Published on Academy of American Poets (

Station 40, Chiriu: the Poet Ariwara no Narihira at Eight Bridges

What is sky but water, more water,
crossed by eight bridges?
Is the ancient poet in a rush to reach land?

No, he’s already one of the Six Immortals.
How long before the papery iris-petals
he admires wrinkle? They barely grow beards.

In a thousand years, pilgrims will come.
They will stand where he stood. Where, they will ask,
are the flowers that empurpled his poem?


Copyright @ 2014 by Debora Greger. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on June 30, 2014.

About this Poem

“The poem is a section from a sequence inspired by the Pairs Series of Tokaido Road prints. The sequence was commissioned by the Harn Museum of Art in Gainesville, Florida to accompany an exhibition in 2014.”

—Debora Greger


Debora Greger

Born in 1949, Debora Greger is a poet and visual artist, who currently teaches at the University of Florida.

Date Published: 2014-06-30

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