Sunday, July 31, 2016

Variations on 100 Poems (#81)

When I turned to look
at the mourning dove calling
outside my window,
all I saw was the moon
late, sneaking into his house
in the first dawn light.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Variations on 100 Poems (#80)

Does he expect
to love me forever?
He doesn't say.
His thoughts are as dark
as the hair that hides my face.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Variations on 100 Poems (#79)

The moon plays hide-and-seek with the clouds
like a child chasing a rabbit through the garden.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Variations on 100 Poems (#78)

Soldier, how many times
have you nodded off
only to be woken late at night
by the cries of sandpipers
flying over Suma Gate
on their way home to Awaji Island?

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Variations on 100 Poems (#77)

The rock in the river
thinks it is in control.
"I'm not going anywhere" it says.
But the water doesn't care.
it divides, and rushes past
to meet again on the other side.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Variations on 100 Poems (#76)

At sea
the distant waves
look like the sky
shimmering in the sun.

Variations on 100 Poems (#75)

Water evaporates
and collects in the clouds,
in the sky, in the air,
until it returns as rain
or, after the morning mist rises,
as dew — rain that doesn't fall,
but visits all the houses of the grass,
every bush and flower.
Water does this. And your words
visit and nuture me like water.
But a day, a month, six months later
where are your words and promises
when autumn comes and the leaves wither?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Variations on 100 Poems (#74)

I prayed,
but not for this.
Not for her
to turn cold & bitter
as winter in the mountains of Kamakura.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Variations on 100 Poems (#73)

Look! On the far mountain
just below the peak
a cherry tree blossoms.
Oh, if only the evening mists
could wait five more minutes
before taking this scene away from me!

Variations on 100 Poem (#72)

Hiroshige made the shores of Izumi
famous. But when I visit
the waves catch at my sleeves
like children pulling me to play.


Variations on 100 Poems (#69, Variant B)

The wind tears the maple leaves
off the trees and into the river
putting on its heavy Fall robes.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Variations on 100 Poems (#70)

I live alone.
When I go outside each morning
the world looks exactly the same.
I am the only person on earth.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Variations on 100 Poems (#69)

The wind tears the maple leaves
off the trees and into the river
as if putting on its thick Fall robes.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Illustré (acanthe)

Bear's breeches, sea dock,
bearsfoot, oyster plant...
The Greeks enjoyed
its decorative qualities
but, lacking in imagination,
named it after the thorns
rather than its frilled leaves.

What the Greeks couldn't tell us
is how sweetly it smells
and, as books point out,
although pollinated by bees
its seeds are anemochorous
meaning dispersed,
like the Greeks,
by the wind.

Variations on 100 Poems (#68)

I do not want to live
in this floating world
but if I must, let me please
remember this night and this moon.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Variations on 100 Poems (#67)

If I lay my head
on your arm to rest
for just a minute
I will dream all night
and wake up yours forever.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Variations on 100 Poems (#66)

On the side of the mountain
stands a single cherry tree.
Except for you, my friend,
I too am alone.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Variations on 100 Poems (#63)

If there were any other way
to get these words to you
I would be there
to tell you
goodbye forever.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Variations on 100 Poems (#62)

The rooster crowing
in the middle of the night
fooled us, but the guards
at Osaka's palace gate
were never fooled.

Variations on 100 Poems (#61)

The flowers of the cherry tree
like eight-fold origami
that bloom in the nine-fold
ancient palace of Nara,
filling the rooms with their scent.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Variations on 100 Poems (#60)

It is so far
from this mountain
to the road to Ikuno,
can I reach it before
I must cross the bridge of heaven?

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Variations on 100 Poems (#59)


I know you're worried.
But go to sleep.
You can do no good
staying awake all night
watching the moon write its name
over and over on the river's surface.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Variations on 100 Poems (#58)

The wind rolls
down the mountain
into the fields
that surround Kyoto
like so many samurai
riding invisible horses.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Variations on 100 Poems (#57)

Passing in the street
I could not tell
if it was you or not
because the moon
covered its face
in clouds.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Variations on 100 Poems (#56)

Let's face it: death
isn't too far off
and once I'm gone
and I've forgotten all this
my only memory
will be you.


Variations on 100 Poems (#55, variant B)

I remember there being a waterfall
here. You could hear it
as you approached, like a factory
where water worked
away at the stone
grain by grain.
Now, the pool is dry
and the forest talks over us
like too many phone calls.
But I remember
the sound it made,
the way light came and went
making up the stories we would tell
about that secret spot we found
only we knew existed.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Variations on 100 Poems (#55)


The cascade ran dry
years ago and the pool is silent.
Yet its memory still flows
and its name fills my ears
with the rush of falling water.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Variations on 100 Poems (#54)

[or Philosophical Discourse on Life, Love, and the Impermanence of Existence]

Don't give me that
love you forever crap.
Love me now
or leave me alone.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Variations on 100 poems (#51)

How do you tell someone
what love is? What love means?
How do you tell them
what fire is
if they have never
warmed their hands
or burnt their fingers?