Station 40, Chiriu: The Poet Ariwara No Narihira At Eight Bridges

Poem By Debora Greger

What is sky but water, more water,
crossed by eight bridges?
Is the ancient poet in a rush to reach land?

No, he's already one of the Six Immortals.
How long before the papery iris-petals
he admires wrinkle? They barely grow beards.

In a thousand years, pilgrims will come.
They will stand where he stood. Where, they will ask,
are the flowers that empurpled his poem?

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Other poems of GREGER

Head, Perhaps Of An Angel

limestone, with traces of polychromy, c. 1250

Point Dume was the point,
he said, but we never came close,

A Woman On The Dump

Out of the cracks of cups and their handles, missing,
the leaves unceremoniously tossed, unread,
from a stubble of coffee ground ever more finely
into these hollowed grounds,

The Dictionary of Silence

And in that city the houses of the dead
are left empty, if the dead are famous enough;
by day the living pay to see if dust is all

The Poetry of Bad Weather

Someone had propped a skateboard
by the door of the classroom,
to make quick his escape, come the bell.