poem 165

Which recounts how fantasy contents itself
with honorable love

Stay, shadow of contentment too short-lived,
illusion of enchantment I most prize,
fair image for whom happily I die,
sweet fiction for whom painfully I live.
If answering your charms’ imperative,
compliant, I like steel to magnet fly,
by what logic do you flatter and entice,
only to flee, a taunting fugitive?
‘Tis no triumph that you so smugly boast
that I fell victim to your tyranny;
though from encircling bonds that held you fast
your elusive form too readily slipped free,
and though to my arms you are forever lost,
you are a prisoner in my fantasy.

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

road to the capital

Traveling far, I cross mountains and rivers;
the mountains and rivers are long and are broad.
Waving my whip, I climb gentle slopes;
relaxing the reins, I follow level grasslands.
At evening I rest, and sleep holding my shadow;
at morning I move on, and go bearing my thoughts.
Stopping the reins, I lean on soaring crags;
listening hard, I hear the sad wind’s echoes.
White light falls onto the clear dew;
how bright the full moon shines!
Slapping my pillow, I cannot sleep;
arranging my clothes, alone in lengthy longings…

Kakinomoto Hitomaro

december

Evening shadows steal
across and up the folding screen –
a passing winter shower.

Roka