Monday Melting Poetry Prompt

Samurai’s Pleasure

sigh of ginger
from the sleeve
she holds
to pour sake

Kitagawa Utamaro, "Flowers of Edo: Young ...

too long gaze
in the warmth
of a swirling cup

in her dance
small crescent moon
steps scrape tatami
bared only a moment
her ankle

conversation of crops
an awkward silence
her bowed head
a pale, slender neck

her koi fan
a subtle hood
too quick
to shadow
her teasing smile

her shamisen’s
too worn pegs
acorn tipped
gently twisted
by slender white fingers

English: Niigata geisha dancing

her little sisters
dance love’s battle
too far away
she plucks
new strings

with crane’s grace
she returns
one lock of hair
drapes her neck
the others willing to join it

only when she sits
her nightingale kimono
soft singing around her
does the tingle
of her absence fade

Geisha Girl

Geisha Girl (Photo credit: sweis78)

eight flaws
all he can find
in an entire night
of her company

Written in response to Shawna’s Serving Girls at Monday Melting (Week 8), because she’s so dang cute when she’s persistent.

And for dVerse OLN, hosted by the incomparable brian of waystationone.


Thank you, Maria at Christian Fantasy for Women.

About T A Smith

Just one of the literacy scholars on this site who wants to explore writing in all its complexities.
This entry was posted in Free Verse, Interesting Blogs, Poetry, Prompts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

70 Responses to Monday Melting Poetry Prompt

  1. Thomas Davis says:

    An absolutely wonderfully done poem. Beautiful.

  2. swanrose says:

    This inspires as it is well written.

  3. Shawna says:

    Are you going to write a fairy tale poem today?

    • Yousei Hime says:

      I think you brought me my first smile of the day. I’ve been thinking about which one to write. The short answer is that I want to. I’m going to try, but … we’ll see.

      • Shawna says:

        I made up an original. 🙂 If you’re not inspired, don’t worry about it. I’ll post a word list this evening. Maybe you’ll find something stimulating there.

  4. vivinfrance says:

    Mystical, evocative, epitome of the culture of Japan and haiku. Your poem mesmerised me. Thank you.

  5. Eva Von Pelt says:

    So lovely! I commented on Shawna’s that I have a bit of facination with Geisha, myself : ) Such lovely words and thank you for sharing!

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Eva Von Pelt,
      How can you not be somewhat enamored with them? In so many ways they are the embodiment of femininity, at least the Japanese view. Thanks for reading and sharing with me.

  6. hedgewitch says:

    You have a lot of conversations going on–so rather than try to jump into any of them, I’ll just say your poem gave a me a perfect and complete mental picture of an evening spent in a geisha’s company–from both points of view–delicate and strong images. Very well done and I greatly enjoyed it.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      I’m so glad you stopped by and had a read. I appreciate your comment (there is a lot going on here for once). I read at your place and have often had the same feeling (soooo many comments). I’ll try to brave the crowd next time and leave rabbit worthy comment. I’m very glad you enjoyed the poem, especially that it was successful in creating a strong visual aspect to the story. I look forward to visiting with you again.

  7. Only 8? Perfection is boring. This was really lovely.

  8. ladynyo says:

    Ah! so lovely and delicate, and true.

    A poignant poem that just sings!

    Lady Nyo

  9. yoga-adan says:

    from the very first line “sigh of ginger” such beautifully executed imagery & pacing –

    and, for me, what nicely put wry ending set of comment lines at the end – i’d like to see how many “flaws” these guys might chalk up 😉

    thanks yousei 😉

  10. Brendan says:

    Very delicate and purposeful dance here, Yousei — all the exquisitely articulated motions of the geisha ceremony are poured here, like a tea that has seeped well in tradition. Our passions are certainly a road that takes us to wondrous capitals along the way, worlds within worlds. I look forward to reading along on your journey. My niece, by the way, became greatly enamored of Japanese culture reading manga, has been over for a semester in one college, will return for a year through another. My fantasy engagements with old Ireland and old digs everywhere never prompted a need to literalize the visit by actually going anywhere — so much of what’s out there can be found in here, in the imagining heart. Great poem, really loved it. – Brendan

    • Yousei Hime says:

      If there is a clear silhouette of that world, then I’m pleased. I’m envious of your niece. Years younger and unstrung with obligations, I would pursue the same path. I wish her well in her studies.

      I did try to study in Britain, loving the literature so, but the scholarship committee I applied to wasn’t convinced of the need for literary study (focus was on future benefits–like engineering and science, not personal gain–oh well). I’d still love to visit the isles…all of them–Brittany, Wales, Ireland, England, Scotland, Outer Isles…all. Growing up with King Arthur legends, Romantic poets, and The Quiet Man…how could I not. Maybe someday, or maybe we’ll journey in our imaginations right on into eternity. We’ll see. 😉 Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and time to read.

    • Shawna says:

      “My fantasy engagements with old Ireland and old digs everywhere never prompted a need to literalize the visit by actually going anywhere — so much of what’s out there can be found in here, in the imagining heart.” … I love this.

      • Yousei Hime says:

        If you haven’t already, you should go straight to the source and dive in. Brendan’s writing is rich and wonderful. Dare you.

        • You know, you’re right…that Shawna is pretty “dang cute”….even if her writings should make me think about sleeping with one eye open!

          • Yousei Hime says:

            New View From Here,
            I have to say, I’m really glad you are both writing. It gives one a new depth and complexity to the connection and something vaster than “we” to discuss. I recommend talking about other people’s writing more than your own though (unless you’re both completely comfortable with it). Keep that eye open. 😉

  11. claudia says:

    eight flaws
    all he can find
    in an entire night
    of her company….that’s not much…and glad he liked them…smiles

  12. love Shawna’s posts! this is soooo good! great use of the words! lovely imagery!

  13. Fergiemoto says:

    Beautiful variety of imagery here! I love “sigh of ginger whispers from the sleeve”

    • Yousei Hime says:

      🙂 That was the first image I came up with. I kept thinking how clingy the scent of sushi ginger can be, well grated ginger for that matter. That led to the idea of brushing it with those long kimono sleeves. This was a joy to write, and I’m happy to share it with you.

  14. The little details of her I can imagine her sitting right here, Yousei, or in a movie on a big screen. From start to finish, a stunner!

  15. Wonderful and graceful motion from one image to the next. The ending caught me by surprise, and I like the tone of it: the fact that he was looking for flaws, and the only ones he could find are still things of beauty.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      I’m delighted you saw it this way. Should I add numbers before the stanzas? What do you think? ( 一, 二, 三, 四 … etc.) I thought about it, but can’t decide if it adds anything or would distract. His reluctant admiration . . . I’ve watched too many anime, I’m sure. 😉 I’m so glad I could share it with you.

  16. slpmartin says:

    The poem flows as graceful as a geisha dance…lovely poem.

  17. Eve Redwater says:

    This really is beautiful! It evokes the teasing and sensual nature of a Geisha and the secretive world they live in. 🙂

  18. Shawna says:

    This is as beautiful as a geisha dance. Thank you! These are my favorite descriptions/visuals:
    “sigh of ginger”
    “reflected in the warmth of a swirling cup”
    “steps scrape tatami”
    “her little sisters dance love’s battle too far away she plucks new strings”
    “returns one lock of hair”
    “does the tingle of her absence fade”

    The ending, of course, is the very best part to me. Your work is always so touching, Yousei.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      I had hoped it would be a mirror response to your own. Did I get it? Framing the poem with the title and ending, both the only mentions of the narrator, the piece should be from the samurai’s point of view. Did the irony of “flaws” come across to you? I really love this one, and it’s all your fault. Isn’t that cool? 😉

      • Shawna says:

        You do not get “it” at all. LOL. But that’s okay. There could certainly be different interpretations in my poem. But my primary intent was to hint at the fact that he’s chopping up girls and serving them from his grill. 🙂 Perhaps frustrated by their withholding of complete service.
        In your beautiful and sensual poem, it seems like her “flaws” are seen when she shows skin, enticement, interest … leading to his pleasure. I love the notion that part of the geisha’s craft is conversation. That is a skill indeed. Loved the flaw in her conversation turning to the topic of crops. Hilarious.

        This poem is gently spicy, like ginger. I’m so glad you love it too!

        • Yousei Hime says:

          Believe it or not, I thought about that Sweeney Todd possibility. Too yucky for me, but you’re right, the clues are there. I like the implied threat but definitely didn’t see that. In mine, each stanza represents a different flaw, with the final being ironic view (rather like the tsundere character, one who acts gruff but is really a softy). Conversation was definitely part of the skills–like many other cultures actually. British Regency era women, aristocrats anyway, were prized for this. Enjoying this immensely.

          • Shawna says:

            I think you are right though in that he is drawn into her dance, her exposure, her skill. But she isn’t the kind of geisha who serves completely. So he gets angry. This poem is actually the precursor to mine, I think. … I hadn’t imagined all this while writing, but after the fact, this was the picture my mind began to create.

            I did note that each stanza was a different flaw. This was mighty creative. You’re so much fun. 🙂

  19. Maria Tatham says:

    Yes, you did follow the prompt, including the items — gracefully and well. The last line is very fine, Yousei!

    • Yousei Hime says:

      Maria Tatham,
      The last line is my favorite part. I wrote it early on and it spoke to the structure and content of almost everything else. Love it when that happens. Thank you for sharing it with me.

  20. brian miller says:

    wow some beauty in your words….the cranes grace stanza in particular…and the turn in the last stanza was hard…i rather like flaws…

  21. Raven says:

    Yousie, have you lived in Japan? You seem so intoned to the culture when you write … and this is again a beautiful portrait.

    • Yousei Hime says:

      No, I haven’t. Though I’ve considered it in the recent years. I just read too much manga, watch too many anime, and adore Japanese culture in general not to have absorbed something. I’m not averse to researching for images in my poetry either. So glad you liked it.

      • Shawna says:

        Anime. LOL.

        • Yousei Hime says:

          One of my not so secret vices. It is not a perfect view of Japanese culture but it is definitely a fun window to look through.

          • Shawna says:

            Which are your favorites? We have Netflix with quite a few anime selections. There was a time when I considered checking out a few. I’d be willing to give it a chance if you’d make suggestions.

            • Yousei Hime says:

              After some research (we have Netflix too) I would recommend these with the understanding that most of these are series, meaning they have multiple (and sometimes way too many) episodes:

              Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (It is a scifi dramatic comedy–I’ve read most of the manga, and seen all of the original version. This one should be even better.)

              Chobits (Another scifi but more romance with drama and comedy. This is a classic.)

              Samurai 7 (If you’ve seen Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, this is the same basic story in a scifi setting with a twist or two.)

              Appleseed (This one is a movie and excellent. Scifi/drama/romance)

              Last Exile (Another scifi series. This is one of my all-time favorites. Lots of good stuff all mixed together and beautiful art.)

              Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo (Now I haven’t actually finished this one, but it is a series based on the classic novel. I think it was modernized. I don’t remember how good it was, but I’ve always loved the original so…)

              The Place Promised In Our Early Days (Movie–Beautiful scifi/drama. This might be a good one to start with. This director is well-known and well respected.)

              The Sky Crawlers (By another famous director, this one is good but a bit odd. It is a time-twist scifi. Great concept and good story, just has a typical unsatisfying ending–Japanese anime tends to be that way, be warned.)

              I’m sure that will more than do. If you could find Cowboy Bebop (another scifi series) I would say start with that one. It’s got it all–great stories, art, characters, music. My top choice for movie, at the moment would be anything by Miyazaki or Samurai X if you can find it. Probably have to mail order these, I don’t think they are available to watch “online.”

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