Over the bedspread
His pipe is well-used, and he fills it again.
You’re wearing a mantle over your gown
Because he likes to enter the reserve,
Searching here and there for its waterfall.
You have done up your sleek black hair
With a fine comb and ivory pins,
Done it up with particular care
In contrast to the wilderness below.
Taking another puff of his blow,
He thinks of it all in a dopey dream,
Imagining what he’s about to do,
And comes too soon, annoyingly for you.
That curls the toes.
She has been attending his creative writing class.
He has invited her to his summer-house,
He says it’s where he does his best work.
It overlooks an undulating stream.
She has put on her loveliest kimono:
The one with the chrysanthemums:
Pink and yellow pompons floating on a grey
Watery silk with raindrops maybe
Or discarded petals. Goes so well with the hot
Pink of her sash. It’s crimson underneath,
Which he discovers – when he lets her read
His latest verse while dipping in her pot.
Behind a screen
There’s no point in fussing with her hair,
Left on her own all summer,
Belly getting heavier and heavier,
Her black-necked crane sent off somewhere
Remote. His fault for lines that discomfited
An emperor. She keeps the lantern lit,
And now he’s sent her this totally
Horny book, with an intimate note in it.
He’ll be back with the cranes this winter,
If he can wheedle his way back into favour.
Now she dribbles cum all over her loose
Maternity smock. She knows he likes her flavour.
Fuck the exam!
I turned up to show you my prep, not my pussy,
And don’t see why you should need to inspect
It here in your bedroom, not in your study.
Anyway, as far as you’re concerned,
There’s nothing to see. The sight
Of what you’ve got leaves me sealed up,
As good as intact. Get that discoloured instrument
Away from me. It makes my toes uncurl.
You should treat a nice girl with respect.
I don’t give a shit about your intellect.
Wrap your arm around my thigh
And you’ll see red – I mean to scratch your eye.
Feeling him again.
The cherry scent of Spring offset the nip
That was still in the air. My maids had spent such ages
On my coiffeur, and he was home at last from his business trip.
A coat well-travelled and well-stuffed wallet.
I’d had the towels laid out for his bath,
But my plan had been to feed him first
His favourite noodles. Carefully prepared,
Dressed in my opulent best, I came in with the tray.
I knelt and set it down, and he
Had an appetite, yes. His hunger like a tree.
He had been a fair good while away.
The noodles? Not exactly his priority.
On a floating carpet
Delicate hands, delightfully slim, such a darling hen.
She should be on stage, so able is she
To typify the perfect courtesan.
This is why I begged her to come over.
We could study the classics together, the key roles:
Suicidal lover, nemesis of the conqueror,
But how should a game cock tread her – since she proves
As eager for the ride but actually
As cocky as myself? No need to worry,
Love will always find a way to enter,
Turn the tables on what’s said in Persia,
After a summer of girls, one boy through the winter.
Shunga, literally “spring pictures”, is an erotic artistic tradition that emerged from early modern Japan, featuring graphic images of sexual activity. Produced by the thousands during the Edo period (1600-1868), shunga offered sexuality a shameless visual platform, where sexual pleasure, female sexuality, and homosexuality were not only acknowledged but encouraged.
(Artsy, Sept 24, 2013)