background image
with a half hour to revisit yoshitoshi's
one hundred aspects of the moon
at the museum
The general is seated
cross-legged beside the lamp
in the closed-off inner room,
on his knee rests the hand
gripping his suicide knife,
the just unsheathed blade
upright. Under his gaze,
on the fl oor, lies the poem
he has fi nished. It speaks of his
part in a disastrous defeat.
The tiger's head on the wall,
a great strip of shaggy pelt
looped around its neck and
hanging to the fl oor, glares off
above and past the seated man.
-- Where, however, is the moon? Look,
the moon is in his poem.
It is a summer moon.
The two scholars with their oarsman
have anchored under the Red Cliff s.
A little moon lights up the water
from a great distance, the water
is rippling, the cliff s lean
among themselves. The scholars wait.
Eight hundred years before them
Su Tung-p'o, coming here with friends,
wrote of the cliff s, the
little moon so distant, the lit water.
The scholars wait -- for the way to be in