To some the bright stars
Of a cold winter night sky
Are an immense weight
x —but others
In their dreams
Depth Charge: The impetus for this Exploded Tanka* is a line from Akutagawa Ryunosuke’s Hell Screen, as translated by Jay Rubin: “He wore what seemed to be his usual reddish-brown robe and tall soft black hat, and he looked especially small and shabby, as though the star-filled sky were a weight pressing down upon him.”
*The standard 5-7-5-7-7, 31-syllable scan is maintained, but the lines have been pulled apart for ease of alternate readings, such as reading it in columns according to indentation: To some the bright stars/Of a cold winter night sky/Are an immense weight/Of darkness/In their dreams/—void/—forever/—but others/—float. The original lines are easily enough re-constructed: To some the bright stars/Of a cold winter night sky/Are an immense weight/Of darkness—void—but others/In their dreams—float—forever.
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