Thursday, June 3, 2010

Fan de Psyche

Nine of Pentacles

At the advent of the Third Emperor
My comfort was unmatched:
Even the screech of the pea fowl an
Unbridled proclamation of the security
Of my position. The Second Emperor,
A man of peace, extended
His policy to my person.
Sometimes I smell
The next city burning.

I walk the garden,
Jewel-green beetles hop and
Dragonflies hover beside me.
My path has become uneven, rocky,
Riddled by tiny holes I now understand
Are made by snakes.
The old palaces may burn, and my birds,
And even my books, but in this empire
I will not be very much alone.

I was looking for my Kenneth Rexroth 100 Poems from the Japanese for some kind of epigram to kick that one off with, but all I could find was 100 Poems from the Chinese. So I started casting around online, and still didn't find anything, but check out these poems that fell into my hands:

2 poems by Yosano Akiko (1879-1942):

Another look like his mixed me up again—
you really do play tricks on me,
don’t you, gods of love.

Yesterday felt like a thousand years ago,
at the same time
I feel your hands still on my shoulders.

Poem by Takai Kito (1741-89):

A tumble, fall, crash,
then silence—
cats in love

And a Rexroth translation of a Geisha song:

When it’s the man I love
he goes by and doesn’t come in
but men I hate —
a hundred times a day.

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