Moon, come down and
come alone. I have to tell you all
about Akechi’s wife. -- Bashō
Valentine's Day approaches -- but I think it more a holiday intended for young couples -- those still needing public rituals of affection to fuel their new love. But for those of us long married, it is different -- not that love doesn't still have rituals, but that they are of a different kind. Ordinary, daily, subtle. So how beautiful and exquisite is this reflection by Bashō, the itinerant poet-monk of 17th century Japan, on the love between two people whose relationship is wide and deep -- quietly full of intimate gestures.
"So worn out, not even sure I was on the right road, I forgot myself awhile watching in weary amazement as his wife came and went, the two of them giving the impression of having long perfected some grave and complex dance known only to them, one of accord and the affection of two people moving hand-in-hand in the same direction, both possessed by desire while knowing themselves to be the source of that desire." Bashō, translated by Franz Wright.
Read the entire piece here at Poetry Foundation.
Art: Goyo Hashiguchi. 1920. "Woman in Blue"