POEMS: “Shinto” by Jorge Luis Borges

When misfortune confounds us
in an instant we are saved
by the humblest actions
of memory or attention:
the taste of fruit, the taste of water,
that face returned to us in dream,
the first jasmine flowers of November,
the infinite yearning of the compass,
a book we thought forever lost,
the pulsing of a hexameter,
the little key that opens a house,
the smell of sandalwood or library,
the ancient name of a street,
the colourations of a map,
an unforeseen etymology,
the smoothness of a filed fingernail,
the date that we were searching for,
counting the twelve dark bell-strokes,
a sudden physical pain.

Eight million the deities of Shinto
who travel the earth, secretly.
Those modest divinities touch us,
touch us, and pass on by.

—Jorge Luis Borges

Shinto, meaning ‘way of the gods,’ is the oldest religion or way of life in Japan(c. 300 BCE – 300 CE). The faith has neither a founder or prophets and there is no major text which outlines its principal beliefs. The peoples of ancient Japan had long held animistic beliefs, worshiped divine ancestors and communicated with the spirit world via shamans.

For example, certain natural phenomena and geographical features were given an attribution of divinity. Most obvious among these are the sun goddess Amaterasu and the wind god Susanoo. Rivers and mountains were especially important, none more so than Mt. Fuji, whose name derives from the Ainu name ‘Fuchi,’ the god of the volcano.

Key Concepts in Shinto

  • Purity – both physical cleanliness and the avoidance of disruption, and spiritual purity.
  • Physical well-being.
  • Harmony (wa) exists in all things and must be maintained against imbalance.
  • Procreation and fertility.
  • Family and ancestral solidarity.
  • Subordination of the individual to the group.
  • Reverence of nature.
  • All things have the potential for both good and bad.
  • The soul (tama) of the dead can influence the living before it joins with the collective kami of its ancestors.

Reference: https://www.ancient.eu/Shinto/

4 Comments Add yours

  1. I have heard this ancient religion and the Japanese people practice it as a way of life. Such a beautiful and wonderful poem, Amira.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much dear Kamal, so glad to hear you enjoyed it! 🙂 ❤


      1. Welcome Amira ♥️♥️♥️

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on scribeforlove.wordpress.com and commented:
    Whatever spiritual persuasion one may adhere to, it’s the same Spirit that guides and teaches us wisdom. A very nice poem to share with everyone, Thank you Amira.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s