Along the Way

      by Judy Halebsky


                世に降るも更にそうぎの宿りかな
                In this world, our life passes, temporary shelter
                                                                        —Bashō

To make his life bigger than the corners of a desk
bigger than 18 scoops of ice cream
a four-lane highway, a 747
he wants to get married

        Christmas cake: to get old quickly
        evening wedding: in the nick of time

a poet friend advises Bashō to live within his means

        spinning maid, sitting maid, window watcher

first the house, then plates and chairs
butter knives, serving spoons

        our life, in this world, passing/falling, a temporary shelter

(the verb for getting old also means falling, the way rain falls)

        a bride in the last flourish of her youth: evening wedding
        a girl, good until her twenty-fifth: Christmas cake

        
pass over: to be left behind
        pass over: to escape

our life falling the way rain falls

this world, a brief shelter

a newspaper hat in the rain


From Space/Gap/Interval/Distance, San Francisco: Sixteen Rivers Press, 2012, pages 18–19. The Bashō poem has also been translated by Toshiharu Oseko as To live in this world / Is temporary, as Sōgi says / Of the rain shelter, because the poem is an allusive variation of a poem by Sōgi (宗祇, or そうぎ in hiragana).