Thursday, January 15, 2015

Seventy



りょうぜんほうし

さびしさに
やどおたちいでて
ながむれば

いずこもおなじ
あきのゆうぐれ





70

Ryozen Hoshi (monk)

In my loneliness
From my humble home gone forth,
When I looked around,

Everywhere it was the same —
One lone, darkening autumn eve.






70

I made a circle
to wait for a sign.
Mice all night

chewed the cowhide
of my dancing bells.
Only after many

years did I
understand
their role.





Notes

Poet and musician from a family with a long line of poets, two of whom also appear in the collection, Ryozen creates the quintessential "autumn sadness" poem.

By Hokusai's time, the trope has had a lot of wear. His Old Nurse comes in at right angles to the poet's evocation of loneliness by visualizing a group of revelers dancing their way to an autumn festival, beating drums. Morse notes that they pass an official notice board, which signifies the government is always with us, whether we think ourselves alone or not. -- death and taxes.

Risa recalls having climbed alone to a peak in Northern Idaho with the culturally appropriating idea of conducting a vision quest. To her chagrin, she found in the morning that mice had eaten some of her dancing gear. She left right away, slightly wiser.


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