The samurai’s role in life was to follow a code of conduct called Bushido, “Way of the Warrior”, and to follow the Way of Poetry. Poetry was studied and used among the samurai as vehicle of exchange and cohesion. The literary ethos of the great warrior-gentleman, the samurai, who also mastered cultural, artistic and spiritual pursuits, has carried on through the ages.
Pebbles on the Path
The Journey begins. Somewhere, an eternity beyond the encroaching mist and tangled Winds, the unseen destination looms forever. No time for thoughts of that; the steep and rocky path juts up, then falls away to smack the faces of the frail and trembling Travelers.
Movement is arduous. Limbs too long dormant protest for the warmth and plead for comfort. The outer voice fearful and mute, the inner voice wails for reassurance. Brother drifts down one of the many pleasant meadow routes that stretch to meet the harsh boundaries of the onerous trail. We call to him. But he chooses not to hear, favoring the smoother way of colorless anonymity. Why don’t we follow? Sister falls, seized by some private assailant. But only her pride is bruised, and we persuade her back on shaky feet.Something drives us Onward.
A foothold is gained. For only an instant, just long enough to reveal our footing, a flash of sunlight cleaves the haze. Still the Way is fierce, but the body now yields less grudgingly to our authority. We press on, painstakingly directing each step in the Journey.
The grade steepens. The Way narrows and winds through dark and shadowed places. We are fewer now and move together, fixed in silence. Unintelligible whispers murmur secrets in the trees. Undistracted, we find precision; Pure Motion.
A Bridge is realized. Along the Way, timeless yet perilous, we now flow, joined in Solitude. Thoughts of self and pain are far away, beyond precision or perfection, lost in One Motion
High in the expansive distance,
Golden threads of trail
Ascend the summits
To where the Master waits
The following poem illustrates the “Path” of the martial student from beginner to the mastery of the art. Written by Bonne Cleveland, the first student to go from white belt through the ranks to Black Belt under the teaching of Hanshi Reynolds. This poem was written as a gift to Reynolds from Cleveland.
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