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Following the roads

Of dreams to you, my feet

Never rest. But one glimpse of you

In reality would be

Worth all these many nights of love.

Ono No Komachi (834-880)

Translation by Kenneth Rexroth


夢ぢには
あしもやすめず
かよへども
うつつにひとめ
見しごとはあらず

Bouquet aux Amoureux Volants, Marc Chagall, ca, 1934-1947

Bouquet aux Amoureux Volants by Marc Chagall, ca. 1934-1947

“Painting by Chagall” by The Weepies

My Dearest Xander —

Last night when your message awakened me just before 2 a.m. my eyes opened to see the moon shining hazily from the skylight onto my bed.

I answered you — of course — and said, “Go back to sleep; however will we meet if we do not sleep at the same time?”

And I dreamed that you were here, but you shimmered in and out, and I couldn’t touch you, and sometimes we had to write to each other as we do.

At some point I sensed someone in the room. Somewhere between sleeping and waking, I listened closely as the door clicked open and closed. And I slid under the light sheet, still writing to you, my hand making characters of its own accord, receiving some signal from my brain, not breaking the reception, while the rest of me listened and held my breath in the dark.

When it was safe, you were here again, and we flipped through the Dhammapada, and I asked you what you knew of its translator (“But which Maitreya is it?”), and we looked at the sections on Flowers and Elephant.

This seemed to go on until morning, and I awoke just after 6 a.m.

I readied myself for work and put on that skirt that holds flowers.

And just before leaving, I picked up the little Dhammapada you gave me which sits at my bedside. I opened it — to “Flowers,” of course — and a subtle, faint, yet distinctive scent rose up to delight me.

“What is that?” I asked and immediately put my face in the leaves of scripture.

Gardenia. No question.

This must have been where you pressed and carried the flower all those miles before you gifted it to me, before I gave it its new home in those love poems for Maud.

Isn’t it?

Hopeless Romantics

Thousand Mile Music

A Loaf of Bread, A Jug of Wine and Thou

"Lotte and Gyre" banner illustration by Edmund Dulac from Omar Khayyam's "Rubaiyat," translated by Edward Fitzgerald, 1909.