WINTER TOKYO

A skeletal tree stands
too many winters
bones grown brittle, crackling
ashen gun-metal gray,
Tokyo Bay at evening’s onset
a bird perches, staring
at a last leaf clinging
knowing frozen earth awaits.
It is winter, sap pools
in roots seeking
earth’s dying warmth.
We warm our hands
by the fire, as bones
of other trees fall
to the grate in ashes.

IN ABSENCE

The dawn failed to appear this morning.
There was a slight lightening of the sky,
more a change of grayscale shade
that a shift in time-honored by the sun.
The crows seemed to notice, why else
would they stay silent, so unlike
most days when the first rays of sun
were the call to take up the cacophony chorus.
Even the squirrels noticed, and hid in the trees,
knowing this was not a normal day,
but soon emerged when the siren’s call
of nuts outweighed their fear.
We trod on into the park, picking
our way through the piled snow,
cursing winters cruel approach, our path
lit by our fading memory of summer.

TOCK

He notes with alacrity
that modern man has stripped
all logic from time, rendering it
an arbitrary temporal system
based on mechanics, and even that
is quadrennially imperfect.
Once it was seasons, which came
and went in orderly fashion,
but heating was never a science then.
Later it was the moon
a reusable calendar and what
was an odd month here or there
if the crops were in the ground.
Now it is sweeping hands
that carry off the dust
which is all that remains
of our once logic.

OR NOT

He screwed up his face into the scowl
that fairly shouted to all, “Don’t Ask!”.

She knew better but knew also that she
had no choice, “What’s the matter now?”

“It’s just,” he said, softening a bit, “that
I so seldom get the weather I need,
much less the weather I want, it’s never
the sort I ask, no matter how nicely I put it.”

She threw caution to the wind, smiled
and said, “It isn’t, of course, that the weather
isn’t what you ask, it most certainly
almost always is. It is simply that the weather
is perfect and you always show up
in precisely the wrong place to enjoy it.”

EDGE OF WINTER (FOUR HAIKU)

The clouds build slowly
threatening to overtake
the maple’s red leaves.

October cloud knives
Slice branches from saddened trees
Leaves fall in mourning

Dogs peer at dawn’s sky
And slowly don winter coats
Knowing geese take flight

Tomorrow the snow
Will not fall from evening clouds
But soon, very soon

DROPPING

As night settles in
the clouds grow uncertain
of their intentions.
It is hard to realize
that a boundary
is silently crossed
and summer has
retreated into the past,
leaving a new season
in its wake, harder
to know that tomorrow
we will awaken into
an autumn that at first
seems no different
then her mother, only
the promise of fall-
ing leaves soon painting
her in her true colors.