A Quiet Darkness

Daniel Torres


A city guarded by mystic walls
where one emperor Kamnu made his home.
My feet thread through the ancient stone,
a confluence of rivers, the sacred halls.

These, the blessings I’m receiving
as the train leaves Heian-Kyō. Hands
overflown with sights and music: errands
for my art, ever-present, unforgiving.

For time here is not a river
of quiet sands; it is smoke, is an illusion,
a mirror of a world that makes me quiver.

What gods judge my incursion
to their karmic land? What shadows stir my mind?
What lost beginnings have I come to find?



Dusk falls, the silent temple -in vain-
longs for the sound of an absent bell;
outside a frozen pond, a well,
dream tigers dancing with a crane.

At this hour -Tanizaki shares-
shadows give shape to beauty
timidly surfacing, their duty
is not to tease, but to dare.

Tombstones and wind, the old scripture
did not rescind a mixture
of joy and sadness,

I remember my duty:
To look for a slow moving beauty
hiding under the darkness.

Mt. Koya,

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