Friday, March 18, 2011
"THIS IS THE UNSTABLE WORLD & WE IN IT UNSTABLE"
On the twentyseventh May eleven hundred
and seventyseven, eight p.m., fire broke out
at the corner of Tomi and Higuchi streets.
In a night
palace, ministries, university, parliament
were destroyed. As the wind veered
flames spread out in the shape of an open fan.
Tongues torn by gusts stretched and leapt.
In the sky clouds of cinders lit red with the blaze.
Some choked, some burned, some barely escaped.
Sixteen great officials lost houses and
very many poor. A third of the city burned;
several thousands died; and of beasts,
Men are fools to invest in real estate.
Basil Bunting from Chomei at Toyama first published in Poetry, September 1933