Spring 2005: I've been working on this poem for a while and it means a lot to me.
Miyamoto Musashi (1583-1645) was the greatest badass ever to live. The son of a poor country samurai, Musashi resolved early in his youth to become the finest swordsman in all Japan. He was more than successful in this endeavor. Throughout Musashi's sixty-two years of life, he fought over sixty duels, winning all but one (in a rematch fight, Musō Gonnosuke, master of the jō staff, fought Musashi to a draw) and besting such illustrious opponents as Sasaki Kojirō "Ganryū," progenitor of the Swallow Style; Shishidō Baiken, expert in the kusari-gama chain-sickle; and all 60-100 members of the Yoshioka sword school at the same time. Although he is most renowned for his advances in the daishō style (fencing with a long and short samurai sword simultaneously), Musashi's favorite weapon was the wooden sword. Despite a reputation for never bathing (he didn't want to be ambushed in the bath) and wearing rough clothing, Musashi traveled in the most refined circles of Japanese society, where he shared his genius as a painter, calligrapher, sculptor, potter, gardener, and metallurgist; in these disciplines as well as in his martial pursuits, he claimed never to have had any formal teacher. Today his Niten Ichi-ryū sword style is still practiced, and his paintings of natural and Buddhist subjects delight art students as much as his Go rin no sho (Book of Five Rings) pleases martial arts enthusiasts. He is the subject of Yoshikawa Eiji's bestselling historical novel Miyamoto Musashi, which has been adapted into a film trilogy starring Mifune Toshirō and a comic series, Inoue Takehiko's Vagabond.
It was documented that Musashi was a poet … but mysteriously, none of his poetry has survived. Here is what I think about that.