Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Meeting Poetry

I'm on the road. Sitting in a kaitan sushi restaurant watching colored plates rotate before me, wondering which one to taste or what it is. As the flow of customers slow, I take up two spaces: one for me and one for the winter issue of Tricycle, splayed open on the counter space beside me.

With a half-eaten plate of dragon rolls before me, my breathing stops, followed by a deep inhale. The words on the page have leaped directly into my body and gone straight to my heart.

I whip out my Blackberry and, as the sushi continues to swirl on the belt and my dragon roll cools past room temperature, here is what I read.

"For a person to meet with a poem, or any deep expression, and make no response, is to have no heart, no nervous system. It is to show oneself 'uncooked,' a mere barbarian, with the shabbiest of table manners or bedroom etiquette.". Andrew Schelling writing about Murasaki Shikibu's belief in the article, "Whirling Petals, windblown leaves." Murasaki was a Japanese writer around the year 1000.