My Spirit is Dancing

 

Snow is covering up everything and falling more and more. On the fallen snow the wind blows sharply, so cold that it almost breaks the skin. But my mind is burning. The snow storm rages so terribly that it whips the world into a gray mist. But my mind is shining.

Once, I would cry over the novels of Turgenev, I would be taken out of myself by the novels of DeMaupassant. Submerged in the darkness of the world, I cried, reciting the Nembutsu in a sorrowful voice. But now I have thrown away that Nembutsu. The mind that was seeking the light is broken. I myself shine out, in the darkness of the abyss. My mind bums and shines only with my being.

I ask no agreement from the majority, no cooperation from society. Regardless of what they call me--dangerous thinker or outcast--my mind is too hot and too shining: They cannot cool it off with abuse.

In the cemetery now, the spring wind has come. Look there: On the cold tombstone the green moss is in flower. A bushwarbler is singing, the song almost bursting his throat. Even that old woman with deep wrinkles on her face is humming a song quietly to herself. Listen to the young-love song sung by the old wrinkled woman—-look, and feel it.

New grasses are pushing up from under the fallen leaves. Let's listen to the true voice, coming from a great distance, whispering so close to the ear, and from very deep down, telling us so loudly: "Let us live, all of us. Let us burn up, all of us. Let us shine, all of us.

"Look at it all! That sun, those stars, the ocean and the mountains and rivers and ponds, the grasses and trees and people, the animals, and birds insects, tea kettles, the blankets, ink, the pens! Everything is shedding tears, whatever we see, under the heaven and on all the earth. And each teardrop burns--doesn't it?--and shines.

"Nothing is hard enough to resist these molten tears. No power is stronger than these tears, none can overcome them. Look around you! Molten tears shining reverently--can't you see them?"

I listen to that deep voice. I look at those shining tears. No wonder I cannot help dancing. No wonder I can't help feeling power. My muscles will spring to action at a touch.

In front of the Tsuruga-oka-Hachiman shrine, the lady Shizuka danced, singing, "O Shizu! O Shizu! I want to change this terrible time back to the old days when my husband was with me and happy with me."

"Shizu, Shizu, Shizu!" she repeated, "I want to change my whole life—but there is no way to change the present for the old days."

She says this in the presence of her enemy, MinamotoYoritorno, her husband's own brother but the head of an army that is pursuing him. She's not afraid of Minamoto. But look at the shining tears that drop; feel the power that overflows her voice. All those who look at her and hear her, melt into this and become silent. No power, no sword can conquer this.

Shizuka Gozen, dance! This dance is so serious that no opportunist, no flirt could dance it. 0 my Shizuka Gozen, my soul goes back seven hundred years and is dancing with you. Your dance lives seven hundred years later, and you are dancing my dance with me. Those who understand nature through books, those who solve life by thinking—-how can they comprehend my dance and yours? How glad I am to dance such a powerful dance! I am so joyful that I touch the edge of tears.

When I was young I saw the play called Shusse Kagekiyo. The hero Kagekyo is lover of the dancer Akoya. The hero's enemy Hatakeyama Shizetada, in pursuit of him, captures the beautiful dancer Akoya and makes her reveal, by means of a song sung to the music of the samisen, the hiding place of her lover. And the samisen music begins...

That play, that tragedy, I have never forgotten to this day. The tears shining in Akoya's eyes, the samisen plucked by her fingers, the tone of her voice: in these you find the manifestation of indescribable sorrow and unlimited authority. How is it a fickle and wanton women can have such sorrow, tears so full of authority? How can she have such song and music? Who can refrain from crying, feeling sorrow? My hands of their own accord came together in reverence, so deep my feeling, seeing this play.

Let my life harmonize with Akoya's samisen music and her singing. Longed-for Akoya! Your tears absorb my soul. May the strength of your sorrow become all of my self.

O Shizu! O Akoya! Your souls burn with love, knowing you cannot have it, yet hoping and shining. Tears burst out from this, song overflows from this, dance springs up from this.

Without having this single-minded spirit, this indomitable spirit, where are the shining tears? Without this spirit, where can we hear the burning voice? Without this, where can we see the dance that shakes the earth?

Spring comes—-spring is here. The flowers are unfolding and birds sing. My soul is dancing out into the whole universe, which has become as small as a little room.

 

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