Yoemon and Kasane



The sickle: Can be used to kill a carp in the basin of a waterfall.

The water: How to make it flow onstage? A big bolt of silk,
++++We’d spill across the cutting table?

The mirror: “Sitting before her makeup mirror,
++++She is transformed into a monster.”

The ominously red full moon, fireflies flickering over the fields.

The folding mirror: In which a skull’s eye sockets gleam,
++++And you can pour blood over it.

The sickle: You can cut yourself accidentally.

Willow branches framing the night sky.

The water: If there were more of it, a river to drown in.

The useful sickle: Can behead or just maim
++++Women or an inconvenient man.
++++Also to harvest beans.

The mirror: When she dies her face
++++Miraculously recovers its original beauty.
++++Not that the mirror shows it . . .

The footbridge: There’s one to watch from if you have no role;
++++But if you’re down center, you claw the wood to get across.

They can never be happy together.

The stream: Flows right toward us, raveling ripples.

Her husband hauls her by the hair. She’s blue in the face.

There are many forces which could crush the mirror.

The first is your own eyebrows. They squeeze it between them.


Note: The kabuki scene, enacted and evolved on the stage over several centuries, is portrayed in an 1853 Japanese woodblock print by Toyokuni III / Kunisada (1786 – 1864).

Sandra McPherson