisdom of his poetry made him well-known to Zen Buddhists forever after. Here’s the poem below…
My hut lies in the middle of a dense forest;
Every year the green ivy grows longer.
No news of the affairs of men,
Only the occasional song of a woodcutter.
The sun shines and I mend my cloth;
When the moon comes out I read poems.
I have nothing to report my friends.
If you want to find the meaning, stop chasing after
so many things.