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About this Poem 

“The poem is a section from a sequence inspired by the Pairs Series of Tokaido Road prints. The sequence was commissioned by the Harn Museum of Art in Gainesville, Florida to accompany an exhibition in 2014.”

—Debora Greger

Station 40, Chiriu: the Poet Ariwara no Narihira at Eight Bridges

Debora Greger, 1949

What is sky but water, more water,
crossed by eight bridges?
Is the ancient poet in a rush to reach land?

No, he’s already one of the Six Immortals.
How long before the papery iris-petals
he admires wrinkle? They barely grow beards.

In a thousand years, pilgrims will come.
They will stand where he stood. Where, they will ask,
are the flowers that empurpled his poem?

Copyright @ 2014 by Debora Greger. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on June 30, 2014.

Copyright @ 2014 by Debora Greger. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on June 30, 2014.

Debora Greger

Debora Greger

Born in 1949, Debora Greger is a poet and visual artist, who currently teaches at the University of Florida.

by this poet

poem

                     for Greg Greger

I

Where were the neighbors? Out of town?
In my pajamas, I sat at my father's feet
in front of their squat, myopic television, 
the first in our neighborhood.

On a screen the size of a salad plate,
toy airplanes droned over quilted fields.
Bouquets of
poem
	
                     in memory of Margaret Greger, 1923-2009


I.  Death Takes a Holiday

Battleships melted down into clouds:
first the empire died, then the shipbuilding,

but cloud formations of gun-metal gray
ruled over the sea that was England in June. 

A scarecrow treaded water instead of