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


At this silver pavilion
a shogun
once put away his robes of state,
and while embers fell with snow
on the elegant little ways
of old Kyoto,
he whittled his country
into this breath taking
and gaudy masterpiece.
How many millions became shavings
for Yoshimasa’s
detached and graceful poems
from a floating world?