Saturday, October 29, 2016

Butterfly Dream: Jisei Haiku by Gabriel Bates

English Original

dust motes
in a stream of moonlight
death poem

Gabriel Bates

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Gabriel Bates is a contemporary poet living in southeast Kansas. His work has appeared in several journals, online and in print. Keep up with him at


  1. Technically speaking, an implied simile is effectively established through a pivotal line, "in a stream of moonlight."

    And thematically and religiously speaking, the death poem (jisei in Japanese) is a genre of poetry that has historically developed in the literary traditions of East Asian cultures, most prominently in Zen Japan as well as Chan China. It tends to offer the author's reflection on death that is coupled with an insightful observation on life. In the case of Gabriel's death poem, the visually evocative image of "dust motes/ in a stream of moonlight" (note: the moon is a Buddhist symbol of enlightenment) resonates closely with the thematic and emotional point of a death poem.

  2. thank you for this. your analysis is so insightful, really spot on. great work, as always.

  3. Chen-ou Liu
    Thank you for the analysis of this jisei. Prior, I did not know the word for death poem.
    Well Done Gabriel!
    Jan Benson