Good morning, blues

Yesterday Kurt at The Coffee Sutras posted three translations by Izumi Shikibu, the 11th-century Japanese poet I quoted Czeslaw Milosz about last month. These are perfect translations, from a book I wasn’t aware of called The Ink Dark Moon (I haven’t really been keeping up with East Asian translations in the last 15 years).

Here’s one more by Lady Izumi, my own version. This was written for a screen painting of three people on horseback gazing at wildflowers:

We hold the flowers
in our mind
after we pass,
entrusting ourselves completely
to the oblivious horses.


I was also delighted to find a link to an exhibition of Huichol yarn paintings over at Mysterium last night. If you don’t have time to click though all the images at the museum’s site, Mysterium reproduces the most elaborate image, with appropriate text, here. Few pictures really are worth a thousand words, but this one might be. I love that visionary blue! For anyone wanting to read more about Huichol shamanism, Barbara Myerhoff’s Peyote Hunt (Cornell, 1974) is excellent.


On Valentine’s Day, the inimitable Blaugustine celebrated a new find: the site of a cancer patient who is determined to die laughing (if at all). The site is called Cancergiggles, and it breaks the blogging mold by having the introduction on the home page, with more recent entries a click away. The author bills it as “an idiot’s guide to accepting, living with, laughing at and dying from cancer.” This is philosophy at its most essential, folks:

“I have heard many people protest that if they had cancer, they wouldn’t want to know. This is really, really dumb. Have you ever had a nightmare about something real? For almost everybody, the answer is NO. It is the unknown, the shadowy stuff, that normally causes fear. Human beings are actually pretty good at handling real situations and you will probably surprise yourself.”

“Ok so you can handle what is happening to your body. It ain’t doing what it should and it’s not looking like a picnic from hereon in. So you feel sorry for your situation, you regret your wasted life and you sink into a depression. Don’t you dare, you selfish bastard! The only people who deserve any pity are those poor souls who will take care of you and watch helplessly as you eventually begin to slide. There’s no need to think that you should just accept it all and give up hope. On the other hand, accepting that this could be Gods way of telling you that you’re not his favourite bunny can actually be quite positive. Odds are that like me, you may get a pleasant, if possibly only temporary surprise.”

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