Ono no Komachi

In this world

the living grow fewer,

the dead increase–

how much longer must I 

carry this body of grief?

Ono no Komachi (J Hirshfield & M AratanI, The Ink Dark Moon)

photostudy 2
Nikon D750   f/5.6  1/400s  300mm  200 ISO

in the shadow…homelessness

This abandoned house

shining

in the mountain village–

how many nights

has the autumn moon spent here?

~Ono no Komachi (J Hirshfield & M Aratani, The Ink Dark Moon)

streethomelessness
Lumix GX85   f/5.6   1/400 s   32 mm   200 ISO

Just a few words about today’s homelessness from the AP:

A homeless crisis of unprecedented proportions is rocking the West Coast, and its victims are being left behind by the very things that mark the region’s success: soaring housing costs, rock-bottom vacancy rates and a roaring economy that waits for no one. All along the coast, elected officials are scrambling for solutions.

“I’ve got economically zero unemployment in my city, and I’ve got thousands of homeless people that actually are working and just can’t afford housing,” said Seattle City Councilman Mike O’Brien.

cited:  Amid booming economy, homelessness soars on US west coast, Gillian Flaccus & Geoff Mulvihill, Associated Press, Nov. 9, 2017

Homeless advocates and city officials say it’s outrageous that in the shadow of a booming tech economy – where young millionaires dine on $15 wood-grilled avocado and think nothing of paying $1,000 for an iPhone X – thousands of families can’t afford a home. Many of the homeless work regular jobs, in some cases serving the very people whose sky-high net worth is the reason housing has become unaffordable for so many.

cited: ‘We still need to eat’: Tech boom creates working homeless, Janie Har, Associated Press, November 8, 2017.

And in the shadow of homelessness, tax havens for the wealthy:

The fundamental lesson of the Panama and Paradise Papers is twofold. First, the people everywhere, regardless of whether they live in Russia or America, are being oppressed by the same minuscule social circle of wealthy elites who unduly control our governments, corporations, universities and culture.

We now know without a doubt – thanks to the incontrovertible evidence provided by the Panama and Paradise Papers – that there is a global plutocracy who employ the same handful of companies to hide their money and share more in common with each other than with the citizens of their countries. This sets the stage for a global social movement.

Second, and most importantly, these leaks indicate that our earth has bifurcated into two separate and unequal worlds: one inhabited by 200,000 ultra high-net-worth individuals and the other by the 7 billion left behind.

cited: Why aren’t the streets full of protest about the Paradise Papers?, Micah White, The Guardian, November 10, 2017.

and…continued denial of basic human needs over political and corporate greed

… over the past few weeks, several Republicans have indicated that the tax bill would boost the wealth of the already rich and ensure that their political donations keep flowing to help the GOP hold power in 2018.

“My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again,’” Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), himself a millionaire,

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters on Thursday that a failure to pass tax reform would fracture the Republican Party and lead to more far-right wing primary challengers. “The financial contributions will stop,” he added.

cited: Republicans Admit that CEOs and Donors Really Need the Tax Cut Bill To Pass, Paul Blumenthal, HuffPost, November 9, 2017

How much money does one person really need?

In closing

Little is known about Ono no Komachi’s life, “and the stories about her are drawn from a blending of historic fact and suppositions drawn from her writings.  In The Dark Moon, Hirshfield and Aratani noted that historians believe she was the daughter of the lord of Dewa and served the court in the middle of the ninth century.  Legends, folktales, and songs paint her as the outstanding woman poet of her time and the most beautiful and desirable of woman.  Legend also tells us that towards the end of her life, she lived “in anonymity, isolation, and poverty, an ancient, half-mad hag living outside the city walls, though still writing poetry and possessing a deep understanding of Buddhist teachings.

Can we look at each other and recognize ourselves in each other?

This youtube video is drawn upon Thich Nhat Hanh’s poem Please Call Me By My True Names.