As I Crossed a Drift of Snow

In a house with friends during the blizzard, gathered around a few musical acts.

Candlelit bodies
Acoustic harmonies
are all we need to keep warm

We began this week by talking about Japanese lyricism. The idea of universal lyrical competency (we are all inspired by the same kami, after all) (Lecture 2/4) is winsome due to the fact that writing poetry often feels exclusive, which discourages someone like myself, an engineer, from being lyrical. Slightly less inclusive is the concept of the samurai, a class of men with aristocratic roots and pretensions who controlled Japan from 1185-1868. (Lecture 2/4) Their competitive and destructive natures do not seem like a good combination. The battle for power and property seems like a contradiction with the Buddhist notion of material aversion, as does the ornamental nature of their armor and weapons. Why build up fortresses when they will just burn down in battle? Why try to control a province when you will inevitably lose it? In the context of their battles: the river of blood never stops, but the blood is always changing. (Bastardization of Chomei 31) Edit: As the commenter pointed out, perhaps the samurai are simply filling their expected form. “I would never have suffered such a dreadful experience if I had not been born into a military house. How cruel I was to kill him.” (Tale of Heike 317) I was lucky to be born into a family with a very undefined form to fill.

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One Response to As I Crossed a Drift of Snow

  1. Hi Marshall -

    I think Professor Inouye would argue that the samurai fight with extravagance because they intrinsically find their meaning of life in the predetermined form – but this is but the theory, and in practice people might have their particular thoughts in mind. Also, how did you paint that red hue in your image? It looks pretty cool!

    - George

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