Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sestina for a Samurai

Learn well the secrets of honor - Know well Bushido
Which calls you to follow unto death your Daimyo
Embody that honor in your Wakizashi
And your soul keep in your Katana
Earn well and honest your Koku
And you should never fear need of Seppeku

Too many of your brothers have fallen to Seppeku
But so it is for those who keep Bushido
Would you rather they fall to banditry for their Koku?
They choose honor in death over life without a Daimyo
To their sons go their Katana
And alone they remain with their Wakizashi

Sleep with your Wakizashi
An enemy at the gates; Seppeku
You've not time to draw your Katana
Would you be captured and still call to Bushido?
Your death will glorify your Daimyo
Your legend will be worth a hundred hundred Koku

When you've earned many Koku
Will you keep only your Wakizashi?
Become, yourself, a Daimyo
Old age itself a form of Seppeku?
You cannot retire from Bushido
Even if you give up the Katana

Keep sharp your Katana
A well-kept blade is worth more than all the Koku
It means you keep Bushido
So mind also your Wakizashi
Let it be clean if you need to call on it for Seppeku
A sharp blade well-serves any Daimyo

Would you rather be a farmer or a Daimyo?
Give up the Katana
And have no fear of Seppeku?
Scrape and beg for a single Koku?
Never to die on the edge of a Wakizashi
Oh, to live free of Bushido!

Keep well the tenets of Bushido, and serve well your Daimyo
Honor and cherish your Wakizashi; Polish and sharpen your Katana
You'll find yourself with many Koku, and need never contemplate Seppeku

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Yo! Be honest, folks.