Musō Soseki (1275-1351) designed two of the great landscape gardens in Kyoto, both now UNESCO World Heritage Sites, neither of which I managed to get to on my all-too-brief visit to the city nearly twenty years ago. Saihō-ji had fallen into disrepair when Musō was brought in to create a paradise garden. It was when the garden fell into disrepair again in the nineteenth century that the moss began to grow which has become its most famous feature. Musō cannot have anticipated this development, although acceptance of inevitable change is one of the essences of landscape design. The temple of Tenryū-ji, shown in the drone video I have embedded above, was built by the shogun Ashikaga Takauji in memory of the emperor whom he had deposed. Musō wrote a sequence of poems about the landscape garden he helped create there, 'Ten Scenes in the Dragon of Heaven Temple.' Some of these scenes have survived the centuries, like the lake Sōgen-chi where moonlight still strikes the waters in the dead of night; others have gone, like Dragon-Gate House where Musō observed the most transient of images, two passing puffs of cloud.
A Nanbokucho-period artist, Musō Soseki, c. 1334-1392
I have been reading Musō's poetry in the translations W. S. Merwin made in collaboration with Sōiku Shigematsu. Rather than use quatrains, their versions of Musō split each line in three, giving twelve line verses that slow the reader and suggest the chanting style in which they would have sounded in the original Chinese. Whilst it's not possible to quote a whole poem, here are some of those lines-broken-in-three, taken from different poems: nine landscapes fragments.
from 'Jewel Field' from 'Pine Shade' from 'Snow Garden'
All the soil now The green haze Flowers with six petals
is beginning so deep and dense have covered the whole ground
to shed light it keeps out the light and frozen everywhere
from 'Gem Mountain' from 'Spring Cliff' from 'It'
The rain beats upon it Even the withered trees The cold cloud full of rain
the wind cuts it on the dark cliff passes above
it only shines brighter are blossoming the hollow of the mountain
from 'Gem Creek' from 'House of Spring' from 'East Peak'
Without ruffling its surface Hundreds of open flowers It will hold the spring sunlight
look carefully all come from year after year
into the depths the one branch after year