Chushingura–poem by Miriam Sagan


I’m neither happy nor sad
Entranced, watching
The 42 masterless samurai
Revenge their master.
I keep thinking, I’ve seen
This movie before
Although it is unfamiliar
And snow has never seemed
More Japanese
Falling from the beautifully curved roof
Of the teahouse.

I should be happy
Here in the Days of Awe
In the golden light of a mountainous October
When Jews
Can renounce their vows
Once a year
Unlike samurai
Who must go on to the death
Except in the lovers’ subplot
With double suicide.
I keep thinking I’ve seen
This movie before
Even though a scratch on the disk
Causes me to skip a scene
And never really keep the love subplot straight
Confusing the virtuous beauty
With the tea house girl
And the two–different but similar–
Ronin boyfriends.

Everything seems
More Japanese
Fish ponds, love, hairpins, revenge–
Then I realize
I did see this before
Only it was the black and white version
And I feel like one of the townspeople
Come out in the snow, hastily
Pulling on robes at dawn
To see the blood stained weary but triumphant
Masterless samurai
Who have killed the villain
Chopped his head off
And wrapped it in a very Japanese
White bag.
I am not a samurai
Headed towards death for honor
But some townswoman, obscure
I’m not even in the subplot
Just watching
In the very Japanese
Drift of snow
Along the soon to be
Deserted street.

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About Miriam Sagan

I'm blogging about poetry, land art, haiku, women artists, road trips, and Baba Yaga at Miriam's Well ( The well is ALWAYS looking to publish poetry on our themes, sudden fiction, and guest bloggers and musers.

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