Today's poem is by Tamura Ryuichi (translated by Christopher Drake)

The Man with a Green Face

It was a beautiful morning
shoulder to shoulder
we watched the squadron sail out of sight
to the very end we believed
that a huge silence commanded
the sea of freedom and necessity
and that only illusions were real

Of course the squadron never returned
to any port      to and homeland
of course reality was an illusion shoulder to shoulder
we scanned every mile of horizon
but necessity and freedom
were always within history—
only the man with a green face
tries to break out of history—
we let go of each other's shoulders
the beautiful morning shatters
between our dangling arms

We need more cunning to hunger harder
more imagination to end our dreaming
we have to leave "we" behind
you won't find the man with a green face
in a group or a crowd
and if you say that only evil exists
then history will whisper back:
all great things are evil

Copyright © 2011 Christopher Drake All rights reserved
from Tamura Ryuichi: On the Life & Work of a 20th Century Master
Pleiades Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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