Monday, November 7, 2011

November 7: Misty Moon

Thanks to the time change, when I left work this afternoon, dusk was already falling. The waxing moon was rising over Mount Battie, slightly blurred by a frosty mist. Misty moon. I was reminded of a key scene in my favorite book, the 11th century Japanese classic The Tale of Genji (which I've referred to in several other posts-it's a poetic touchstone for me). Made restless by the beauty of the misty moon, the book's hero, Genji, sneaks around the women's wing of the royal palace looking for romance. He chances upon a mystery woman whom he overhears admiring the moon and ends up spending the night with her. That's how things happened in that time and culture.

The mystery woman is thereafter referred to as Oborozukiyo, Night of the Misty Moon. Turns out she's a princess, the crown prince's wife-to-be, and the sister of Genji's greatest political enemy. This combination of poetry and forbidden love of course makes her all the more irresistible to Genji, whose continued pursuit of her sets in motion the series of political events that eventually lead to his exile. It's one of the many romantic vignettes exquisitely captured in the book, and I've always been especially drawn to it--perhaps because I too can remember being similarly moved by the poetic beauty of the misty moon, way back in my reckless youth.

Misty moon rising:
romantic memories blur
under Genji's moon.

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