- Vol. 06
- Chapter 02
[Conversation Stopped and We All Looked Up]
Hirsute and portly, as much bear
as man, a wine-bladder full to bursting
yet unsplit, ears pricked like a stallion’s,
(and, in fact, he later boasts, stallion-
pricked!) boot soles groaning like bridges,
the floor divoting like an earthen track
packed by the passing of massy materiel,
nose and chin hairs rattling like wind-
battered thatch, the warrior clatters
into the ryokan.
Spindly poets, we nearly tumble
from our chairs at his vital force then press
back upright on ink-stained fingers.
One wag among us whispers Bashō:
The summer grasses—
Of brave soldiers' dreams
Another fills a shell-thin sake cup
and offers it up. It sits between thumb
and forefinger tiny as a lady’s thimble.
We toast and toast again. For a moment,
we feel close as brothers.