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we reconstruct the man
from shards of paper and pottery
(a shrike in ink
a small wooden bodhisattva
a practical treatise on swordplay)

he said his only teacher was Nature
which is a fine thing to say
when you're good at everything

they say he slew Ganryū
with a length of oar
he'd whittled on impulse into a sword

so much for the soul of the samurai:
not metal, flashing and hard
priceless and irreplaceable

only a discarded wooden spar
emerging from refuse
to refuse returning

and perhaps his poems were the same
nourished by earth and water
whispering an answer to wind
burbling off towards the long sea

and this is how history left him
and this is how I might find him:

an old man on a mountain
preparing future warriors for poetry
writing his way back
into the world that wrote him

when he emerges from his grotto to converse with the single scarred wholeness of the moon, I steal towards his poems and brush the pages across my hands, like reaching for a damselfly at rest, to see how his brush struck a river through the page. My guard thus lowered, I do not see him enter; and this old man, who holds life and death in either callused hand—this man asks me with a child's eagerness which ones I like best, and whether I would like to take any of them home with me; and I smile, relieved, as if a falling hawk had not struck my eyes, but instead alighted on my glove; and I say, no need, I will remember them.

and in these days you may notice me grinning at nothing, or pausing on the morning after a storm to admire a branch that has split our path; I may spend time contemplating a mushroom, or a flickering bat; perhaps I'll take a breath, secretly watching your eyes sing across space like the compass moon; yes, perhaps you'll notice

and you may stare and ask me what I am doing

and I will answer

"I am reading Miyamoto Musashi's poetry."
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.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2008-11-05
Musashi Miyamoto's Poetry by ~lula-vampiro is an ambitious attempt to describe a man's life and work, and quite successful. I enjoyed this very much. ( Suggested by LadyOichi and Featured by lovetodeviate )
:iconx-o-the-revolution:
"Miyamoto Musashi (1583-1645) was the greatest badass ever to live."

True that. Great poem :)
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:icon1-itachi-uchiha-1:
1-Itachi-Uchiha-1 Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2010
This poetry would rival Miyamoto-sama's poetry, it would bring a tear to his eye
Reply
:icontiger-the-inkweaver:
Tiger-the-Inkweaver Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2010
Hell yeah he is the greatest badass to ever live.
Reply
:iconsilva-zodiac:
Silva-Zodiac Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2010
As a writer myself, I can say that this is brilliant.

Even if the punctuation differs from my own preferred formatting... it is a good piece you have going here.

Like the others, I especially liked the last line of the poem. "Wrote back" was just a very good turn of phrase.

Favourited, to say the least.
Reply
:icongavind21:
gavind21 Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2009  Student Artist
A very touching piece and a considerate homage. Something you should clarify however. His father, Munisai, and his grandfather Hirata Shogen, were vassals for Shinmen Iga no Kami, a wealthy Lord of the province. Since they taught swordplay, they were considerably well off and respected, to the point where they were awarded the Shinmen last name. Musashi left several statues and paintings he hada done. I'm curious as to whether you meant to change your style halfway through as he did with "Tiger at Dawn" or if it was a mere coincidence. Keep up the good work.
Reply
:iconariasli:
AriasLi Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Stumbles over the fact you got a DD. !!! O_O Hooray!!!

*reads*

O______O I can see why. Nice. Real nice.
Reply
:icona1be1nox:
A1be1nox Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Musashi would be proud...now if you could only convince him to bathe.
Reply
:iconronin06:
ronin06 Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2009
I really don't know how to critique that, not being good at writing poetry even though I do appreciate it. It has even more meaning to me that you did take a long time to do it - as something that involves Musashi who sought to master whatever he put his mind and abilities to, that you put your time and talent to it - its a definite success.

I agree with animegirlmika - that last line was incredibly.

Its without flaw.
Reply
:iconandyserrano:
AndySerrano Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2008  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
My favorite delicate lines were at the end:

....and in these days you may notice me grinning at nothing, or pausing on the morning after a storm to admire a branch that has split our path; I may spend time contemplating a mushroom, or a flickering bat; perhaps I'll take a breath, secretly watching your eyes sing across space like the compass moon; yes, perhaps you'll notice

and you may stare and ask me what I am doing

and I will answer

"I am reading Musashi Miyamoto's poetry."
Reply
:iconneuroticlust:
NeuroticLust Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
Very nice.
Reply
:iconsexliteratureishot:
sexliteratureishot Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008   Writer
amazing.
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:iconagnespterry:
AgnesPterry Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008
Wow, that was just awesome, but that falls short of describing this poem precisely, so let me just say that it took my breath away when I read the note at the bottom and realized what was going on. Fantabulous! Great imagery in there and everything just works together like a wooden puzzle box, all the pieces fitting just so to create something absolutely beautiful and unique.

Also, the author's note really added a lot to my understanding of the poem, since I knew who Miyamoto was but not why the poem was (on second reading) so very carefully structured-- until I had understood the meaning of Miyamoto's vanished poetry and watching nature and that sense and appreciation of perfection in the little things.
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:iconlwoodnj:
lwoodnj Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008
An instant part of the rest of my life: thank you.
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:iconblanzeflor:
Blanzeflor Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008
SIMPLY AMAZING!
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:iconrmdr:
rmdr Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
:worship::worship::worship: nuff said
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:iconlineriku:
Lineriku Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008
words cannot express the meaningfulness and beauty of your words......such inspiration from a man who was remembered for his battles, you obviously admire him for another reason....and i agree.......if your words are this magnificent, i cant imagine the library he wrote in nature......i wouldnt mind going back in time to listen to his poetry......an experience im sure you desire, too
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:icondominaeexitium:
dominaeexitium Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008
This was beautiful. Thank you for sharing. =)
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:iconartisticmaster:
artisticmaster Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I can't find anything to critique - I loved the entire piece thoroughly. Well done, and congrats on the DD. :)
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:iconcaricature-x:
caricature-x Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008
this is stunning :D I aspire to use language so artfully...this must have taken a long time to fine tune.
Reply
:iconsephiroth617:
Sephiroth617 Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008  Student Filmographer
Amazing (even if its been said before)
Never before have I read such a perfect masterpiece having to do with Musashi
I did not know that he was a poet, but I have seen his art (which he did under the name Niten) and read Go Rin No Sho
Truly, a worthy subject for such an excellent poem
Reply
:iconianseraph:
IanSeraph Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008  Student General Artist
This is incredible. I like your use of description.
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:iconrocko-shocko:
ROCKO-SHOCKO Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008
Breath-taking!
I cannot find a bad word to say about this wonderful piece.
Reply
:iconannamaetezuka:
AnnamaeTezuka Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
This is well written, intriguing, and an excellent reflection on the Japanese spirit. I love it. :)
Reply
:iconbrutallyamish:
BrutallyAmish Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008
This is very well written. I loved nearly every line.
Reply
:iconreanimated4now:
Reanimated4now Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008  Professional General Artist
that was amazing and wonderful, I really loved it
Reply
:iconlescheveux:
LesCheveux Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008
I like the sudden switch from a linebroken music to a prosaic narrative. It seems that you've brought the best from both sides of the table to this piece. Great job. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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:iconkeraness:
Keraness Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008
an old man on a mountain
preparing future warriors for poetry
writing his way back
into the world that wrote him


:faint:
Reply
:iconsnow-machine:
Snow-Machine Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008
I find this beautiful in every way, highly deserving of a DD, and like a lot of poetry I see, I can tell you worked a lot on this and didn't just throw it together and leave it be.
Reply
:iconxxcuixx:
XxCUIxX Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008
Not bad, I was slightly thrown off halfway because I wasn't sure whether this was a poem or a small biography. It's well written though.
Reply
:icondarkstormx1:
DarkStormX1 Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008
Truly a warrior and great artist, this piece dedicated to Him exemplifies the life and times of a truly great man. Thank you so much for sharing this and your words and thoughts on such a man... :)
Reply
:icondelpigeon:
delPigeon Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008
What an amazing poem. It was actually quite fascinating. I've always found the interconnection of the arts really interesting-- I think it was Browning who wrote about what it might be like if Dante did a painting, or Michaelangelo wrote a poem, and actually I'd like to think that it'd be very much like this. That people have a creativity and a beauty to what they do, and that this is in everything, not just special talents. Like it's something slightly more transcedent than a simple flair for something. I don't know x3 I just love the idea, and I think you wrote it beautifully x]

Although I am curious -- what is a bodhisattva?
Reply
:iconweswolf27:
Weswolf27 Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008   Writer
It's absolutely beautiful, I like how you described Musashi there, it's wonderful, nice job :)
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:iconwinterhill:
winterhill Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008
terribly wonderful
i'm not very good at the whole critique and comment thing. i like it or i don't.
i love this piece. fantastic.
Reply
:iconnecrofeelyouryack:
Necrofeelyouryack Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008
That's absolutely beautiful. :) I wish I had something more insightful to say, but I think that's all I've got.
Reply
:iconanimegirlmika:
AnimeGirlMika Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008  Professional General Artist
My god...the last line actually gave me a satisfying wave of goosebumps! This poem is genius! You have marked advanced critique, but there is nothing, in my limited knowledge of writing, I could possibly advise you to improve. Excellent, excellent work!
Reply
:iconpinkontoast:
PINKONTOAST Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2008
This is amazng. Can't give critique.
Reply
:iconladyoichi:
LadyOichi Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2008
This is honestly... A moving masterpiece. Reading it, it made me realize I am too... Shelter/spoiled to true inspiration that comes not only from images or music, but from within myself and within nature.
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