Scene I

Just off Shinjukuchuokoen North,
nestled in the courtyard
of the Green Tower, hides
Jyoufuji Temple, serene
in the first light of morning,
the sun dancing off the ceremonial
bell its striker poised, as if
waiting to catch the wind
and to it sing its resonant song.
Inside, the prayer mats await
the first supplicants of the day
below the sandalwood alter
and above it all, behind
the gossamer curtain, sitting lotus
Buddha smiles at the oneness.

Scene IV

In the small yard
of the matchbox house
the lone Ginkgo,
twisted by time,
feels the barrenness
of winter’s tongue
and mourns
its solitude.

Scene X

The ancient trees are twisted
and gnarled, clinging
to the small band of soil.
They lean as if to hear
some whispered word,
held in place by the braces
fashioned carefully,
their trunks wrapped in bark
tied neatly with twice,
to sooth against the chafe
of the brace, of the
unrelenting wind.