This Dewdrop World

The dahlias in the pot at the door look dull when the weather is overcast; but in the evening sunshine, they come into their own. When they’ve been watered, and the drops are still sparkling on the petals, it’s worth taking a closer look. I don’t know whether you can make out the fine detail, but on my HD screen it’s impressive.


It’s taken a while to process the photographs, and it’s a warm evening. Let me look outside again.

The water drops have vanished away, like dew in the morning sun.

Perhaps it’s time for a poem. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of it, though it is well-known. It’s called “This Dewdrop World”, and it’s by the Japanese poet, Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827). To cut a long story short, his life was one of trials and tribulations. When he married, he was happy for a while; but then his first child died, and a few years later, his second. He was left desolate.

He was a Buddhist and so he sought the advice of a Zen master. This is what he was told.

The world is dew; just as the sun rises and the dew evaporates, so on the wheel of suffering sorrow is transient, life is transient, man is transient. Involvement in the passion of grief and mourning speaks of a failure to transcend the momentum of selfish egoism.

From the religious and philosophical point of view, it was the perfect answer. Did it satisfy him? He went home and wrote this poem; it was brief, and to the point.

          This world is dew-

          This world is dew-

          And yet,

          And yet.

He believed the Buddhist priest in his head, but in his heart he knew that it was no answer at all.

Man-made religions come and go; philosophies flourish and fade. They can never satisfy the deepest needs of the human heart.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8.12)

He also said, “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11.28)

This the assurance that He gives: All that the Father gives to me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” (John 6.37)