DREAMS

Dreams are a place
where the dead are free to walk about,
where they speak in voices
barely recalled, but which seem
so familiar to the ear.
They are willing to engage you
in conversations left unfinished,
you are always surprised
at what they have to say,
at how it is not at all
what you expected or wished from them.
You tolerate this in your dreams
because you know that you will
soon awaken, and the dead
will retreat from the sun
to await the dark night’s return.

KEMBO’S TRANSMIGRATION 鐵笛倒吹 六十七

 

Awakening in the morning
when you first see the sun
and the dew resting on thee leaf
which eye are you using.
When you stare into the mirror
through what eye do you see,
and what eyes stare back at you.

When you see the deer
lying in the road
which eye do you use.
In a nightmare, when you slip
into the deeper, darker world,
what eye is used then.
When a friend fades into death,
what eye sees his departure.
Think carefully on this
for only one eye can see
the answer lying within.


A reflection on case 67 of The Iron Flute (Tetteki Tōsui)

THIS IS HOW WE MOURN

This is how we mourn:
we don’t berate the clouds for gathering,
nor begrudge the rain’s ultimate descent.
Our tears fall to the earth as well,
and there are moments when we need the gray,
moments when the sun would
be an unwelcomed interloper.
This is how we mourn:
we wipe the walls clean of history,
we whitewash them for they, too,
must be a tachrichim* and when done
we add the names, each lettered carefully,
this a plaster scroll
of those we dare not forget
requiring the perfection
they were denied.
This is how we mourn:
by walking out into the sunfilled sky,
having given them the grave
once denied them
freshly dug into
our souls and memory.


*tachrichim is the traditional white linen Jewish burial shroud.

Written following a visit to the Pinkas Synagogue in Prague, where  the 80,000 names of Czech and Moravian Jews who perished under the Nazis were hand-written on the walls of the synagogue.

EVENTIDE

The sky is the leaden gray
that denies the sun
and threatens the moon’s arrival.
It presses down on the roofs
of the tallest buildings,
wraps them in a depression
those on the street below feel
without need of looking up.
This is a teasing sky,
a drop here, there, until
we know we are on the razor’s edge of rain.
The sky laughs at us
as it retreats into the night.

NI HAIKU 二俳句

a great blue heron
watches the morning sun rise
ginkgos awaken


newly hatched goslings
watching the trees take flower
imagine summer



大な青い鷺
朝の太陽を見る
イチョウ覚醒


孵化した新芽
木の花を見て
夏の夢

(daina aoi sagi
Asa no taiyō o miru
Ichō kakusei


Fuka shita shinme
Ki no hana o mite
Natsu no yume)