by Nick Horton
A sheet of ice spread out upon the waves, Binding together the dark clashing rocks; Wet poison words upon the deep-delved sea, Moonlight lodging till the great death of night.
- Moonlight lodging… in ancient Japan, the moon was said to take up lodging in dew drops, rivers, and other wet surfaces by way of reflection.
- The first line is adapted from an old anonymous Japanese poem. This was the primary inspiration.
- dark clashing rocks… from Medea, by Euripides.
- poison words…great death… from Hakuin’s description of enlightenment coming after the mind-breaking meditation upon koans. See his essay “Licking up Hsi-keng’s Fox Slobber”.
- deep-delved… from Keats, in his version it is “deep-delved earth”.