Robert Pinsky – Samurai Song


The road is long long long! There are times that I wake frightened, looking at the last weak string holding me connected to this world. I look at this string from the edge of my bed, which could feel like edge of the known universe to me, a millions of miles away from the surface, (and isn’t everything an illusion of our perspective?) I look at this string, to this self that I have defined, to this self that you have defined for me, I look at it long, with messy hair, dry mouth, and all the morning look. Looking down at this string weakened by urge to depart, by urge to dissolve, I find myself like the oil sitting on top of the water – there, and not there. Then comes the invisible hand, and cuts the cord… “oh no”, I say, “Oh shit” I say. Fearing I’ll be adrift forever… but little I know and forgetful I am. For when I am adrift, I am the most connected. So, every morning I wake up, and meditate on remembering this: Always have a bowl of water, and a slice of bread for the invisible hand that may come, let it cut your cords that tie you to your bed and self.



Robert Pinsky
Samurai Song

When I had no roof I made 

Audacity my roof. When I had
No supper my eyes dined.
When I had no eyes I listened.
When I had no ears I thought.
When I had no thought I waited.
When I had no father I made
Care my father. When I had
No mother I embraced order.
When I had no friend I made
Quiet my friend. When I had no
Enemy I opposed my body.
When I had no temple I made
My voice my temple. I have
No priest, my tongue is my choir.
When I have no means fortune
Is my means. When I have
Nothing, death will be my fortune.
Need is my tactic, detachment
Is my strategy. When I had
No lover I courted my sleep.

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