japonisme: 1/9/11 - 1/16/11

14 January 2011

what they never told me....


To grow old is to lose everything.
Aging, everybody knows it.
Even when we are young,
we glimpse it sometimes, and nod our heads
when a grandfather dies.
Then we row for years on the midsummer
pond, ignorant and content. But a marriage,
that began without harm, scatters
into debris on the shore,
and a friend from school drops
cold on a rocky strand.

If a new love carries us
past middle age, our wife will die
at her strongest and most beautiful.
New women come and go. All go.
The pretty lover who announces
that she is temporary
is temporary. The bold woman,
middle-aged against our old age,
sinks under an anxiety she cannot withstand.
Another friend of decades estranges himself
in words that pollute thirty years.

Let us stifle under mud at the pond's edge
and affirm that it is fitting
and delicious to lose everything.

Donald Hall

Copyright © 2002 by Donald Hall.
All rights reserved

• they never told me i would take up sewing, knitting, but i have.

• growing a beard??! i know for certain i have never heard of this! shave! regularly!

• forget what number on the crossword puzzle i'm working on

• fall

sentaku no baba e yanagi no yû nabiki

to the old woman
doing laundry, the evening
willow bows



nippon ni toshi wo toru no ga raku da kana

growing a year older
in Japan
is a comfort

One of Issa's patriotic haiku. The season word in this haiku, toshitori, ("growing old") relates to the year's ending; in the traditional Japanese system for counting age, everyone gains a year on New Year's Day. Shinji Ogawa believes that Issa may be punning with the words raku da ("comfortable") and rakuda ("camel"). Viewed in this light, the haiku's tone is "childishly comical."*

• to me though, i'll admit, i prefer hall's interpretation: that as we lose what we've believed is important, we come to know ourselves.

• age finally gifts us with
what therapy did not.

• and we surely do love our animal friends.

*translation and interpretation of issa's work by david g lanoue

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11 January 2011

dances to spring: 11:11 1.11.11

purple iris

white magnolia

blue primroses



these are here now...
the rest will surely follow....

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