Ashikaga Yoshimitsu

Face like the ancient poets,

who you had absorbed

deep into your own fibre,

and knew Li Po by heart.

But those eyes,

sadder than any romantic’s,

I wonder if, in the end,

your golden pavilion

brought you the

beauty you craved?


(Statue in Tojiin temple, Kyoto)


Copyright Ricky Barrow 2014


Walking the long lane to Kinkakuji,

under the maple trees

just turning to Autumn, and you,

sometimes latched to me,

sometimes far off ahead

looking for your Japan.

Under the golden pavilion

we cracked jokes at all the people,

the babble of tongues,

the automatic hands raising cameras,

the click of smiles.

But perhaps we were too harsh

looking down at that crowd’s

unreflecting joy in this bustle of life

brought together under the gaudy relic.

For I saw you in a moment

gazing at it, eyes and lips open,

receiving, childlike wonder,

and the way you were beautiful

in its dazzling mirror.


Copyright Ricky Barrow 2014