ELEGY

I am a Yao gem
inferior to jade
but awaiting the sorceress.
Will she wear me
in her ear, or prefer
the pendant?
I am a branch
broken from the tree
to dry on the ground
my fruit shriveled
into stones.
Carry me in your dance
inhale the fragrance
and raise me from the ashes
to come down
to the foothills
and dip my feet
in the slowly flowing waters.

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.

HALT

 

But what if, just once
time slowed significantly
or even stopped.
A bird becomes frozen
in the sky, not moving,
not falling, staring
at the distant tree
in total stillness.
A drop of rain hovers
just over the grass
dreaming of chlorophyl.
If you had such a moment
how would you wish
to spend it, knowing
you would be
frozen in that wish.

CROW DANCE

Sunday

They gather in the trees
remarkably silent
one speaks
their morning prayers
and they
return home.

Monday

Only three arrive
to commentate
our morning walk.
We appreciate
the silence.

Tuesday

There is a reason
for all
sentient creatures
but the crow
tests our credulity.

Wednesday

A wintered branch
breaks
under the weight
of the blackness.
There is much
gnashing of wing.

Thursday

A single bird
seems pitiable
and lonley
but we lack
avian compassion.

Friday

The usual
morning cacaphony
but why are they
so happy
it is Friday?

Saturday

Would that they
were ravens
and would heed
my entreaty
Nevermore!

DHARMA

Buddha was asked, once,
to describe all the dharmas
while standing on one foot.
“Hillel could do it,”
the crowd said, “so you
too should be so able.”
Buddha smiled and said,
“Hillel was a good friend,
as was Jesus and Ishmael.”
Buddha then gently sat
beneath the Bodhi tree
and was completely silent.