Kinuginu no uta*

Photo: sleepwalker/Shutterstock

I had thought exile
would break me with loneliness –
yet I find my heart
though bruised from missing you
can begin to know some peace

*Kinuginu no uta (Japanese -きぬぎぬのうた , lit. “lovers’ song”). During the Heian Period in Japan (8th-12th centuries) the convention developed whereby a lover, having spent the night with his beloved, was required to send her a “morning after poem” as an expression of his continuing commitment to their relationship. This poem attempts to subvert that convention by characterising the “morning after” as the end of an unhappy love relationship.

© Copyright Brendan E Byrne 2019. All rights reserved.