Written for:  Carpe Diem #1744 Pilgrimage to the Great Shrine of Ise (Japan): “There is nothing to see; and they won’t let you see it.”


Grand Shrine of Ise (Shinto-religion)

“The gateway’s doors stand open, but a white curtain, hanging from the lintel in their stead, hides all view beyond.

In front of the curtain lies a mat sprinkled with pennies. Before it each pilgrim pauses, lays aside his staff, takes off his travel robes, and tossing his mite to lie there beside its fellows, claps his hands, and bows his head in prayer. Then, his adoration done, he slowly turns, takes up again his robe and staff, and goes the way he came. For this is the goal to his long pilgrimage.

That curtain marks his bourne. Beyond the veil none but the Mikado and the special priests may ever go. Yet every now and then a gracious breeze gently wafts the curtain a little to one side, and for an instant gives the faithful glimpse of a pebbly court, a second gateway, and, screened by pale within pale of palisades, more plain wooden buildings with strangely raftered roofs, reputed counterparts of the primeval dwellings of the race. And this is all that man may ever see of the great Shrines of Ise, chief Mecca of the Shintō faith.”

cherry blossoms bloom
fragile beauty goes with the gods
walking Uji bridge

© Chèvrefeuille (our host)

Here is my attempt:

white curtain drawn
open only to special priests
front of Shrines of Ise


About purplepeninportland

I am a freelance poet, born and bred in Brooklyn, New York. I live with my husband, John, and two charming rescue dogs–Marion Miller and Murphy. We spent eight lovely years in Portland, OR, but are now back in New York. My goal is to create and share poetry with others who write, or simply enjoy reading poetry. I hope to touch a nerve in you, and feel your sparks as well.
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