The way I must enter
leads through darkness to darkness.
O’ moon above the mountain’s rim,
please shine a little further
on my path.
…”through darkness to darkness” refers to a passage from the Lotus Sutra: ‘The long night further curses our fate: we pass into darkness from darkness.’ Michi, ‘way’ is the word commonly chosen for a literal path, but it has the dual meaning of Buddhist practice, the Way; mountain,…can be a symbol for death…The mountain, the path, the moon all work to present image entirely true to the physical world…the poem becomes a deeply moving call: as she moves from the darkness and confusion of human life and suffering towards the darkness of the unknowable future, Shikibu asks for the clarifying moon of enlightenment to remain with her for a few moments longer before disappearing. (page 208)*
The Ink Dark Moon
trans: Jane Hirshfield