A death poem for the new year


The glass slips out of my grasping hands.


A thousand suns glisten on my kitchen floor.


The death poem isĀ a tradition in Zen Buddhism. Our sangha writes one at the new year every year as a way to reflect on the past year. I believe the tradition is that Buddhist monks wrote them on their death beds, but that might be more romanticism than truth. I like the idea of thinking of the putting away of the old year as a kind of death, and thinking about the new year as a rebirth.

You can read my past death poems here, and our sangha’s poems here.