This delectable affair with poetry burns softly; its languorous embers raising their dream-singed eyebrows only when the aroma of gourmet verse wanders into its temperamental tandoor, filling the air with nameless spices, a dash of faraway flowers, tempered with stardust.
Shinoburedo/ Iro ni ide ni keri/ Waga koi wa/ Mono ya omou to/ Hito no tou made/
Though I would hide it,
In my face it still appears —
My fond, secret love.
And now he questions me:
“Is something bothering you?”
(from Clay MacCauley’s translation of the anthology Hyakunin Isshu -40)
Before the savoury hour in which James Kavanaugh whispered in the soundless aisle of a Borders book store, before the scrumptious moment when Robert Bridges waved from a street stall on Notting Hill, before Tagore and Khayyam stretched out their hands from dad’s bookshelf, fingers dripping fresh yellow ghee; those lines of a 10th century waka by Taira no Kanemori, sated the hunger of silent adolescent angst, stoking the eternal flame of unrequited poetic romance.
signed on the fly leaf
of a book in the flea market
“with love forever”