Bacon on the Bookshelf

Savory picks for the free range reader

Samurai Song

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Today’s small treasure is a poem by former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky that seemed resonant to me in these pandemic times.

Samurai Song

When I had no roof I made
Audacity my roof. When I had
No supper my eyes dined.

When I had no eyes I listened.
When I had no ears I thought.
When I had no thought I waited.

When I had no father I made
Care my father. When I had
No mother I embraced order.

When I had no friend I made
Quiet my friend. When I had no
Enemy I opposed my body.

When I had no temple I made
My voice my temple. I have
No priest, my tongue is my choir.

When I have no means fortune
Is my means. When I have
Nothing, death will be my fortune.

Need is my tactic, detachment
Is my strategy. When I had
No lover I courted my sleep.

* * *

How did you survive 2020?

There is fortitude and acceptance in this poem and also an immense creativity, it seems to me…

*      *      *

By Suzuki Kitsu, Edo period, Metropolitan Museum of Art

2 Comments

  1. Jennifer, this is so inspirational. I immediately thought about my dear mother-in-law, who moved into an assisted living facility last January, and has endured this lonely year with so much dignity, graciousness and resolve.

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