Last year my partner and I went for a whirlwind trip to Tokyo, and while we were there we visited more temples than I can remember, each one more beautiful and inspiring than the last. At one of the temples we had the opportunity to purchase, for a nominal donation, a randomly-selected poem that was meant to act as a sort of fortune.
To quote the poem envelope:
Omikujij (Poem Drawing)
This poem was composed, in the traditional 31-syllable form, by either the Emperor Meiji or the Empress Shoken. It is hoped that the poem’s message will have particular meaning for you.
The Emperor Meiji was especially fond of composing poems in the traditional waka (31 syllable) form, and left a collection of 100,000 of them to his people. The Empress Shoken joined the Emperor in this art, and is said to have composed 30,000 herself. Many of these Imperial poems, such as the present one, express explicit or implicit ethical admonitions in the Shinto tradition.
Now, on to the poem I randomly selected!
How lovely! But what does it mean??
The mirror is a simile for the human heart which, reflecting as it does all man’s emotions and appetites, should be as clear and as honestly responsive as the mirror itself.
And there you have it – my Omikuji from the Empress Shoken.
May your hearts ever be spotlessly clear!
Happy Poetry Friday, everyone!