Oriori no Uta : Poems for All Seasons

What’s this

―Old skin? Dust?

A close look tells all

―boneless freaks.

Ikkyū Sōjun

From Edo Kanshi shū. Ikkyū, that great priest of the Muromachi period, also wrote wonderful Chinese poetry, both serious and “wild”, that is, satirical. Those are the first two lines ofa four-line “wild” poem from “Tales of Ikkyū’s Travels.” It is titled “On Fleas,” and the last two lines go: “They’ve grown fat on human flesh/but this priest can do them in with a single pinch.” ( hito wo kuraite jūbun ni koetari to iedomo / sōsō no hitohineri ni mo shōgai wo bossen)Was the flea a means to protest the immoral power and vain glory he saw around him?

垢なりや塵なりやAka nari ya Chiri nari ya是れ何物なりやKore nani mono nari ya元来見来ればGanrai mi kitareba更に無骨なりSara ni bukotsu nari

一休宗純(いっきゅうそうじゅん)

『江戸漢詩集』所収。室町時代の傑僧一休は、また卓越した漢詩・狂詩の作者だった。これは『一休諸国物語』の中の狂詩で、「蚤に題す」とある七言絶句の起・承二句。おいこれは垢か、塵か、一体何だ。見れば骨もない不細工なやつめ。この二句に続く転・結二句は「人を喰らひて十分に肥えたりといへども、痩僧の一ひねりにも生涯を没せん」。ノミに寄せて、世の中の不徳義漢どもの空しい権勢富貴を一喝したか。