Sunday, January 09, 2011

Lady Kasa and Me

author's note:

Lady Kasa lived in mid-8th century Japan.  Little else is known of her life.

She is remembered for the poems of love and sorrow she wrote to the poet and government official, Otomo no Yakamochi.


I made a poem
this morning

unlike those
Lady Kasa wrote
centuries ago--

because hers usually told
of love and tears--

often bemoaning both

whereas I bemoan
this mountain
that I just can't
stop climbing.

This mountain I love.

Tears spotted her precious parchment

and yes, I must admit
tears have, at times, wrinkled
my cheap notebook pages.

Her long sleeves dragged
over a quiet royal courtyard
during those solitary strolls
filled with love's longing

and yes, I admit, my own
long sleeves often sag as
I walk this lonely dirt path.

Wherever I go, whatever I do
I'm always led back to myself

as was Lady Kasa.

I made a poem
this morning

not unlike those
Lady Kasa wrote
centuries ago.

© 2011, Michael R. Patton

(Lady Kasa's tanka poems can be found in the excellent anthology, From the Country of Eight Islands, edited by Hiroaki Sato and Burton Watson).

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