“Emperor” by Ryuichi Tamura
There are eyes in the stone, the eyes
closed in grief and fatigue.
The man in black passes my door –
You, the Emperor of Winter,
my lonely Emperor, walking to your own
grave in Europe
your white forehead shadowed by
your back to the sun.
Your self-punishment is so painful,
Flowers! You stretch out your hands to
But universal winter has set in
after the era of reason and progress.
European beauties are nothing but
Who will kiss your hands
whose fated palms are dark and dry and
Flowers! Those scars are flowers.
My Emulation: The Emperor of Glass
Your silhouette lingers in our gaze,
the noble Emperor who seemed so far out of our grasp
is now only a fingertip away from being grazed upon.
You turn away with a furrowed brow from the radiant sun,
your grief and fatigue weigh
on the shoulders of your hunched back,
the tense rippling of flesh
scorching underneath the heat of criticism-
a loss of dignity.
As you feebly raise your head up high,
eyes to the heavens,
you wonder why
the Gods had chosen you;
the soft-spoken and still Emperor.
locked within the confines
of the richness of your history,
the pressure of the peasants beneath you
Do not hide in cowardice,
for if you wish to redeem
the battered earth of dried blood
to the once beautiful
yellow chrysanthemum fields
of the imperial seal.
as a compelling ruler,
and save us-
from our own self-destruction.
Yellow chrysanthemums (left) as represented by the Imperial Seal of Japan (right).