Paul Rossiter

Some Cultural Uncertainties (1995)

Mr and Mrs Takashi live next door
they speak no English I speak no Japanese
we meet on the path
and laugh and wave our hands about
and bow profusely at every juncture

although of course


a gaffe that in some other country might produce
a blood feud lasting generations
in Japan will just possibly lead to

a barely perceptible
of the

one hair
on the head
of the universe
out of place

and the whole damn thing will never work again



Paul Rossiter was born in Cornwall, UK, in 1947, and has lived in Japan since 1981. He teaches at the University of Tokyo. He is the author of two books of poems, In Daylight (Tokyo: Printed Matter Press, 1995), in which ‘Some Cultural Uncertainties’ was first published, and Monumenta Nipponica (Tokyo: Saru Press, 1995).






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