japonisme: smoke...? mirrors...?

22 November 2009

smoke...? mirrors...?


To prepare the body,
aim for the translucent perfection
you find in the sliced shavings
of a pickled turnip.
In order for this to happen,
you must avoid the sun,
protect the face
under a paper parasol
until it is bruised white
like the skin of lilies.
Use white soap
from a blue porcelain
dish for this.
Restrict yourself.
Eat the whites of things:
tender bamboo shoots,
the veins of the young iris,
the clouded eye of a fish.

Then wrap
the body,
as if it were a perfumed gift,
in pieces of silk
held together with invisible threads
like a kite, weighing no more
than a handful of crushed chrysanthemums.
Light enough to float in the wind.
You want the effect
of koi moving through water.

When the light leaves
the room, twist lilacs
into the lacquered hair
piled high like a complicated shrine.
There should be tiny bells
inserted somewhere
in the web of hair
to imitate crickets
singing in a hidden grove.

Reveal the nape of the neck,
your beauty spot.
Hold the arrangement.
If your spine slacks
and you feel faint,
remember the hand-picked flower
set in the front alcove,
which, just this morning,
you so skillfully wired into place.

How poised it is!
Petal and leaf
curving like a fan,
the stem snipped and wedged
into the metal base—
to appear like a spontaneous accident.

Cathy Song

Cathy Song, “Ikebana” from Picture Bride. Copyright © 1983 by Cathy Song.


The bonsai tree
in the attractive pot
could have grown eighty feet tall
on the side of a mountain
till split by lightning.

But a gardener
carefully pruned it.
It is nine inches high.
Every day as he
whittles back the branches
the gardener croons,
It is your nature

to be small and cozy,
domestic and weak;
how lucky, little tree,
to have a pot to grow in.
With living creatures
one must begin very early
to dwarf their growth:
the bound feet,
the crippled brain,
the hair in curlers,
the hands you
love to touch.

Marge Piercy

Copyright © 1969 by Marge Piercy

and where's the line
between copy and inspire?

just which flower is the poppy of desire?
who's the who to whom you must be true?

once you've lost it, how can you find you?

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Blogger belvedere beads said...

lately I have a crush on stripes - so this post was especially enjoyable.

04 December, 2009 08:47  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

heh -- thanks for catching my odd juxtapositions.

i guess i also have something of an ongoing appreciation too as i have whole lots of striped socks, scarves, skirts, and turtlenecks!

check out this designer. she used to have a store near here. she's always been into stripes.

04 December, 2009 10:35  

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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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