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La Piccioletta Barca - Issue 17

Lady Samurai: Tale of the Heike


Japan,The Geipei War, 1180-1185 BC


Tomo-e Gozen, Lady Samurai, Captain of Lord Kiso’s army
Lord Kiso, also known as General Yoshinaka, head of the Minamoto clan
Bushi Women: 7 women representing the Bushido Virtues: Honour, Loyalty, Benevolence, Honesty, Politeness, Courage, Rectitude

Chorus of Bushi women:
Honour: Meiyo
Loyalty: Chuuji
Bushido virtue
A crystal pure stream of honour
unsullied by fear

Obey your Lord
His crescent moon leads to war
prowess in battle

Onna Bugeisha-
lady samurai- survive
or die in battle

Lady Tomo-e Gozen:
Hand me no glory
Turn chrysanthemum’s bloom towards
My Lord Kiso’s light

Knot my homestead hair
blacken my chalk skin to ash
cloak me in war’s veil

Kikko tatmi dou-
beloved chest plate- protect
my faint beating heart

That I may battle
with rod blade naginata,
strong bow and great sword

Fearless, I will ride
front first into battle drawn
thirsty weapon reaps

Chorus of Bushi women:
Benevolence: Jin
Honesty: Makoto
Bushido virtue
mercy is a swift death
covet your lord’s life

The enemy close
shear the mane from the lion
seven souls survive

Onna Bugeisha-
lady samurai- survive
or die in battle

Lady Tomo-e Gozen:
First light radiance
twinkles in night’s seeded dew
The scarlet day wakes

On horse back, on foot
The cry of the hawk declares
Tomo-e Gozen

The fallen descend
honoured at Dragon Palace
living eternal

I ride with Lord Kiso
Forsaken moon betrays us
I remain steadfast

No silky retreat
Nor drops of salt to moisten
The cheeks of vengeance

Lord Kiso:
Mistress warrior
with kaiken sword dull and flat
Leave and live in peace

This last battle cry
I must make or take my life
Your bound services severed

A milk brother born
Kanehira rides with me
over muddy ground

Six hundred men fell
at Yokotagawara
hark my noble feats

Heed my orders girl
I die, no woman at my side
By my blade I die

Lady Tomo-e Gozen:
From your bed to war
Seven mounted heads parade
my valour is true

From steepest hillside
no craggy descent stops me
winds whistle my name

Let no enemy
claim such a worthy shogun
Bid us to fight more

I will not depart
my trusted and caring lord
Let my kaiken bleed

Flakes of winter white
cannot hide moist bloody moss
Soldiers stand and fall

Chorus of Bushi women:
Politeness: Rei
Courage: Yu
Bushido virtue
Your lord gives praise and values
all greatness achieved

One last act to show
Your duty, loyalty is true
One last enemy

Onna Bugeisha-
lady samurai- survive
or die in battle

Lady Tomo-e Gozen:
Goddess, Mother Earth
Grant me a worthy foe to kill
One last noble fight

Yes, the wind answers
thirty henchmen ride this way
The leader I taunt

With sword drawn, I charge
At Onda No Hachiro
his head will be mine.

I am no lily
With blade drawn, I slice and scalp
last trophy of war

Commanded, I withdraw
shooting arrows as I ride
through sanguine forest

Chorus of Bushi women:
Rectitude: Gi
Bushido virtue
Little white egret flower
Beauty, strength, courage

Vanquisher of foes
backbone of all bushido
mortal legend lives

Onna Bugeisha-
lady samurai you are
Tomo-e Gozen


After Lord Kiso’s Death, Lady Samurai Enters the Sea Paralca – Claire Lawrence


Claire Lawrence is a storyteller and visual artist living in British Columbia, Canada. She has been published in Canada, the United States, United Kingdom and India. Her work has been performed on BBC radio. Claire’s stories have appeared in numerous publications including: Geist, Litro, Ravensperch, Brilliant Flash Fiction. She has a number of prize winning stories, and was nominated for the 2016 Pushcart Prize. Claire’s artwork has appeared in Black Lion Journal, Esthetic Apostle, Haunted and Fractured Nuance. Her goal is to write and publish in all genres, and not inhale too many fumes from alcohol ink.

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