Paul Archer - photo Paul Archer - poet, translator




Is there a world beyond
this cascade-cleaved
red-mapled gorge
with steam-clouded
hot spring pools?

Macaques bathe here.
But today it's just us:
investment analyst,
fund manager
and stockbroker,

far from the hurly-
burly of markets,
now weightless,
boiling slowly
in the cauldron,

crowns of white
towels on our heads.
It's best to lie low,
to be no-one: just
a maple leaf, or a stone.

Later in the ryokan,
in new-born skin
and cotton kimonos,
drinking ice-cold kirin,
we banter and laugh,

while the off-duty chef,
with true zen-like calm,
quietly studies
Tooshi Radar charts
of Japanese share prices.

Onsen: a Japanese hot spring resort. They often have outside rock pools (rotenburo) where you can bathe while viewing the scenery - even Japanese monkeys come to relax in these hot spring baths.
Ryokan: a country inn.
Kirin: a Japanese beer.
Tooshi Radar: A book of Japanese share price charts, published each week and used by professional investors as well as amateurs- even chefs in hot spring resorts far from Tokyo! The poem was written at the time of Japan's 'bubble economy', a period of strong economic growth and soaring share prices.
The poem is dedicated to Iain Little and David Fuller.


Monkeys onsen

Waterfalls and maple leaves

© Paul Archer - All Rights Reserved