Posts Tagged ‘Heian era Japan’

‘The Night Of The Stain’, for d’versepoets.com

August 23, 2011

 

Heian era Woman with Tengu

In ancient Japan, (this poem deplicts the situation of a court woman, obviously cast off, in 12th century Heian Japan) and even in modern Japan, the giving of a dildo was a not uncommon gift, between lovers, husbands and wives and even girlfriends.  The Japanese, modest, demure people, have a different attitude towards sex than Westerners.  There are many museums all over Japan dedicated to sexual themes, gigantic phalluses, sex toys, etc.  Many of them are staffed by little old ladies. 

The beautiful woodblock prints of shunga (erotic  ‘how-to’ and with ridiculously proportioned masculine genitalia) were collected, bound and given to newly married couples.  A very early form of porn from Japan, but usually exquisitely made.

The Japanese might be a modest people, but they are no prudes.

Ancient, and indeed much modern poetry in Japan does not have punctuation. I have been playing with this lately, and paring down the words in my poems, trying for the least amount to still carry the poem.

Lady Nyo

The Night Of The Stain

Izumi hid in the willow greenery

Living strands cascading to the ground

Hair of blackbird gloss

Also trailing in the grass

Black and green tangled

In the layers of her hems.

Her maid searched

Full of duty to her mistress.

These peaceful moments now rare.

“My Lady! I found the most beautiful

Robe in the bottom of a chest.

It will be perfect for your wedding.”

Yes, her wedding.

(Better she become a nun)

Izumi parted the willow,

Looked without interest.

Her maid holding

A pale jade silk kimono

Embossed tarnished silver embroidery,

Seed pearls gleaming from

 Gossamer folds.

Izumi’s breath caught in her throat.

Hands trembling

She opened the kimono.

There it was, faded with time-

A blood stain.

He was dead now, her greatest love.

Closing her eyes

She remembered his face,

His hair, black as a raven,

His sandalwood perfume, still faintly trapped

In the jade bo silk.

Through tears leaking

From shadowed lids,

She remembered that night-

His gift of an ebony dildo.

She remembered the night of that stain,

When locked in his powerful arms

She screamed out—

Scattering the servants listening outside the shoji.

She had bled from

The strength of their passion.

Now she was to marry an old man,

Arranged through court.

Scandal and poverty, Ah!

The two banes of life.

She would need the dildo.

She would marry in the stained kimono.

It wouldn’t matter anymore.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2011

from “A Seasoning of Lust“, 2009, Lulu.com


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