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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 8, Number 1, March 2014


Ingrid Kunschke
Minden, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany


this revealed
and that concealed
of a lifetime's
worth of memories,
what fate shall I embark on?

The truth is, she never wrote about her journey to Sarashina. No, she never went to Sarashina in Shinano, except, maybe, in her dreams. Or should I say: in mine? Shinano, that province of her late husband's last appointment—oh, she must have been concerned about his destination. But if her dreams did take her there, she did not wish to record them, like she would pass over much else as well. And as for her mind, so keen to wander the world of fiction and tie it to her own lot, it was not set on brooding over his whereabouts in her memoir, what with the plot so nicely pieced together to make sense of her life.

Instead: tales and prayers, dreams and delusion. And always the moon. Her childhood moon on Kuroto Beach, the moon at Ryōsenji that autumn night, the pale morning moon of winter glistening on her sleeves, the moon of remembrance when she stayed at the palace, the moon but dimly seen in spring at night, the bright moon at Ishiyama, the moon that morning when she had slept in the fields, the westbound moon, her messenger, when awaking from a dream, that last moon shining in her heart. The moon, her companion in life as in poetry. Not one poem for the father of her children—or should I say: not one included?

But then she directs our gaze to Sarashina and has us go where she did not, has us dwell where there is nothing left for her to dwell on, except, maybe, his memory. On that mountain in Shinano, dark and desolate, she has us find her in the tell-tale light of a moonless night.



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