Arigato Gozaimashita

Picture from a serie of the 36 immortal poets

Picture from a serie of the 36 immortal poets (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The tired old warrior sits alone
and breathes in shallow sips
as his time grows short.
He has tried his usual wrenching
of tears, spit and sweat to no avail.
Leeches and lancets provided
no relief from his symptomatic shame.
Black-ink tanto in hand,
he opens his blue-lined kimono
before the ones he cannot see,
but feels the presence of that cold
spectatating editor and
judge of his skills with cutting edge
and sometimes cutting word.
Comes seppuku. Again.

From left to right
he guides his blade, exposing
that which should remain within,
never revealed before death.
It is a messy business, this,
and usually a poem is written
before the act.
But today this poet renders
the evisceration and composition
in the same desperate rite.
He bows his head over the keyboard,
awaiting his kaishakunin’s
finish to it all.
Oh, exquisite creative pain,
arigato gozaimashita.

6 thoughts on “Arigato Gozaimashita

  1. Each line here is a treasure and you’ve captured the essence of the effort. An excellent work.

    I’ve long been intrigued by the Japanese custom of writing death poem, not only in cases of seppuku.

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