Sanjusangendo ( 33 Bays )
1. Heaven, may I be a Yurikamome amid
Chrysanthemum flowers at Gion Matsori?
High over Yasaka, show me a bird’s eye view of
Kannon, the god of mercy Bosatsu.
2. Eleven faces has Ju-ichimen; see them in
The hondo of 33 bays at Rengeo-in.
Kiyomizu Dera, inspired by Enchin.
Let me ride on the wind like gales of Fujin.
3. Before I pass on I aim to seek
33 disguises peek by peek.
Their piercing crystal eyes passed the test of time.
May I find a thousand Zen gods sublime
4. Serenade me, Kinnara, your sweet lullaby. Watch me
Senju-kannon, in your every palm an eye.
Forty palms and forty eyes glean twenty-five worlds; in mine behold!
Let there be maikos and moribana to the sound of koto chords.
5. Let me have tea with Sen Rikyu
In a mizuchaya swaddled in royal gagaku.
Moribana is the abundant flower
Gracing the fields of Ninomaru.
6. Take me down to Sunset Horai-Jima,
Up Tetsu Gaku no Michi way.
I’ll find wisdom in the halls of Kitano;
Wa Kei Sei Jaku will make it plain.
7. And if through heaven’s door should be my fate,
Carry me right on past those pearly gates…
To Shinto shrines and solemn Buddhist temples and
The embrace of jolly prosperous bald men with dimples.
8. Let me gain solace at castle Nijo;
Fusuma and byobu in Kano and Okyo.
Hurah! huran is my daily matsuri at
Golden pavilions with games of archery.
9. See me fly like a magic arrow from Sanjusangendo.
From the roof, from the belfry hiwada no shoro.
Hanami tops will break my fall, I’ll laugh like rakugo.
My portrait will be taken by a Maruyam’ Okyo.
10. Lotus flowers and ashes of saito goma;
Yellow ginko leaves and toots of biwa.
Amber rooms and beats of drums taiko make
Complete my inner Yoshiwara of Edo.
11. Back, back in time to Naniwa, take me emperor Goshirakawa.
Mark the spot at Dotombori where Seven Samurai of Kirosawa
Fulfilled their karma. Muga meant their mind and body were seamless and
Kata proscribed their ways of finesse.
12. Tassels and braided ropes, lanterns and wind chimes;
Tatami mats, midori gardens, plum tree groves and dragonflies.
Old man Kamo river, gay yuka on its banks;
Chado is the graceful ceremony and sobacha is my morning delight.
13. Ah, with his mouth open. Ikikata.
Un, his lips are sealed. Bushido.
Aft bamboo screen I hear cypress trees rustle; through
The Hinoki reed arrive Guardians of Nio.
14. Ki is the life force within. The protector of peace is god Toho-ten.
Rinri shows me the way to go; haragei guides when the way is unknown.
Dohtoku is the moral compass and evil is purged by trees willow.
How many times must I jump from the veranda down below?
15. For my lady Shikibu let me be Romeo.
From our riokan the voice of Kyu Sakamoto will
Brighten spirits and uplift our hearts at
16. As for Asura, that wayward evil of the world and
Rahu the swallower of sun and moonlight:
Punish the heartless Sanji Taisho!
Make me stronger Naraen-kengo!
17. Wa is the harmonic fugue and
Kigo is the waka season word.
Shibumi is the artful restraint,
Ojigi bows to be observed.
18. Shogyo soku shogyo, that is the credo
That came from Baigan Ishida, many moons ago.
They say the water from the well is holy at Kamei- do.
Write a prayer to Buddha for me, to paradise send my soul.
19. Children play with spinning tops, women wear obi and sensu.
Men make choices and choices are made, 47 ronin, seppuku.
The Laws of Power are 33 and 33 bays has Rengeo-in;
Obama is the power of persuasion, the persuasion of power is now his kin.
Daniel Bruno Sanz