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Beyond Love for the Ultimate One

   Poetic Museum of 高市 順一郎 TAKACHI Jun'ichiro

 

 

             Poems and Remarks  

         by 高市 順一郎 TAKACHI Jun’ichiro

 

 

 

The following article “Beyond Love for the Ultimate One― Poetic Museum of 高市 順一郎 TAKACHI Jun'ichiro” is from 『不滅の金字塔―16日本代表詩人』 IMMORTAL MONUMENTS―16 Modern Japanese Poets by J.TAKACHI (English edition, Tokyo: Shicho-Sha, 2011).

 

高市 順一郎 TAKACHI Jun’ichiro

Born in Tokushima,1939. D.Litt. Prof. Emeritus of English, Oberlin University, Tokyo.

Member of the Japan P.E.N. Club, Modern Poets’ Association and Japan Writers Union. Last President of Japan Anglo-American Poetry Society.

Now, editor of poetry magazine “Maga-Tama”.

Main publications are The Place of Love (Poems in Japanese/English bilingual edition, Shicho-Sha 1998), The Cosmic Mirror (Poems, 2006), and The Bell in the Tree (10th Book of Poems, Shicho-Sha, 2009). Among criticisms are Sylvia Plath: Myths of Love and Fame (Shicho-Sha, 2007), and Figuration and Gnosis in Poetry ― Shakespeare, Keats, Poe, Whitman, Wilde, Hopkins and Eliot (Shicho-Sha, 2008).

 

 

Mytho-topos, the Unknown Borders

 

    TAKACHI’s literary exploits and activities, after returning to Japan from Cambridge, England, 1980, turned out in archeological and mythological lines. Perhaps that might be natural result of his new custom from lots of readings of English history and Mediterranean mythology, and practical research travels. This side-profession besides from academical exploration in English literature must have been increased by frequent conversations with colleagues at College 

─ specialists of Dante, Italian Fine Arts, Greek Archeology, Gallo-Romans, and such. Even after coming back home to Japan, TAKACHI’s wayward habit continued, and was ever travelling back to the West Europe, the Mediterranean areas and Egypt. His third book, Spring and Fall in Cambridge(prose poems), 1981, fifth book of poetry, Homer in the Summer, 1991, and the bilingual collection of poems, Manna of Love, 1994, came in publication, all out of those experiences and backgrounds during these earlier periods.

    The following 4 poems are taken out of the large volume, The Place of Love 『愛の在処』, 1998. As it is, when this volume was planned, TAKACHI’s field of work had been already largely expanded, not only in Europe, but also around Asia, Korea, Thai, Malaysia, to North America and to Canada. The main thematic code also had taken its form as “Mytho-topos, the Unknown Borders” 

─ that is, epicographic and eugustological observations on journey to/at both mythological and archeological topoi, which was a crossing of the borders of time to the unknown bounds.

 

    The first poem, “The House of Horus” 「ホルスの家」, was written during a travel to Egypt, 1983.

    TAKACHI was flying back from Luxor to Cairo, when a miraculous colour-sight, three phases of lines ─ the dark blue serpentine Nile, the whitish cotton-like field of desert, and above it, a rose-blue stream of cloudy mist ─ hit his eyes through the window. It was an ecstatic sensuous fantasy, reminding the poet of a Kinu-ginu scene The Tale of Prince Genji, where at dawn the amorous prince is going home, leaving his beloved princess, who cannot rise because of too heavy, sad breasts to see her lord off, handing him an alba waka song. In/from that fanciful thought, next poem began. “The house of Horus” signifies, in actual, the goddess Hathor, the spouse of the god Horus.

 

        The House of Horus

One body for you and me, or two skins of us both ─

which is heavier, or more sorrowful?

Desert and horizon are inseparably one, full of illusions.

Two are one, and yet both are endlessly duelling,

severing themselves from each other for ever.

 

At the point where conflict ends, there is an oasis.

And the deserts have the name of a sea of sweetpeas,

blooming everywhere on velvet skins.

The creamy area of silence is an overflooding river.

In ancient Egypt

once a year man presented woman a pair of wings,

and in return woman offered man the Key of Life.

When the sky and desert split in one line

it was for Horus, the Sky, and Hathor, Love, to rendezvous

  once a year.

 

When a man and a woman meet

what of their selves will they connect each other

Or, what’s to open, what’s to close ・・・ ?

The key of life she gave me teaches only to open,

and nothing about the art of closing.

 

The light of May sports a shadow sea of the Earth Mother

where the green wind reveals dancing limbs of the tree.

And night mists make it indiscernible whether hieroglyphs

on our skins denote pearls of truth, or keys to Necropolis.

 

On the morning after one more death,

long before the two half-lives come to know words of

  separation,

your breasts and my wings are already too heavy to fly up

with the deep scent of sweetpeas blooming on the deserts.

 

    The fantasy of love scene is here sung as a mythic rendezvous story of the Hathor, the Love goddess and Horus, the god of the Sky. “Rendezvous once a year” is the same analogy as the Japanese Tanabata festival in July, where the pair of stars, Kengyû Prince and Otohime Princess meet once in a year in the festive ritual of fertility reunion.

    The text of poem by TAKACHI is designed as a figuration of love scene,   ─ meeting” and “parting”  ─ of two physical fleshes of lovers in “sensuous duelling”: between the blue canopy, the blooming “sweetpeas” of skins, bodies and bed, and the “overflooding river” in the desert. The central key-code is the Ank, “key of life”, eros-door of the myth of love.

       TAKACHI adds in the ending a sensual word play ─ of 「乳房」 “chibusa” (breasts) and 「翼」 “tsubasa” (wings) ─ that at separation “your breasts and my wings are already too heavy to fly up.”

 

    Next two poems ─ “The Golden Arm” and “The Border of Time” are composed on the concepts got during a long travel, summer 1984, Yugoslavia, through Bucarest, Sofia, Romania, to Vienna.

    “The Golden Arm” 「黄金の腕」 ─ it was in Dubrovnik, in TAKACHI’s remembrance, that the radiant relic of St. Blaise’s Arm decked with gold and precious stones stroke his eyes, through a show window-glass of the town museum. That he stood half an hour in front of it must be because he, still young, had much interest in “The Meditations” and “The Theory of the Emotion of Love” of the French Jansenist, Blaise Pascal. There was a funny story, that against TAKACHI’s predilection, one of his friends, in weaker sex, was ever harping on the name Thérèse of François Mauriac, for what reason he did not know. Now he can guess that she, the self-appointed Theresa, might be protesting ─ as for the suffering for love ─ the masochistic love-suffering on woman’s side is more compassionate than the suffering from sadistic Sparagmos is nobler to man’s martyrdom.

 

        The Golden Arm

Every woman comes born carrying seven medicine-bags

on shoulder, some priest has said.

Life is a mixture of good and evil jammed together

where one revives by these remedies in every crisis.

 

If it’s true, man also may inherit seven fires of thunderbolts

as dear offerings from the Good Father,

to strike down seven enemies, or to kindle seven towers.

A lady need not grudge bestowing all her philters on men.

If she dispenses all the potions in her love-bags,

she can nurture men by her flesh as eight-hundred Bhiksuni.

 

Today, when the muddle of love meddles with clear noon,

a Parisian friend has sent me a picture of the chastity-belt

   of Rothenburg.

It is a coarse T-type iron basket with two tiny holes,

so strange to imagine that all the feminine sex must easily

  leak from the bottom.

 

With this I remember the stigma of St. Blaise’s sacrifice

  I saw at Dubrovnik:

The “Golden Arm,” which is his only relic, face and legs

  all lost ─ 

The evidence of sparagmos, dismemberment, the recompense

of amor, love.

 

Dear friends, nothing is so valuable as love’s sacrifice.

If some day you come to miss your arm and medicine-bags,

  squandered or lost,

you must not think to go back to retrieve them

or try to relive a lost life, doubling it by woman’s tally.

There will be someone to restore it, and return it to you.

 

To love is to leak, or to rage is to spurt light, or yourself?

The proof is somewhere no wisdom fathoms, at the solstice.

This noon, when the Seven Good-Fortune Gods stroll somewhere

  in Japan,

women may foster sweet love-buds, and men talk medicine-words.

 

    It is apparent that the “Golden Arm” is put in contrast to “the chastity-belt of Rothenburg.”

    This is not a eugustology, but may be a moralistic malagustology, to dispute on “woman’s sex” which “leaks”, against the sacred woman’s virtue, “love’s sacrifice” as if “eight-hundred Bhiksuni” 「八百比丘尼」. The hidden key-word is, rather, the “sparagmos,” dismemberment, a persecution to religious sinner. TAKACHI seems to have enfolded interest of it after reading St. Augustine’s Confessions and the Biblical scene of Jesus’s crucifixion.

    But the point might be otherwise ─ what the poet would like to message is a moralist’s generosity and consolation: “Every woman comes born, carrying seven medicine-bags” to nurture men, and man should “talk medicine words,” incarnating “the Seven Good-Fortune Gods” 「七福神」. These “Gods” may belong, as well as “Eight-hundred Bhiksuni,” to the Japanese vulgar cult, derived from Buddhist folklores, but in actuality, it is undeniable that they hold latent mighty popular devotions by common people even today.

 

    “The Border of Time” 「国境」 was composed upon the recollection of the poet, when he was crossing the border from Bulgaria into Romania, on a summer day, 1984.

 

        The Border of Time

On a day near the end of summer

at the Bulgarian border with Romania,

every car waiting for inspection must be sprinkled

with a little water.

It was like a mark of a pristine baptism.

 

A man also, travelling, may carry to the borders of life

some stigma on his breast to be washed off.

 

Taking a glance at the car in line beside mine

I notice a dark-eyed woman with tender look,

who sitting next to her driver, holds a large sunflower

to eat its seeds.

And in the back seat, an old woman and children

eating peacefully from another disc... 

 

When driving on the level plain of Bulgaria,

I saw many fields of sunflowers on both sides,

the plants standing with heavy faces hanging.

That flower the lady held like a treasure on her lap

must be one of those faces of the ripened summer.

 

I remember I once had a flower-loving lady in Japan.

A tender-hearted girl from Hokkaido, who adored sunflowers.

Was it before or after I came to know her

that I raised a houseful of golden flowers at Yokohama?

 

One night, dozens of the tall plants were thrown down

by a summer storm.

But as I helped them up, to sprinkle water everyday

they grew to lift their golden faces so high,

they glutted my household with all splendour in August,

as if the god Apollo were sitting there in radiance.

 

All those summers are gone, and with them the sunflower girl.

And on my life’s journey there is no tender woman.

This is the departing point for any ambitious man,

who races against time in search of dreams.

 

Exchanging a smile with the woman in the Romanian car

who carries a heavy sunflower,

I feel I accept from her eyes a motherly word.

Then a sacred face floats into my mind, Maria of Sofia,

who stood in the golden icon of the ancient dome,

with that serene, beautiful emblem of a rosy smile.

 

The border we travel is the edge of existence.

There your sun disc may begin its atavistic return

to an eternal home.

 

    This is a poem of reminiscence and repentance when the poet remeets the lost “sunflower-girl,” on the crossing of the border from this world, Bulgaria, into the other world, Romania. The subjective figure, “sunflower-girl,” stands for the sacrifice that the man’s selfish ambition deserts heartlessly for his own venturing towards a greater unknown destination.

    On the contrary, a pair of figurative codes ─ the Apollonian bright light and the gentle rosey Maria of Sofia ─ represent the fatherly might of eternal order and light, and the motherly abiding love and gentleness as “eternal home.”

    The poet says that the travel is a way of “atavistic return”: from the man’s adventure of “ambition” and fight, to the re-discovery of his own heart-center, the true faithful face and tenderness. That is why he, “ambitious man,” must needs be compelled “stigma” for the desire seeking for the forbidden bounds of world. TAKACHI seems to allude that its wounded rift is what you, if a poet, must take back as your own, and restore and cure in the healing water of tender recollection.

 

    “Good-Bye, My Address” 「自分の宛名よ、さようなら」 was an unbidden improvisation to TAKACHI, who came to New York as a strange land, the most callous heterophobian city. TAKACHI knew New York, the notorious high-society city with sheer racial hatred, as it was via America, Hawaii, that he returned home from England to Japan, seven years ago. But this time, visiting America alone, seeing friends in Boston and New York, something too frictional, quite different from the European convention, barred him, let him go astray, as if there was God’s cleft.

    The beginning of mishappenstance was simply because of his neglect of hour-changes, the west coast to Chicago, and to Boston. But because of his mistake of time, he delayed from dating Prof. R in Boston, missed the flight to Ithaca, lost the hotel voucher, and finally almost failed himself against the cultural antipathy in New York. And suddenly, he was unconsciously whispering, Bonjour Tristesse!, like Odysseus who came to know he had lost his own home address.

 

        Good-Bye, My Address

On the terrace of the Metropolitan Museum,

seeing a couple of oriental lovers sitting

sadly silent

I suddenly got trapped in tristesse, like an Odysseus

who came home and found no familiar address.

 

I am the one who came here to see God’s rift.

But who knows when one encounters one’s

nowhereness?

or even nooneness?

 

I remember my now-here-ness once ─ 

The day on the hill-top of our rapture

I asked my love, after the first kiss

“Who are you?”

 

I don’t know why, but I asked.

And suddenly tears flowed from both our eyes

and we could not see each other.

She wept and answered, “I am you!”

 

That’s where I was, and I’m there even now.

There is some part of the world stopped like that

where one is beatitude, a perfect name.

 

Years have passed since that day,

and many museums of men and women appeared

to disappear,

till I began to wander as a cosmopolitan

in the valley of the lost.

 

Today I am here, and now I know

no love is Utopia

unlove is God’s absence.

To the one who lives in the capital of no place

there comes some day a moment

when he utters suddenly, “Hello, my tristesse!

Good-bye, my address!”

 

You are a walking nowhere.

The cleft is no one, but you, and I myself.

 

    This is, no question, an exquisite work of keen and deep insight into one’s own nowhereness. TAKACHI shows obviously an extremist concept of the contrast, zenith and nadir, ─ the happy summit of love’s fulfillment with his girl, a blissful “now-here-ness,” on “the hill-top of our rapture,” and the absolute edge of the lost world, his own “nowhereness” and “nooneness,” where the wandering poet, an Odysseus, meets the limit of estrangement, “God’s rift.” There is somewhere like that for anyone, where one, coming in the “valley of the lost,” confronts “God’s absence,” which is Un-Utopia, “unlove.” The coda is sheer reflexive paradox: “You are a walking nowhere./The cleft is no one, but you, and I myself.”

    Andrew Parkin, a Canadian poet, on a look of this poem, raised a wonder-cry, “O Gosh! What a marvellous piece!? But, how sad, sorrowful!” It was the first draft by TAKACHI himself, but Parkin gave no add or correction to its original. This poem seems TAKACHI’s second fiducial point, real and genuine, where he has crossed an impasse “border,” both of the valley of non-existence, and the void of nominalistic codes of poetic conception, for styling a contemporary frontier-cutting poetry.

The “One” and the Endless Journey

 

    Fortunately, TAKACHI’s literary career has been always along double two, academic and creative, ways simultaneously. During nine months staying at Yale University, 1992 to 93, he prepared a poetry volume, The Mannas of Love, and Doctorate Thesis, “De Man/Bloom/Derrida ─ Literary Theories and Ultimate Propositions,” which turned out respectively a bilingual edition of poetry, 1994, and as D. Litt. degree, from Tsukuba University, spring 2000.

    And after two years, he published his largest mytho-poetic, epicographic volume, Songs of the Sun, Songs of the Wind, 2002. TAKACHI’s exploits of this period can be estimated as products of his exploration and culmination towards the transcendental and sacred apex, the “One” of Now-here-ness, through allegorical travels in mythographical cosmic dimensions.

 

    “The ‘One’ Penetrating All” 「万有を貫道する〈一〉」 from “Ars Poetica ─ The Cosmic Ear,” Songs of the Sun, Songs of the Wind, is the central axis of the whole volume. It epitomizes TAKACHI’s poetics in two phases ─ Haiku as enunciation of Fûga aesthetics and the Novelistic writing as dramatic anagnorisis.

 

        The “One” Penetrating All

“I wish to live honest,”

a Haiku poet said.

 

Those that live honest,

straight and beautiful, are

whales

bees

scallops

metasequoia in the wood,

and above all, roses in the desert.

 

To live honest ─

But what does it signify fairer

than to die proudly?

Except to be wounded for to bloom nobly

and to shed blood tears to re-rise?

 

Haiku scales the eyesight off

into the “One”.

It can penetrate even into rocks,

to whet a cosmic ear.

A genuine ear will see

the “Fûga” mind:

A pure eye will open

a candid road, where no one goes,

into the interior depth.

 

To live just

towards the “One”, beyond the way and the sky

for the ultimate of Tao.

All is None.

 

“To live austere,”

some feminine novelist said:

To translate life serious,

ardent and strict,

embodying its dramatic parables.

 

The novel scoops Eros’s physics with a spoon.

But is it possible to learn from an enigma of clay

the novelistic austere wisdom,

to outlive through and beyond the dark metamorphosis?

Novel is a book of eschatology.

Your book can never be revelation of regeneration

unless you die of sins and revive from own stigma.

 

Seek only righteousness ─

Tyranny and repression

desires on the rack and despair

madness,

give them justice for righteousness!

Beware of your own world’s end

Restore Amaterasu goddess

Yamato Takeru!

Cankered roses

raped tulips

empty cicada!

 

Imagination is to rise from heart’s hurt

to aspire to the Bodhisattva Buddha

to be reborn of his carnal fire and soul’s light

 

To live right

To die beyond ─

like a paradise dragon-fly

like a mirage river in the desert.

 

All goes to, and returns from, the all-penetrating

“One”

“One” is All and Ever.

 

    In the first half, the axis is “A genuine ear will see/the ‘Fûga’ mind” to “penetrate” into the “One.” TAKACHI appears to assume, in this poem, the “One” as Enlightenment, attained beyond the way and the sky. Otherwise, he observes “BASHÔ defines the ‘Fuga’ in the Preface to Oi-no-Kobumi as ‘to accompany the natural circulation and follows the four times,’ which is to say, to follow the Way of the ‘One’ ─ that ‘Penetrates all through the Waka of Saigyô the Monk, the Renga of Sôgi, the Sumié Painting of Sesshû, and the Tea of Rikyû.’” The archetypal code of this ‘One’ 「一」 has originated from the Taoist idea of the retroaction into the ‘One’ 「一者」 proposed by Laozte and Zhuanzte, that is supposed as contemplative penetration into the reality of truth, or spiritual Englightenment.

    In the second half, the other axis is “the novelistic austere wisdom/〔is〕 in the eschatological recognition to gain the “revelation of regeneration ・・・ to die of sins and revive from own stigma 聖痕”. TAKACHI seems to enjoy playing on capricious definition of “the novelistic” as to be transfigured in the “imagination to aspire to the Bodhisattva Buddha/to be reborn of his carnal fire and soul’s light” into the all-penetrating “One”.

 

    In August, 1996, TAKACHI took an adventure travel, to traverse the Taklamakan Desert, in West China. Up to then, he had not written anything in China, perhaps because he felt confronted with too much of homo-phobia, or ever seeing too many giant golden Buddhas. But this time, he composed, maybe as it was in the Western Area 西域, three poems during this travel, on the “Unreturnable Place Once In.” “A Huian Butterfly” 「胡蝶」 from The Place of Love 『愛の在処』, 1998, is one of them, a sublime, fairy-like revelation purged by “Kara-blan,” black sand-storm.

 

        A Huian Butterfly

The west end of the Taklamakan Deserts ─ 

From Kaxgar at the foot of the Karakorum Mounts

I went along the ancient Silk Road,

towards the Kunjirap Pass on the Pamir Heights.

 

Going from the Gobi-tan into brownish mountains

we ascend beside the Gehz River, striking through

“The Tiger’s Mouth” with gray black water,

and we cross one col and then another

to come to a lakeside plain, with grazing yaks and sheep.

What we see here is only four or five spattered pao,

and nothing worth being called village.

 

In the blowing dry west wind

a white butterfly is fluttering, bending slender wings

to fly against the blast,

towards the blue fertile south.

 

The Hu road is exactly the same road as Genjô the Monk

and Marco Polo trod centuries ago.

Genjô, carrying Sutra rolls on his back from India,

walked at night, with a lantern hung overhead,

while Marco Polo, before bringing an entourage to

Khubilai Khan, plodded on a stalwart horse ・・・ 

 

We stopped the car, to stand on the greenish earth

drawing a deep breath of fresh air.

Children in rough robes came, to show uncut amethysts,

obsidians and crystals polished on sands and stones.

Three for one Gen, they say.

A woman with ruddy face sits on the grass

extending coarse wool threads in 10 meters,

to weave with bleeding hands the sentiments of those

who went this Silk Road in old times.

 

The chieftain in the Pao only cracks a smile

like a saint or a sage, nothing to do but sit

watching the fire in the hearth all day long.

I repose on the rough carpet, drinking a served tea.

A rest utterly tranquil under the felt firmament ─ 

And leaving some small money,

we start on the road, seeing ahead nothing

but yearning and the ever-receding dream.

 

After passing the cloudy pass and Lake Kalakri

where the legendary fairy, West Mother Queen, lives

with a peach medicine of immortality,

all that awaits beyond is snowy peaks, steep to heaven.

Has the butterfly safely gone over the mountains?

 

In the sky on the far-off road

I see a soul emanating a light.

Is the desert the place where man undresses heart and skin,

to become the marrow of bones and naked thought ・・・ ?

 

The miracle of the animate,

to fly the sky of a thousand kilometers,

to transcend time for a hundred years.

It is simply to discover an eternal abode for the soul.

 

My sky! My knowing spirit!

In this way, many travellers from ancient times have

passed this road of the Pamir Heights:

Monks, transporting the teachings of Buddha,

Marco Polo, who journeyed East for the journey’s sake.

And I too, who have got nearer to the sinking sun,

transformed to a solitary walking shadow ・・・ 

 

The butterfly and Genjô the Monk,

which one has travelled farther,

to reach further?

 

    This is a short epic story, a parable to inquire a Zen question, “The butterfly and Genjô the Monk/which one has travelled farther,/to reach further?” Of course, the poet anticipates the answer, that Genjô the Monk who walked on foot, to go on the surface of desert, could have gone “farther,” into Tenjiku 天竺, but as he could not fly in the sky, like a “butterfly” who is a psyche, he could not reach “further” into the other world beyond the mountains.

    The author has given the clue, “soul,” two times in the process of metaphysical journey: “I see a soul emanating a light,” stanza 8, and “It is simply to discover an eternal abode for the soul,” stanza 9.

    He seems to have been inspired with this concept, seeing over and beyond the gray void, the Taklamakan Deserts, an unreturnable plateau for travellers, to disern his own spirit coming back all worn off but “bones and naked thought.”

    “West Mother Queen”, 西王母, here an image of a rescue light, is TAKACHI’s once favourite figure of Mother Goddess, together with “Eight-Hundred Bhiksuni” 「八百比丘尼」 as Oriental figurations of secular/sacred Madonna.

 

    “Man with Sweet Breast” 「いい胸の男」 from The Cosmic Mirror 『宇宙鏡』, 2006, is a recognitive self-conversation in a hedonistic style of reflection, to what extent the Eros, “tenderness,” could be approved between man and woman.

    This is a work of too many words. Notwithstanding, the tenor is evident: how to keep and maintain the balance and harmony ─ between/among insistence, whim, friction, abandonment and tolerance ─ holding own stance, proud and noble, or “getting soft.” Assertion and generosity at the same time, that may be the only good way to resolve and continue the connection between man and his spouse with love.

 

        Man with Sweet Breast

In a dream, I recline back to back with my mate, on the floor

  at window side.

Today is Sunday after a long work was finished, and we have just

come back from a stroll in the wood.

“You look becoming tenderer, don’t you?” she says, settling nearer

to touch her cheek to mine.

“When a work is finished fine, any artist can become sweet.”

The autumn sun in early October radiates Pissarro’s ground cherry

  colour.

“As you are by me in this pretty hour, my blood seems rinsed,

and new life-stuff springs up.”

 

Then I fancy myself flying like a cloud in the sky

to become a Maitreya-bodhisattva with large bright eyes

that I saw at Yungang cave, China, a year ago,

and wonder how complacent I am with smiles, in women’s glances.

And assuming myself a handsome visage and soft rich breasts

  like woman,

I feel so intoxicated that, unbidden, I reach my branches to my

mate’s trunk, while trying to smell her morning glory skin,

I hear myself saying “This is no good! No good!”

But in another part of head, a voice mutters

“But the final ideal image man goes to gain ─

is that not to have a large, alluring, sweet bosom of tolerance?”

 

My mate turns, and staring at me full face, says complainingly

“Why do you feign such a grinning face now?

Man is best when wearing a stern mask with bitter taste ─ .

When I was a young girl, there lived near my home a tall handsome

man, always grinning.

He got a pretty bride, but could not even bear a baby by her,

and went mad at last, to wander about alone, ever grinning.

Why have you earned such a Buddha face, wearing a feminine mask

like Tama-Saburo?”

She, shifting hand from my breast down to my crotch, exclaimed.

“Oh, no! You have lost your precious stones!”

 

That a man softens so much as to lose his genital balls!

That is a shameful story even if he is an awakened Vimukti Buddha!

Far much better you change for a pockmarked mask of Deva king!

But now I remember a monk’s talk at Wutaishan Temple, China ─

“With Buddha’s, there is no difference of masculine or feminine.

They are gods both neutral and bi-sexed at once.”

If that is true, and if I can be given such a handsome feature of

  Bodhisattva,

as with beady eyes and graceful chest,

I should better throw to a dog these golden balls that are ominous

  cause of despotic tyranny!

A symbol of phallogocentrism of the Egyptian Pharaoh darkly stowed

  in the pyramid.

 

A man becomes tenderer, is it not a testimony that he has got on age

and matured, with mellowed nerves and bones?

To possess wild ardour is to hold blind strength of passion and capacity

  of love.

“The day before yesterday, I met at a party an American opera composer,

a handsome gentle Jew with sweet voice.

How happy these young artists, who can make use of his breast

as wrestling ring for opera!

For them, it can be only possible on such a stage of broad smile

to flourish their art of good voice and good action!”

Is it not that, when we get on to a certain mature age,

knowledge is suitable for woman, and Amrita-milk becoming to man?

 

Talking like that, I come to notice that I have forgotten

my father’s rigid shoulders I carry always on my back like the arctic pole.

And a memory comes up ─ a line in Tom Paulin’s novel I read

in a magazine at Cambridge twelve years ago:

“When man gets softened, he is over.”

But, even so, is it not that the final end of man’s aspiring is to become

  a living art?

Turning to face my mate, I find her opening French windows of her chest

from where a sweet face of Samantabhadra looks out.

“How now? Why do you have such nice two faces?”

So saying, I am almost being sucked in between her breasts with

  beating wings.

 

If here is any good nice man’s face, transcending the sweet and bitter,

it should be such a ripened face as on the Samantabhadra buddha’s breast.

But, considering the soft and the hard together, it gets all

too blurred what face is ever a tender face.

Reclining back to back with my mate, in that dilemma,

a fat mushroom like a Tengu goblin’s nose rises from the pinewood

  of Paul Delvaux,

and a violet Akebi fruit comes hanging down, like a full moon

from De la Robbia blue sky.

And turning round, putting fingers into its viscous gulf,

we open each other’s mouth of ground cherry, to lick and chew

the sweet and sour together.

 

We are already aware that so long as man and woman

have breasts to embrace and set each other on fire,

it is still a little premature to become too tender, or too spiritual.

 

    Of course, there is no such man with “sweet soft breast,” in actual world, except the white Maitreya-Bodhisattva buddha 弥勒菩 in China. TAKACHI considers, however, that in the matter of “tenderness,” any good man, if to be good, may and should get to wear, on getting on age, such “softness” in mellowness and tolerance as Maitreya’s. That is why he has put, in stanza 5, “A man becomes tenderer, is it not a testimony that he has ・・・ /matured, with mellowed nerves and bone?”

    And, about man’s face, what kind is ideal, he has given an answer, in stanza 7, “If here is any good nice man’s face, transcending the sweet and bitter, /it should be such a ripened face as on Samantabhadra 普賢菩 buddha’s breast.”

    Here again, Buddha! That is how important the Buddha figure is, a neutral paragon of white, soft, tender beauty, both sacred and erotic, spiritual and corporeal, in Japanese religion and aesthetics. Of course, the last three lines are TAKACHI’s habitual anticlimax, as coda to end the poem.

Camino to Heaven, Beyond the Eros

 

    TAKACHI earned D. Litt. degree, by “Literary Theories and Ultimate Propositions ─ De Man/Bloom/Derrida,” from Tsukuba University, as late as 2000, when he was sixty-one years old. It seems it was a matter of course, and naturally he was not quite satisfied with this academic accomplishment. Perhaps, an inverted second Weltschmerz, something like an unsaturable aspiration drove him ahead still more, to gain some higher, supreme zenith for himself.

    In December, 2002, TAKACHI took a long flight to jump and cross to Peru, South America, expecting 180 degree change of climatic and spiritual temperaments. Even it was Christmas season, it was hot and dry at Lima, putting him in a floating suspension in vacant void. At Cuzco, 3200 meters high, it was contrarily cold and wet, and he was plunged out of breath, almost vanished into thin nothing.

    But getting down, trailing to Machu Picchu, he found everything being transformed and sublimed, as if he himself were spiritualized, and apotheosized. “The Bridge of Inca” 「インカの橋」, in The Cosmic Mirror, 2006, is what came out of his meditation in sitting an hour towards the skyey apogee of Huayna Picchu.

 

        The Bridge of Inca

Who on earth did dig this space through the air?

who pass through this rock?

who in the world go beyond the way of distant sky?

From the suspended skyey city, Machu Picchu, to the south

on the rock cliff five hundred meters high over the Vilcamajo River,

there runs a path like a narrow belt

which bears, on midway, the Bridge of Inca of three broken logs

that even the feet of a messenger could not cross.

 

I travelled from the south to the north until getting on thirties,

to the west and the east during forties.

And then, after aging over fifty

I began to yearn for the south,

orientated for the sun, so much more as having lost fleshes

   and bones.

 

Today in March

when the sun passes through the screen of mountains,

   three thousand meters high,

and the clouds go penetrating the mirror-rock of Huayna Picchu,

the “Small Peak”,

I have, casting blood and thought off, come up here

as high as the precinct of divine beings,

and stand eye to eye with god.

 

You “Old Peak”! You are also the “Lost City of the Sky.”

You will not descend the mountains, to see faces of human beings,

or breathe the lower air any more.

In former ages, you were the father-god of all kings,

and would protect the shrine of the Emperor Yupanqui

the son of the sun, who divined the solstice of spring and autumn

  for festivity.

And my ancestor was likewise a descendant of the Japanese

   sun-goddess, Amaterasu,

a royal priest who was ordained to worship the primal sun-rise,

through the rock-window under the holy cedar tree of Ise-Shrine

to officiate the cult-energy to the supreme altar of royal shrine

   of Nara Palace.

 

In the foreground, below between Machu peak and Huayna peak,

two high stumps of mountain-hollyhock stand like pitchfolks

   with red flowers on top.

They pose their tranquil postures, as if listening to the voice of god,

or discerning the back-feature of the son of sun-god

who, five hundred years ago, rose ascending the ladder of light

from the “Pole Stone of the Sun” of the sun-dial on the prayer-terrace,

where he used to pray for the fertile growth of universal lives.

 

“The Path of Inca” is called in another name the “Way of the King.”

Formerly the whole country of Inca was stretched on all mountains

   with network of them.

Any brave one who pursued the Way could get to the “Temple of

   the Sun” in the end.

And it is said the quickest could, ascending to god on the throne,

   make himself King in own right.

 

The Path of Inca at Machu Picchu, which has come up to reach

the Emperor sitting on the throne beside the “Pole Stone of the Sun,”

goes around the mirror-stone, and continues its way to the south.

But the Path must soon come to stop, collapsed before

the Bridge of Inca at the rock-cliff.

And further ahead no one but who can, walking on the air, carry

the cliff on shoulders, can go forward.

I too, getting old, cannot make progress any more, shouldering

   myself on the back.

And now I feel too tired of descending to the earthly world

   to breathe human breaths.

 

O labyrinthine city floating in the sky!

You abyssal lack of the world

You, my missing link!

Only footsteps are visible being thrown ahead invisibly,

in the madder purple sky where the space is purer than the void.

Will you still want to advance on the way in the sky

to overstretch yourself, trying to reach for your fixed Star

along a streak of fantasy, on which any treading feet

may miss steps at any moment?

 

Or, expect to encounter yourself again, at the edge of the Path,

becoming new King of yourself once more?

 

    TAKACHI writes that it was because he “aspired towards the South/after aging over fifty ” that he travelled to Peru, without knowing what was the cause for him to climb to Machu Picchu, “Old Peak.” And encountering the real image, “the Bridge of Inca,” overflying the whole stage of ruins, he got an inspiration, to cross and soar up the space, to the top’s height of soul.

    The “bridge” is, of course, a symbolic code of the crossing beyond into the cosmic transcendence. That means a fantastic extrication, flying into spirit and soul, stripped of human weight of limbs, bowels and even brains. Spiritualization

─ it was something like metamorphosis out of physical corporeality into cloudy fume of soul, even out of Christian ideas and dimensions; but not quite similar to the Buddhist Nirvana, which must be all abandonment and enlightenment.

    It is interesting to notify that TAKACHI also finds a mythical affinity between the Inca’s worship to the sacred throne and his own family lineage of Shintuist priest to the Japanese Sun-goddess, Amaterasu-Oomikami 天照大神. So then, it is natural for him to write, in last 3rd stanza, “now I feel too tired of descending to the earthly world/to breathe human breaths.”

    The main concept is in the poet’s aspiration that he would wish to transform himself into the king of the sky, in stanza 6: “Any brave one who pursued the Way could get to the ‘Temple of the Sun’ in the end./It is said the quickest could, ascending to god on the throne, make himself King in own right.”

    And, in the ending, he definitely assumes a sublime feature, for overcrossing his own suspending “foot steps” in the sky, along invisible ethereal Path.

 

    In this period, 2002 through 2006, the posture of TAKACHI towards the sacred and the ultimate apex appears very positive and eager, as in the analogical concept of travelling in poetry to testimonial recognitive contemplation of the Madonna and to Heaven.

    Next poem, “Camino to Heaven” 「神へのカミノ」, from the same The Cosmic Mirror, written after travel through Northern Spain in summer 2004, is a reviewal of “The Bridge of Inca,” from the vertical ascension to a horizontal pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. The analogy here is to walk the graph of animation picture, illustrating a sacred spirit, which is practising the Kantian paradoxical proposition, “Mind is the Thing.”

 

        Camino to Heaven

One summer morning, returning by car from Leon to Madrid

I saw, in a rank of oaks on the horizon of reaped wheat field,

a column of four or five pilgrims heading on foot for the West,

on the Camino de Santiago.

One hundred and sixty kilometers from Valladolid to Leon

three hundred and forty kilometers from Leon to Santiago ─

On that long line of duration, they are going to walk!

But leaving, for a breath or two, a scape of their brave figures

   with a row of trees behind,

they broke up the frame of shape, flew away, and vanished

   into nothing.

 

Each step is an inscription of the memory of blood.

Each instant is a frame of still-life of cosmic music.

Each brush is a crystal substantiation of eternity.

Each word is a figuration of wish, a breath of felicity.

As Bergson expounded,

provided that existence is memory, and memory time,

when one reaches out hand to grasp the moment,

one can have made oneself such an existence.

In this way, consciousness goes inscribing, shot by shot,

life-monads into time.

 

The Path to Santiago de Compostela is a non-discontinuing

diagram to St. Jacob’s emblem of All and the One.

As in Estella, seven hundred years ago, a shepherd looked up

the night sky and saw a constellation flowing silvery to the west,

and went yearning after it along the Camino to Heaven,

so now the pilgrims progress their walk, etching stroke by stroke

   the distant window,

and scraping their flesh step by step, to heal inner wounds

by inhaling the psychic amrit from the Oriental Light.

 

You living one!

And thoughtful one! You had better continue to advance.

I shall go home.

Still, for the one going and for the one returning

the journey will be on the same Path to God.

Life is blood, and breath is mind.

So long as mind does not break off, thought will circulate,

so long as breast throbs, eyes flutter as wings open the door

   of light.

God must wait ahead with the same face, for both the one going

to the west and for the one returning to the east.

 

Lost pilgrim! ─ You are a shadow of my life,

and my pro-figuration.

My Camino to Santiago is now over. But my Camino to Heaven

will be otherwise, on my own.

You might be the breast and the back of one and the same self

   of mine.

I shall be back in my country, and sit in a retreat for

   meditation.

I will abide in contemplation and try to climb to the top of

   mountain,

just as Buddha sat in eternal non-change & new-flux, and

walked out of himself, to awake in the Enlightenment.

The painter draws a picture by sensibilizing what he comes to

   know;

the poet makes up a poem of what he thinks as image-act,

just like Kant out-induced the paradox, “Mind is the Thing,”

incarnating his soul in enacting pilgrim-travel.

 

So then, someday after some years,

you and I may, after pilgrimizing the world, come across each other

under St. Jacques tower in Paris,

or as ones already catharticized and revived to ascend the ladder

to the Star, on the way back from the end.

If fortunate, we may encounter on this earthly Camino once again,

   doubling together into one life,

and we can transform ourselves as a tree of oak, being inscribed

on the eternal horizon...

 

    First, TAKACHI puts the steps of pilgrims into the integral calculus, with time and memory, by the formulas of Bergson, “If existence is memory, and memory time,/when one reaches hand to grasp the moment,/one can have made oneself such existence.” And by process, the whole scheme is put in the differential calculus: “Each step is an inscription of the memory of blood./Each instant is a frame of still-life of cosmic music/ ・・・ Each word is a figuration ・・・ ”

    Therefore, “The Path (Camino) to Santiago de Compostela (Heaven) is a non-discontinuing/diagram of ‘it’ (=act of walking=consciousness of ascension).”

    Judging from this evidence, TAKACHI in this period of 2004, may have been lost, on second time, from the world of mental existence. That is why he calls to the walking pilgrim going on the positive way to Santiago, “Lost pilgrim! ─

You are a shadow of my life.”

    But, meanwhile, he knows well his conviction is firm and assured that “my Camino to Santiago de Compostela (God’s assembly) is now over. But my Camino to Heaven will be otherwise, in my own.” So, he can happily return to the thought of the fulfilled time of the ascension, and to the recollective cycle of the realization of “Mind (Thought) is the Thing (Deed).”

    This is a supreme work of dialectic theoria of processive thought and praxis of its re-enactment as valid proof.

 

    TAKACHI’s new sky and new horizon came out with his spring journey in the Northern Italy, 2007. An utter clarity, and sheer silence ─ no thought and no word, full light and rich fulfillment.

    The poet can see and hear, in such a moment and circumstance, anything as a clear beautiful “One,” a music of nowhere. “The Sky of Modena ─ The Path Dante Went” 「モデナの空 ─ ダンテの行った径」, in The Bell in the Tree 『樹の中の鐘』, 2009, shows such a moment of utmost culmination, in crystallized transparency.

 

        The Sky of Modena

       ─ The Path Dante Went ─

Sitting on a chair in the plain of Toscana

I hear no sound at all for a whole day.

Only visible is the far distance like an opal.

The bell of the cathedral in azure sky

is gone on a Journey with round echoes.

The two doves, following my feet closely,

will be settled at last in the relief

of the gate to the kingdom of God.

 

On the day Dante set off to a far country,

what sorrowful glance did Beatrice in heaven

direct to the hollow earth?

When the ground-ship of Florence was swayed

by the storm of time, the poet’s pen did engrave

the rarest valid figures of revelation,

like refined sculptures on the pillars of Dome.

That has made a long epic, the Divine Comedy.

 

A poet listens to the crystal voice in silence,

not to the live music of talkative chat.

So with an eternal traveller, and gentle Cattini ─ 

In old times, it was said the holy grail

will come descending in a shape of bell;

and also, it is a light. No! it is with a scent.

As Italian girls have each her own mouth of aroma,

a language of good smell, of fair beauty.

 

Each person should better have a fine ear,

capable of divining the wings of angel.

 

Sitting on the plain of Toscana, a whole day,

I notice Dante’s footprints on green waves,

walking to Ravenna, with white Tabi socks.

No one is lonely if abandoning this world:

For the song of light, stronger than silence,

emitting from the Father’s bosom, will bestow us

words enfolding an echo of the bell of rose,

together with the spell of love, an anthem of the sky.

 

    Modena is in Emilia-Romagna, not in Toscana. But poetic sound for TAKACHI requires Toscana where Firenze is, from where he came up, to look for the original marble relief of Mitra-Orpheus in some portal pole of Duomo or Cappella, which C. G. Jung has adopted in his Symbols of Transformation.

    After failures of searching, he finally got an information for trying an enquiry at Muzei Civici, but had to wait an hour and a half of lunch time. Sitting on a bench in a green park, he began scribbling in diary, and fell in blue day dream, with a pair of doves nestling at his feet.

    In this poem conceived during his contemplation, what is ruling as atmosphere is only the distance of silence, with the sound of bell from the Duomo. That is quite natural as it is the tone of inspiration, where the imago of the grail and its knight, Dante, taking fair handsome appearances.

    And in the last stanza, Dante is deified in a figuration of Noh-protagonist, with Tabi socks, stancing on green Hinoki stage, facing and listening to his Father’s broad voice which is “an anthem of the sky,” “the song of light.”

    Dante is the most important figurative persona to TAKACHI, as his Paradiso represents the process of the way up to the Empyrean Circles, with the candid Rose, the glory of the Lady of Heaven.

Imaginary Museum, of the Sacred and the Enlightened

 

    In the ultimate phase, TAKACHI’s thematic codes or subjective concepts are, over all, Love and the Sacred: Figuration and Gnosis of the Madonna, the Trees of Life and Knowledge, and the Enlightenment. It seems all necessary that TAKACHI has found his final culminating propositions, first in Shakespeare’s “O Wonder!” for the miracle dream in The Tempest, next in Dante’s “Love is encompassed in my Lady’s eyes” in La Vita Nuova (XXI)and “the candid Rose above splendour/the light of God so penetrates the universe ・・・ ”(XXXI) in Paradiso; and last in R. M. Rilke’s “Preise dem Engel die Welt, nicht die unsägliche” (IX)in Die Duinese Elegien, and “das Schwung der Figur” (XII) in Sonnette am Orpheus.

    We can witness the utmost of TAKACHI’s world view in “Imaginary Museum” 「想像の美術館」, in The Cosmic Mirror.

 

        Imaginary Museum

Today is an Indian summer day in Tokyo, just the beginning of

December, with no wind.

In the window is God’s egg hanging, like a shadow picture, in

   the hazy void.

In the thin cobalt sky, the fair golden yolk is almost invisible

and in yonder milky shroud, no white of opaque screen ─

as we don’t see more fatherly clouds than Do-sound on G-chord,

nor more motherly waves than La-sound on A-key.

Art is to hear the invisible in the bell, and poetry to see

   the inaudible in the air,

as things beautiful and sweet are unheard music, or unseen

   vision.

To us, there is no world but that of imaginary museum,

with the Madonna of Grace and the Tree of Knowledge.

 

An English aesthete said every painting is “palimpsest,”

or a poly-layered page with multiplex inscriptions.

Every poem is then a Tabula Rasa, a vacant writing-tablet,

   with illegible legible letters.

Today is nothing but turning of the pages of archive-book of

beauty and taste,

or nothing more than imaginary picture-frame in the cosmic

   mirror.

Poem begins to exist by evoking of the figuration of the invisible

audible, providing a symbol for the inaudible visible.

Anatomy of fancy and dream ─  

Today for you is spelling and chanting, on a vacant page,

a skein of sacred letters and figures.

You are now here, so opening your own masque and imago.

 

Child of Brunelleschi, you are a walking Tree of Knowledge,

weaving the psychic centre out of own growing rings,

that is a dicentering of the “vanishing point” of heroic cosmic

   symphony.

All rays of the eye and sensitive focuses of the heart-core are

to converge into a perspective apex, like a sweet Music of

   the Spheres,

woven around the Ank and the Pole of Life of the Egyptian Pharaoh.

All that is a scroll of your epic and novelistic is here externalized

   in real figures and stories.

As BASHÔ said every art-graph is in “the Flower as to See

   as Figure”

and “the Splendour as to Think in the Mind,” its aim is

in seeking the “real splendour” towards the “One.”

 

Today my window of high noon, in Tokyo, is an ebb-tide screen,

a blue-gray etching of silky Sumié, with the rosy sun.

It is all that is your own mirror, that can be repainted according

to a prefiguration of fancy and dream.

The picture frame, a ring-shaped universe, stands still a moment

as if abiding in eternal emanation ─

All that originates, kenonizes, recreates itself is in a primordial

   vortex of Gnosis.

Then here are you, opening the “One-world,” the real splendour

   of the Eye and the Ear, Now Here of “Nowhere”:

where the day, the sky and the sun are no other than Prussian blue

of Tchaikowsky’s horn and the pearly chords of Chopin’s piano.

 

After the anatomy of imagination, getting to the culmination, its

   zenith,

you will be another world, with flowering light and illumining

   epiphany.

You are not only a presence of reviving beauty, that emerges

from the cosmic egg,

but also a focus of infinite cosmic mirror, that envisions the primal

   rose of Lux and Logos.

 

    TAKACHI apprarently has the fancy for the figure of Egg, cosmic and divine, as the centre and origin of poetic gnosis, a spherical Music. If the world is an imaginary museum, Egg and Do-sound are sensuous figurations, to see the inaudible Eye and to hear the invisible Ear.

    In the 2nd stanza, he shows an allegorized formula of it as “Anatomy of fancy and dream,” in the Romantic concepts of Keatsian codes.

    Other sorts of his favourite codes are Brunelleschi’s “vanishing point,” and Lautze’s “One” of gnostic beginning and the mind’s apex. Even BASHÔ’s 芭蕉俳諧 Haikai poetics is, for TAKACHI, a gnostic exploration into the inner depth of recognition, through “the Flower as To See the Figure” and “the Splendour as To Think in the Mind” to seek the “real splendour” towards the eternal, enlightened “One.”

    He also harps on his favourite concept in the last 2nd stanza, the paradisal Utopian Now Here of “Nowhere,” which is an ideal imaginary museum, the real splendour of poesy.

    This is a re-enactment, as a play of allegory, of the anatomy of imagination, about how his poetry is spelled out, of “flowery light and illumining epiphany.” It is as if he declared himself the cosmic egg, of the “One,” “a focus of infinite cosmic mirror, that envisions the primal rose of Lux and Logos,” the Father of his poetic kingdom.

 

    When it comes to what is most beautiful and celestial in the real world, it is concerned with the museums in Firenze, Paris, Madrid and London. And in Japan, temples and Buddhas, in Nara and Kyoto.

    TAKACHI has, of course, visited these artistic centers in Europe, several times, to enjoy staying, seeing and hearing. Needless to say, those notable spiritual places and monuments of Japan, as well.

    “Nose of the Madonna” 「マドンナの鼻」, published in The Cosmic Mirror, was originally composed in 2006, entitled “The Eye of Tree ─ or, Hand-Mirror of the Madonna,” depending upon an experience while staying at Yale, New Haven, 1993. The present “Nose of the Madonna” is a revised shorter formation, shaped up with a reconsideration, after revisiting “Mona Lisa” at Le Louvre, Paris, 2007.

 

        Nose of the Madonna

In the Museum in New Haven, a fine picture was on exhibition,

“the Garden of Eden,” by an anonymous painter of 16th century.

A stout fig tree, in place of a usual apple tree, stands in the center of

   the Garden,

and Eve, taking Adam’s arm, is now receiving a fruit from the hand

   of the Devil.

But, O look, the Devil holding out the fruit is a little baby with

the same face as Eve’s!

Oh lovely, but how terrible! The body of the baby is a fat serpent,

entwining around the trunk of the Tree of Knowledge.

But on his face, we could witness a drift of gentle, sweet innocence.

Drawn by his charm like Cupid, I frequented to see this infant’s face,

as if set in the hand mirror of the Madonna.

 

That was between 1992 and 93 ─

I was absorbed with Madonna Mary’s transformation.

Then I encountered the portrait of Ginevra Benci of da Vinci in

   his youth.

A picture where the young Madonna with round face is emerging

out of the background like a dark forest ─ 

a rich tree-trunk of motherhood growing with green leaves.

Exactly the tree of life!

Da Vinci must have cherished the archfigure of the Garden, when he

   painted this Lady!

 

I remember seeing once, in London, D. G. Rossetti’s last masterpiece,

“Mnemosyne,” painted with Jane Morris as model.

She, now his eternal memory wearing a light-blue robe, stands out

as mother of Muses carrying the torch symbol of heart.

It is the green Madonna who recomes for leading the artist by her light,

to deify Rossetti and eternalize his fancy into an immortal art,

   triumphing over Death.

 

I sensed before long

that the Madonna Memory, “Mnemosyne,” of Rossetti is the same as

Dante’s Beatrice, Madonna of Grace, to lead the poet to Paradise.

But, now, where did the Child go, vanishing out of the picture frame,

the Baby usually painted on the Madonna’s bosom?

Has he, either Rossetti’s child or Da Vinci’s, been taken

into the painter’s persona, or changed into angel or Cupid,

returning to the same serpent’s face as Eve’s in the Garden of Eden?

 

La Gioconda, in the Louvre, Paris, also embraces no Baby.

I re-met her in early Spring.

Under the thin light of the bad weather of February

“Mona Lisa” in the other popular name assumed a dark complexion,

and the smile she returned to me was different from the usual glance.

On another look, my body shivered.

A serpent is raising his head right in the middle of her face!

What was hanging there was exactly the same big nose as Da Vinci’s own!

But, no! Is that that?

Da Vinci had never known the woman’s real body!

To cover his ignorance, he did his best to depict and project his part

of femininity as beautiful as possible, for Madonna’s self.

 

Because he had not had any actual carnal intercourse with women

his Adam could not come to know what was Eve’s eros-center.

Instead, he cast there an artistic anatomy of big serpent-head

   of penis,

the same size of sexual symbol as his own nose, and St. John’s.

Ah, what a sad protrusive revenge of the immaculate love!

And, in the end of his nympholepsy, what a small mouth and thin lips

of Mona Lisa, the spring of love, and origin of life and joy!

 

After a month, I was in New Haven.

I went to “The Garden of Eden” again, and saw the Devil baby.

There, a spell! A temptation!

It seemed all must be exorcised.

It is true that “Mona Lisa” is a figure of ideal beauty, life and light

the master painter has purchased as a substitution for Madonna Mary.

But, Madonna of Love in art can not be the same as the Madonna Virgin

   Mary.

Such a Madonna as Beatrice, that Dante praised for “fin’amor,”

was the sacral persona as the divine Madonna to save the poet’s soul.

 

But, Ah, Eve is still my true Madonna!

I know you are more the fancy of the Tree of Life, more Mary of Magdalene,

the Bride of Christ, than Mona Lisa, the dried-up spring of smile.

My real Madonna seems now to emerge out of her,

Lady of Walking Beauty, shouldering the Madonna of Grace on her back,

or Madonna of Flowering Life with both an apple of good Knowledge,

and the serpent’s desire of Evil, embodied not only with the “Eyes”

of the Tree of sweetheart, but also the “Germs” of Joys of Eros.

 

“So I am!”

“Me, too!”

In front of me, half in a dream-fancy, there appeared abruptly,

as if jumping out of a green mirror of storm wood,

two little new-born Eve’s bodies ─ 

one wearing wings of green leaves of fig,

another with fluttering wings of rose leaves.

The mirage daughters of six and eight years were staring smiles

with the same rolling cheeks as my young mother’s in a photograph,

and with the same big noses as mine when I was young and handsome.

Those two lovely faces were there, cheerfully and joyfully,

pressing forward, radiating sheer pinky aroma.

 

    This poem may sound as a paradoxical criticism, or antithetical claim against the beauty of “Mona Lisa”, that her nose is too enormous like man’s, and her mouth too small for amorous woman. Vulgarity and obscenity exposed to the emblem of artistic grace therein may discord problematically too unruly or aesthetically too sarcastic, from the point of view of artistic taste or sacral decorum.

    However, TAKACHI does not seem sticked with such quality of dispute or explicit ill-fame of this portrait as that “Mona Lisa” does not look quite a genuine woman, but a neutral artifact, or that she is not a painted Madonna, but a projective persona of Da Vinci himself.

    TAKACHI’s claim that the nose of “Mona Lisa” is too protrusive like man’s, the same as St. John’s by Da Vinci, may be heterodox and wrong, judging from the fact that “Roman noses” are such big protrusive ones, masculine or feminine, compared with squatted “Tiger-Noses” of the African, or the Asian. It might be so. But what TAKACHI dissents may really indicate otherwise, that the fact is Da Vinci did not “know” woman by real sex, so he could not figure up a true Ma Donna’s physique as married lovable woman, with Eros. The beautiful lady he could paint is only the made-up sacred Madonna, the Immaculate Mary, as mirror-image of the uncanny unidentifiable da Vinci himself.

    So then, we may conclude, this discursive story-poem reflects the poet’s fairy firm conviction that any work by art or literature can not be proved as genuinely good or great fine living artifact unless its root and flesh and fruit are life-stuff and joy, of Eros itself.

 

    On the other hand, TAKACHI seems to have got to a recognition that whether paintings, poetry or novel, those works by authors who are atheist or without divine thought or faith are not worthy to embrace in respect.

    In summer, 2008, while he stayed in London, after completing the draft of Figuration and Gnosis of Poetry ─ Shakespeare, Keats, Poe, Wilde, Whitman, G. M. Hopskins and T. S. Eliot ─ TAKACHI came up to this literary and religious ethics. T. S. Eliot put his faith in the supreme culmination “All shall be well” of Anglican Church, and could attain a devotional leap, by adopting “The Sin is Behovely” of Juliana of Norwich, to “The fire and the rose are one” of The Four Quartets. On the contrary, Ezra Pound could not, in finality, cohere his “dream” and “paradiso terrestre,” as the perfect “One” of “splendour,” because, as he sings in the last Canto CXX, his belief is only for pagan “Gods,” and his ending of his whole poetry is only in asking “forgiveness of Gods.”

    In London, 2008, TAKACHI visited museum to museum, and remet in National Gallery “The Madonna in the Cave” by the young da Vinci. Sitting on a stool an hour and a half watching her, he was caught by a flash of insight ─ that the blue atmosphere is the celestial river streaming out of Mother Mary, with an invisible light flying up to heaven! “The Inner River” 「内なる川」, in The Bell in the Tree 『樹の中の鐘』, 2009, is an issue of the discovery on that moment.

 

        The Inner River

“The Madonna in the Cave” by Da Vinci when young has

not the big prominent nose, nor the mysterious smile

of “Mona Lisa” in his senior age.

Instead, she has a large blue river flooding, like a tide.

River, flowing out of the rock cave,

river, flowing into the paradise on this terrestrial world.

She is its origin, its water gate.

 

Mother Mary in the blue robe bends herself forward

to hold the baby Jesus and John left and right.

John salutes Jesus, from whom a holy glow shines.

There, “the pole of dazzling light” Mary of Bethania saw

when she conceived the Baby, rises growing taller and taller,

from the rock-hill up to Heaven.

And from the mountains in the back, a great river

appears pouring out,

and rushes between the Holy Mother’s knees

down on to the earth.

 

It reminds me of the Amu-Darya river, in Uzbekistan

the blue long dragon I saw from above the sky,

a long creeping mirage in the ruddy twilight.

A castle of clouds, branching like a skyey Tree of Life,

a cosmic skiff floating on high, carrying the sacred house.

 

The big nose “Mona Lisa” wore on the all-smiling mask:

it had only a small red river flowing.

Behind the tender white visage of “Mother Mary in the Cave”

a greater blue river flows curving, broader and more lively.

It is the same “River of Life” as is scribed in the Testament:

“Out of His heart streams a living river.”

An outward flux of the Madonna’s grace from Heaven,

a blooming-out of flourishes of the Pole of Life,

─ the inner Great River.

 

“Mother Mary in the Cave” ─

You are an incarnation of the primal Holy Family

Da Vinci has stored and cherished in his bosom.

A revelation of the rebecoming of the Tree of Soul,

a wonder of light and water, ever returning from the end

and all the beginning.

 

Madonna Mary!

Your half-closed downcast eyes, listening to the invisible,

seeing the inaudible, now reveal to me:

too white a lily, that emerges out of the blue image

from the deep of the Golden River of Heaven

as the spring of life;

too compassionate a heart, that can even transform man

into milky woman.

You are apocalypse, embodying the tenderness

that charms even the rock to pour out the Water of Life.

 

    This is a poem of wonder, a work of marvel, of finding the “blue river” in and of Madonna Mary. It might be too manifest a discovery, matter of course, but too wonderous, too miraculous a revelation, by Reonaldo da Vinci at the age of 31.

    But is there anyone who has ever pointed out this unwritten, unsaid fact of pictorial miracle?

    Still more, TAKACHI reminds us, at least, of two allusions from the Biblical backgrounds: “The pole of dazzling light Mary of Bethania saw/when she conceived the Baby.” And the “River of Life,” as is scribed in the Testament: “Out of His heart streams a living river.”

    As a believer of the Trees of Life and Knowledge, TAKACHI finds two sorts of subjective codes as well: “Tree of Soul,” “Too white a lily,” and “flux of the Madonna’s grace,” “Golden River of Heaven,” “the spring of life” and “the Water of Life.”

    The grand codes TAKACHI has invented and denotes in this poem are “A revelation ─ the rebecoming of the Tree of Soul/a wonder of light and water, ever returning from the end (=God)” in stanza 5. And “You are apocalypse ─

embodying the tenderness/that charms even the rock to pour out Water of Life,” in the last stanza 6.

 

    “Para-Pyramid” 「逆ピラミッド」 from the same tenth book, The Bell in the Tree, is a wind-fall from heaven, sent like a square fruit of diamond.

    Why “Para-pyramid”? Because such an empyrean pyramid floating upside down, opening serene eyes from up the cosmic height, sometimes reiterates itself in front of TAKACHI. Heaven might be such a large diamond cube of radiating divine light, like the star in the night sky, a singular pretty heart of the Little Prince, of Saint-Exupéry.

    It is a poem of allegory, to relate that the star is a kingdom of Himself, a light mirage of “Para-pyramid,” which multiplies itself thousands of soul-lights through the four square windows of white rose.

 

        The Para-Pyramid

A gothic chapel, with twin towers, stood there

near a bridge at the base of a hill.

Its oak door, decked with solid metal fittings,

was always closed.

If turning the round knocker, the gate would be opened.

But no one seemed to open the heavy door, to enter.

Is that because there was not anyone who knew

angels in white robes are whirling afloat

and voices of peaceful soprano are singing

in the glowing circles of red and blue light

from the high west-window?

 

God, are you gone on a holiday

assured of having finished the re-completion and the salvation

of the world?

And, Mother Mary, do you prefer it more pleasant

to go to the museum, showing the face of the Madonna,

than to stay in the church, giving mercy?

Is it that beauty is not so difficult as truth?

But the truth is that Beauty is mother of Truth.

 

On the way back from the station,

on the left hand side of the High Street

there is a stone-built mansion with a pretentious gate.

On the pole nameplate, “Physician Surgery” is put up,

but “No Surgery Today” always hangs at the entrance.

When returning from travels, spring and summer,

I almost every time was over-exhausted in physique

and needed some physician’s care, of intravenous feeding.

But I have never paid a call to this western mansion.

 

Doctor, you must be a rich man.

And today too you have driven a Rolls-Royce

to a summer house, in Karuizawa or Fuji resort

not to take care of any bodies of others,

but for better care of your own heart’s luxury?

On the opposite bank of the world, you may see

reflected in the mirror of the river, God’s rift,

and know what kind of face is witness of absence.

 

In the bracing rush of river-flow in front of eyes

I always saw the steep beauty of a deep gorge,

not the rainbow arch of a bridge, over the “Water of Life.”

But now I think I must change the way of directing eyesight.

The house of the King of Stars ever stands on a tower,

like a pyramid upside down.

Its chamber might be, by means of the crystal optics,

approached, fairly and rightly, like the House of God ─ 

The Doctor will, in front of the hearth in large drawing room,

await his favourite’s to knock on the front door,

having a cup of wine, over parchment pages of white magic.

 

Pensée is spiritual power of God’s son, better than love.

And dream is the fastest stairs to climb up to the Height.

The Para-pyramid overhead is afloat in the forest of Jade,

opening windows of rose, in four directions below.

 

    Every poem could be likened as a celestial paradise. In it, the Romantic sublime aesthetic thesis of John Keats abides: “Beauty is truth, truth beauty.” And as it is a priviledge world, Utopia, “Nowhere,” we use to get there the psychic magic as “Artful Voyant”: “To see the inaudible, and to hear the invisible.”

    Translating this “Para-Pyramid,” TAKACHI himself got aware that herein a predilection for Dante’s “Divine Light” and the “River of Light” in Il Paradiso, and the “Music of the Spheres” of Ptolemy’s apex reflect with obvious analogies.

    The whole scene is a parable of dialectic address from the poet to God and Madonna Mary. First, the poet asks St. Mary, “Is it that beauty is not so difficult as truth?/But truth is that Beauty is mother of Truth.”

    “Doctor” is considered a projective, paradoxical, indentity of the poet himself, rather than the persona of God. Hence, Doctor’s Mansion, though ever silent and absent, reflects the Graceful Mansion of Knowledge of the poet. And the “river” is a figuration of “God’s rift,” “a deep gorge of cleft,” solitude. But even seeing this world of disinterest as “gorge,” the poet does not appear quite unhappy, for this is a romance of exhortation for himself to “change the way of directing eyesight.”

    What we notice in the last stanza is the epiphanic revelation, “white magic,” to allude the “Para-pyramid” as mirror-image of the House of God, opening “windows of rose” in four directions, as if evoking the Ladder of Jacob. The total synopsis is scribed as “Pensée is spiritual power of God son, better than love./And dream is the fastest stairs to climb up to the Height.”

    This seems to foretell, concluding that as up to now, TAKACHI’s eternal travel has been in both for the horizontal and vertical crossing for the beyond, his spiritual journey hereafter will not be very much remaining, but for the further involvement into the internal mytho-gnostic world, beyond the mystic dimensions of the Madonna, the Tree of Knowledge, Love and the Sacred, with Dante or Rilke.

 

 

        Works Cited & References

 

TAKACHI, Jun’ichiro. 『愛の神饌』 Manna of Love (Poems in Japanese/English

    bi-lingual version). Tokyo: Seiju-Sha, 1994.

________. 『愛の在処』 The Place of Love (Poems in Japanese/English bi-

    lingual version). Tokyo: Shichô-Sha, 1998.

________. 『日の歌 風の歌』 Songs of the Sun, Songs of the Wind (Poems).

    Tokyo: Shichô-Sha, 2002.

________. New Poetics of Drama and Visual Arts ─ Six Major Plays of

    Shakespeare/Three Sister-Plays of Tennessee Williams. Tokyo: Engeki-

    Shuppan Press, 2004.

________. New Horizon of Cultural Studies: World Culture in Global Age ─

    “Trees of Life” and “Madonna Figures” in Japanese Classical Poetry/De

    -Construction or Anti-Construction/Theories and Prorositions of New

    Historicism. Tokyo: Haru Publishings, 2006.

________. 『宇宙鏡』 The Cosmic Mirror (9th Book of Poems). Tokyo: Shichô-Sha, 2006.

________. Sylvia Plath: Myths of Love and Fame ─ Ariel Poems: “Echo”

    of Life and “Edgeh of Death. Shichô-Sha, 2007.

________. 『詩の形象と霊知』 Figuration and Gnosis in Poetry ─ Shakespeare,

    Keats, Poe, Whitman, Wilde, Hopkins and Eliot. Shichô-Sha, 2008.

________. Literary Theories and Ultimate Propositions ─ De Man, Bloom

    and Derrida. Tsukuba Univ. IT Library System, 2008. 8.

________. 『樹の中の鐘』 The Bell in the Tree (10th Book of Poems). Tokyo:

    Shichô-Sha, 2009.

Alighieri, Dante. La Vita Nuova. Trans & Intro by Barbara Reynolds. London:

    Penguin Books,1969.

________. La Divina Commedia. Trans by Allen Mandelbaum. London:

    Random House, 1908;1995.

Rilke, Rainer Maria. Werke in drei Bänden. Insel Verlag. Frankfurt am Main, 1955; 1966.

Pound, Ezra. The Cantos. London: Faber&Faber, 1954; 1975.

Eliot, T. S. Collected Poems. London: Faber&Faber, 1963.

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高市 順一郎

タカチ ジュンイチロウ
TAKACHI Jun’ichiro    Born in Tokushima, 1939. Former President of Japan Anglo-American Poetry Society. Recent publications are The Bell in the Tree (10th Book of Poems, Shicho-Sha, 2009), and Figuration and Gnosis in Poetry ― Shakespeare, Keats, Poe, Whitman, Wilde, Hopkins and Eliot(Shicho-Sha, 2008).