Barren Flowers


Published: August 1913
Translation: Michael Schauerte (from Japanese)
Source: Kindai shisō (Modern Thought), Vol. 1, No. 11, August 1913
HTML: Michael Schauerte

The eternal struggle—life
Struggle against nature, struggle with society,
Struggle with other living things,
A struggle that goes on foreover; it has no solution.

So struggle!
For struggle is life's flower;
The fertile flower of life.

But when life cowers to nature's power,
Or to the force of society,
From that struggle shunned
Barren flowers bloom.
One flower is religion.
One flower is art.

And worthless are the worms scrounging nectar from barren flowers.