in the pines

my ration
of moonlight


I originally drafted the ku several weeks ago with a kind of maudlin first line. Revising it to accompany a photo I took yesterday, I thought of the old folk song covered by everyone from Leadbelly to Bill Monroe to Nirvana. I’m hoping it’s widely known enough that at least some readers would understand it as a reference to sleeping outdoors, much like the stock phrase (makurakotoba) “grass for a pillow” in classical Japanese poetry.

My girl, my girl, don’t lie to me
Tell me where did you sleep last night

In the pines, in the pines
Where the sun don’t ever shine
I would shiver the whole night through …

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