japonisme: will we ever really know kimono at all?

11 May 2010

will we ever really know kimono at all?


(from a Japanese legend)

Disdaining butterflies
as frivolous,
she puttered with caterpillars,
and wore a coarse kimono,
crinkled and loose at the neck.

Refused to tweeze her brows
to crescents,
and scowled beneath dark bands
of caterpillar fur.

Even the stationery
on which she scrawled
unkempt calligraphy,
startled the jade-inlaid
indolent ladies,
whom she despised
like the butterflies
wafting kimono sleeves
through senseless poems
about moonsets and peonies;
popular rot of the times.

No, she loved worms,
blackening the moon of her nails
with mud and slugs,
root gnawing grubs,
and the wing case of beetles.

And crouched in the garden,
tugging at her unpinned hair,
weevils queuing across her bare
and unbound feet.

Swift as wasps, the years.
Midge, tick and maggot words
crowded her haikus
and lines on her skin turned her old,
thin as a spinster cricket.

Noon in the snow pavilion,
gulping heated sake
she recalled Lord Unamuro,
preposterous toad
squatting by the teatray,
proposing with conditions
a suitable marriage.

Ha! She stoned imaginary butterflies,
and pinching dirt,
crawled to death’s cocoon
dragging a moth to inspect
in the long afternoon.

Colette Inez

“The Woman Who Loved Worms” from Getting Under Way:
New and Selected Poems by Colette Inez

(Story Line Press, 1993)

dedicated to janejohn

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Blogger Yoli said...

This is so beautiful,both in poem and visual selection. Just when I think it is impossible, you have again outdone yourself, all the while teaching us the fine art of japonisme.

11 May, 2010 11:38  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

gosh, yoli -- you make me feel so darned good :^)

you bring your own heart and intelligence, which really are what create your experience

11 May, 2010 12:09  
Blogger janejohn said...

Hi Lilly

You have a beautiful blog.

There is such elegance and simplicity to be found in Japanese design.
Trying to adapt it for the western world is next to impossible and all I can do is to keep trying to come close.

Not many women fit our current standard but we all have the right to feel beautiful regardless of size and I would like to create things that make us smile.

I am going to try to send you a scan of the original pattern I used and the idea of the tie in panel comes from the second picture with the squared neckline of her top. They used a thin model, but the size I used was 28w.

You do beautiful evocative work.


11 May, 2010 16:09  
Blogger zoe said...

wow! what a tale/poem! and the images, too. beautiful post!

11 May, 2010 19:45  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

thanks, jane, and welcome to blog world ;^)

you do beautiful work too.

11 May, 2010 20:42  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

thanks, zoe! don't you just love images of women that are simply never seen in popular media?

11 May, 2010 20:45  
Blogger Theresa Cheek said...

beautiful....just beautiful

13 May, 2010 12:31  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

thank you theresa-- that's very kind -- i think for mostof us,in the west, anyway, kimono will always bemore symbol than reality.

13 May, 2010 12:59  
Blogger janejohn said...

I got lost in your photos - they took my breath away.
The world through your eyes is a wonderful place.

14 May, 2010 11:21  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

jane -- you have put such a big smile on my face.

i hope somepeople follow the link through to your etsy so they can see your beautiful work too.

14 May, 2010 13:01  
Blogger Poesis said...

Japonisme (and the many wonderful links) is by far one of the most beautiful and artistically rich blogs I have come across. I'm a lover of East Asian arts and culture, and your world is such an exquisite treasure trove for me... Thank you!

Best wishes,

18 May, 2010 18:40  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

what a wonderful thing to say, ting-jen. thank you so much, and thank you for the visit.

18 May, 2010 22:09  

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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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