A few December roses, still, Roses, real roses, with little fragrance, All petals, heavy, satiny petals. It was important not to stop talking. For The poem was still the poem, for You couldn't do anything else With your body.
The chrysanthemums were yellow or white until the frost.
Godō's death poem (1801)
Note on a note:
"Ladies moistened a bit of chrysanthemum-patterned brocade with dew from chrysanthemum flowers, rubbed their cheeks with it to smooth the wrinkles of age (since chrysanthemum dew conferred immortal youth), and composed poems lamenting the sorrows of growing old", says Royall Tyler in his notes on The Tale of Genji (which he translated into English). (i am still searching for a chrysanthemum-patterned brocade to photograph it for the Bridge, against snow and delicate fingers, like faded petals themselves)
the first death has always been there, from the beginning, carried within, unknown, as another self.
about the second death, maybe the third one as well, there isn't really much to tell. imagine: one day, almost unawares, you walk past a flower, not very different from others on the same meadow, you brush one petal, you go away. it is only later that you realize that this short moment, perhaps only a few seconds in a butterfly's time, contains the essence of your life, of everything you have longed for. you go back, in vain, you keep searching for something to fill the shape of this death. you are ready to admit it, or you refuse to. it doesn't matter much, in the end. (there are some who argue: the more such deaths gather within, the richer one's life. hence a scarred meadow would still be preferable, though whoever is to bring clarity in such matters? and most importantly, why aim at clarity after all?)
the fourth death is the one which is really unavoidable. it may seem paradoxical, perhaps it is indeed so. in the end, it doesn't matter much, either. it happens when, instead of the silence which should drape, in gray and self-effacing grace, the loss of each wing, the poem is spoken, pinning the butterfly to itself, forever.
right now, i am the executioner. (is my picture a lesser crime?)
crossing this blue bridge of dreams, my heart still untamed, my hair still the bloodied reeds which used to chain down time. stopping. such stillness, suddenly in this body heavy with countless autumns. leaping. rings in the water neither reveal nor hide anything. for a while, until the world gets busy again, as it never fails to do. in this body of mine as well, though i ask: whose body, now?