Abe no Nakamaro’s moon

Charlotte Chalkley

old Mount Mikasa
under the unchanging glow
waited, too – in vain

nightly rose the cry:
two shipwrecks and a war away
lies my native land

but the rabbit, hunched,
pounding eternal rice cakes
lends no ears to sorrow

and so the poet
immortalised by his longing
lays his brush to rest.