Japan continues to rebuild after the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Accident. It is a very difficult and long road. It is still possible to contribute to their efforts.
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|From "Prose Poem on the Unreal Dwelling [Genjûan no fu]" by Matsuo Bashō (translation by Donald Keene)
My body, now close to fifty years of age, has become an old tree that bears bitter peaches, a snail which has lost its shell, a bagworm separated from its bag; it drifts with the winds and clouds that know no destination. Morning and night I have eaten traveler's fare, and have held out for alms a pilgrim's wallet. On my last journey my face was burnt by the sun of Matsushima, and I wetted my sleeve at the holy mountain. I longed to go as far as that shore where the puffins cry and the Thousand Islands of the Ainu can be seen in the distance, but my companion drew me back, telling how dangerous so long a journey would be with my sickness. I yielded. Then I bruised my heels along the rough coast of the northern sea, where each step in the sand dunes is painful. This year I roamed by the shores of the lake in quest of a place to stay, a single stalk of reed where the floating nest of the grebe might be borne to rest by the current. This is my Unreal Dwelling [幻住庵], and it stands by the mountain called Kokubu. An ancient shrine is near, which so purifies my senses that I feel cleansed of the dust of the world. This abandoned thatched hut was where the uncle of the warrior Suganuma retreated from the world. He went away some eight years ago; his dwelling remains behind at these crossroads of unreality. Indeed it is true that all the delusions of the senses are summed up in the one word unreality, and there is no way to forget even for a moment change and its swiftness.
|More or less permanent pages|
|These panels lead to pages on the imperial poetry collection Selection of Poems Old and New (Kokin waka shū), The Tale of Genji and Heian culture, and The Tale of Heike. Each of these was developed for lecture series at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco or for classes at UC-Berkeley but have been modified over time. They are intended for a general audience.|
|Kokin poetry||The Tale of Genji||The Tale of Heike|
Contents of these pages copyright 2003–2013 by John R. Wallace