Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Lake Forest: desire among the Japanese

I am halfway through AN ANTHOLOGY OF CLASSICAL JAPANESE POETRY which includes one thousand poems composed between the sixth and thirteenth centuries.  Most are in a form known as tanka of only five lines so I easily read twenty-five a day.

The subjects vary.  A significant number are about desire.  I considered titling this ‘love among the Japanese’, but I believe desire is more accurate.  Even lust would be.  Though Christianity has given lust a bad name, including it in the seven deadly sins, the definition is:  very strong sexual desire, which does not sound bad to me and is the essential means by which DNA projects itself mindlessly into the future.  

Many of the Japanese poems are about unfulfilled desire through indifference, duty, custom.  At one time women of the higher classes were not allowed to speak to any man in public who was not a family member.  Prohibition led as always to subterfuge.

So here on a dismal day of rain due to turn to snow are a few poems of Japanese desire.  

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