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A Troubled Heart

ISSUE:  Summer 1999

           The skylark departs,
           leaving in the wilderness
           a small red lily.
           Thus, without friend or attachment,
           my heart remains alone.

Along the trail’s edge
beside a sparkling river
in the willow shade,
I lingered to take a nap—
lingered, and I’m still here.

Deep in a ravine,
in a tree on the old farm,
a single dove sings
out, searching for a friend:
the lonely voice of evening.

Whom is it calling
in this high mountain village,
that lonely cuckoo?
When he came here, he came
alone, just wanting a life.

On the clear mirror,
just a single speck of dust.
And yet we see it
before all else, our poor world
having come to what it is.

At the Grave of the Poet Fujiwara Sanekata
(d. 998, Exiled from the Imperial Court in Kyoto)

He left us nothing
but his own eternal name—
just that final stroke.
On his poor grave on the moor,
one sees only pampas grass.


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