by Gideon Burton
after Kenko, Tsurezuregusa ["Essays in Idleness"] #32 (below)
One night I wandered out to view the moon,
and in a garden thick with chilling dew
an evening breeze delivered faint perfume.
This home must hold some recluse that it drew
into this garden with a spell.
And as I gazed, I heard the door creak wide.
She too would know this moon, and know it well.
Could she have sensed I watched her from outside?
A gentleman, my friend, had walked with me.
Had said we ought to stop to see this place.
But he has stepped aside, has left me free
to watch the moon, the watcher, each their face.
I wondered, when I heard that she had died,
if she had joined those moonbeams, cool and wide.
Image: flickr - prayerfriends
Kenko, Tsurezuregusa ["Essays in Idleness"] #32
About the twentieth of the ninth month, at the invitation of a certain gentleman, I spent the night wandering with him viewing the moon. He happened to remember a house we passed on the way, and, having himself announced, went inside. In a corner of the overgrown garden heavy with dew, I caught the faint scent of some perfume which seemed quite accidental. This suggestion of someone living in retirement from the world moved me deeply.
In due time, the gentleman emerged, but I was still under the spell of the place. As I gazed for a while at the scene from the shadows, someone pushed the double doors open a crack wider, evidently to look at the moon. It would have been most disappointing if she had bolted the doors as soon as he had gone! How was she to know that someone lingering behind would see her? Such a gesture could only have been the product of inborn sensitivity.