Thursday, for the d’Verse prompted activity, Meeting the Bar, Gayle is guest hosting. She will be discussing Jisei – Japanese death poems. These were poems written as gifts, last words or thoughts for the loved one(s) left behind. Literate Japanese including monks and Samurai wrote poems with thoughts on their passing, their lives – some of them wryly humorous! She wants us to write, in tanka poetic form, our death poem. I have written many – mainly for use in some fictional poems about Samurai.
The Autumn Equinox – Shubun no hi / 秋分の日 – is a national and solemn holiday in Japan. Ancestors are honored, graves are cleaned and newly decorated, special meals/foods are served. Higan (彼岸), a Buddhist term that not only refers to the river that separates the living and the dead, but is used to describe the 7-day Buddhist event of which they hold services. So crossing the river from the land of the living to the land of the dead is a special thought for when a loved one dies.
My poem incorporates traditional haiku and tanka. Because it is the Autumn Equinox – Shubun no hi / 秋分の日 – I am submitting a poem using kigo (seasonal words) for autumn, the river, and ancestors (my own loved ones). Please come visit and read at: http://dversepoets.com/2015/09/24/jisei-japanese-death-poems
SHUBU NO HI/ 秋分の日
autumn equinox –
hawk glides between blue sky and
flame painted maples.
still river sparkles
under the autumn sun – those
who crossed before me
wait with arms opened wide – I
cross the bridge with joy.