The Gates of the Academy

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Jigokumon (The Gates of Hell) — a play by Kan Kikuchi

A gateway
Sliced neatly into two:
The left for incoming motor traffic,
The right for the outward flow.
Lifting an iron bamboo, with a mechanical hand,
A barrier-guard stands like a punkah man
Uniformed in black.

At the best, like a manned gateway
To a medieval town, blue coloured guards,
Black coloured guards; and some in brown.
At the worst, the point of entry
To the national academy.

On the edge, an obscure arch
Perpendicular to the gateway show
The entrance to the pedestrian, on foot,
Sideways to scrape and shove.
Three blackguards stand on watch, in all idleness.

And as William, now long dead,
Of the Garden had to say,
This, indeed, is the garden of love
Where, freed, one has to play,
Manned, as it was, by a punkah man.

And the bamboo falls, the bamboo rises,
Vehicles pass both in and out.
Ledgers kept, numbers taken, IDs flashed
So as not to leave a doubt.
And, inside, I teach Blake; The Garden of Love.

Medieval Town Gate with Rotten Doors

2013-01-03

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