This poem was written by Gesshu Soku, (1618 –1696) a Zen monk, while on pilgrimage, on hearing of his mother’s death. He was 16 at the time.

There is nothing I can say
about what is between
mother and child.

Hearing of her death,
my life is darkened.

Like a reed basket,
the years wove us together.

In the blank air
the smoke from a single incense stick
is my last word with her.

The best incense - and explanations of incense - I know of can be found at: (Shoyeido has been producing incense since 1705)
and (Nippon Kodo has been producing incense since 1580)

In*cense" (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Incensed (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Incensing.] [L. incensus, p. p. of incendere; pref. in- in + root of candere to glow. See Candle.]


To set on fire; to inflame; to kindle; to burn.


Twelve Trojan princes wait on thee, and labor to incense Thy glorious heap of funeral. Chapman.


To inflame with anger; to endkindle; to fire; to incite; to provoke; to heat; to madden.

The people are incensed him. Shak.

Syn. -- To enrage; exasperate; provoke; anger; irritate; heat; fire; instigate.


© Webster 1913.

In"cense (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Incensed (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Incensing.] [LL. incensare: cf. F. encenser. See Incense, n.]


To offer incense to. See Incense.




To perfume with, or as with, incense.

"Incensed with wanton sweets."



© Webster 1913.

In"cense (?), n. [OE. encens, F. encens, L. incensum, fr. incensus, p. p. of incendere to burn. See Incense to inflame.]


The perfume or odors exhaled from spices and gums when burned in celebrating religious rites or as an offering to some deity.

A thick of incense went up. Ezek. viii. 11.


The materials used for the purpose of producing a perfume when burned, as fragrant gums, spices, frankincense, etc.

Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon. Lev. x. 1.


Also used figuratively.

Or heap the shrine of luxury and pride,

With incense kindled at the Muse's flame.


Incense tree, the name of several balsamic trees of the genus Bursera (or Icica) mostly tropical American. The gum resin is used for incense. In Jamaica the Chrysobalanus Icaco, a tree related to the plums, is called incense tree. -- Incense wood, the fragrant wood of the tropical American tree Bursera heptaphylla.


© Webster 1913.

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