"I'll admit to yawning"

Literature When I saw this title at the Smithsonian website I'll admit to yawning: "The Timeless Wisdom of Kenko" Well, I thought, makes a change from Starbucks I suppose. But Kenko, it transpires was a 14th-century Japanese essayist who wrote:
"Essays in Idleness (Tsurezuregusa)—an eccentric, sedate and gemlike assemblage of his thoughts on life, death, weather, manners, aesthetics, nature, drinking, conversational bores, sex, house design, the beauties of understatement and imperfection."
Some of the essays are very short:
“You should never put the new antlers of a deer to your nose and smell them. They have little insects that crawl into the nose and devour the brain."
Some are timelessly wise:
“Nothing leads a man astray so easily as sexual desire. The holy man of Kume lost his magic powers after noticing the whiteness of the legs of a girl who was washing clothes. This is quite understandable, considering that the glowing plumpness of her arms, legs and flesh owed nothing to artifice.”
Astonishing given its date and inspiring for the same reason.

No comments:

Post a comment