Haibun Monday – The Shadow Knows

Monday I am doing the prompt for Haibun Monday over at dVerse Poets Pub. Years ago I read In Praise of Shadows (陰翳礼讃 In’ei Raisan), an essay on Japanese aesthetics by the Japanese author and novelist Jun’ichirō Tanizaki. It deeply influenced me and caused my immersion into the Japanese culture. So I am prompting people to write about shadows today in classic Haibun form – actual shadows, shadows in our lives, walking after dark in the full moon, the fireplace flickering in a dark room, shadows of clouds racing over a meadow, mountain or lake. Come visit us and find out the reason for this quote by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki: “Were it not for shadows, there would be no beauty.”  The Pub opens at 3:00 pm EST

Moonlight, kendo, and love
Midsummer. The moon was full to bursting and it lit up our bedroom like a klieg light. My lover was sleeping soundly, softly snoring. I was rolling from one half of the bed to the other – the night was hot and moist and redolent with the smells of roses, jasmine, gardenias, magnolia….the rich musk of freshly mown grass floated over the flower smells and made me sneeze. I gave one look at the sleeping man, muttered “bah” and got out of bed. I looked down into the garden in the back yard – the scene was almost surreal, flat with the look of no contrasting shadows. Every detail stood out in sharp detail. I pulled on a tee shirt and shorts and went downstairs. I decided if nothing else, I would practice some kendo forms I had learned the previous week. With my shinai in hand, I began. I started to sweat but continued. Soon I relaxed and to get into the motions. Clouds blew across the surface of the full moon and shadows drifted across the koi pond and the graveled area. A soft breeze began cooling me and I closed my eyes and drifted with the forms. Suddenly, my arms were gripped by strong hands and my lover began to improve on my motions.

I turned to look at him. Taller than the average Japanese man with a beautiful swooped nose and full lips. I loved his mouth and his nose. He smiled. “Dancing in the shadows?” I melted into him and we began the kendo dance. Shadows began to shift as the moon began to dip in the sky. The branches of trees grew longer and one of the koi broke surface, thinking the moonlight on the water was a bug. I watched the shadows from the moon slowly glide along the walkway. We became still, me wrapped in his arms. “I love the shadows on a full moon night,” he whispered. “I love you on a full moon night.” And he started to caress me. Soon we disappeared into the shadow of the dogwood tree, making love in our garden. Fully sated at last, we went to sleep on the grass each holding the other close. We woke just before grey dawn and lay there looking at the sun rise. The koi began to roil the surface of the pond clamoring for food. I fed them and watched them as they swam in and out of my reflection. Shadows shifted as the sun rose higher. I kissed him. “I love you” I said. And he smiled.
flowers scent the air –
midsummer dreams – shadows on
a pond – koi jumps high.

35 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. erbiage
    Apr 02, 2017 @ 16:45:46

    So rich, vivid, sensual. I will dream of this tonight.


  2. Jane Dougherty
    Apr 03, 2017 @ 15:11:36

    A feast for the senses, and the koi 🙂


  3. kim881
    Apr 03, 2017 @ 15:14:05

    I enjoyed your description of a hot night, Toni, which certainly tickled my sense of smell, with the ‘roses, jasmine, gardenias, magnolia….the rich musk of freshly mown grass floated over the flower smells…’ and pictured d the shadows from the full moon and clouds. And what a gorgeous haiku!


  4. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Apr 03, 2017 @ 15:16:50

    Lovely to have the shadow of the moon… I only think of shadows from the sun… when shade is what I seek… I love the flat colors of a moonlit garden. I have seen those colors…


  5. lillian
    Apr 03, 2017 @ 15:33:04

    ” Clouds blew across the surface of the full moon and shadows drifted across the koi pond and the graveled area.” So many amazing details in this. In the second second paragraphy we move from seeing to feeling….sensuous and beautiful. And the haiku is a beautiful complement!


  6. frankhubeny
    Apr 03, 2017 @ 15:43:42

    Nice night full of moonlight and without much sleep.


  7. Beverly Crawford
    Apr 03, 2017 @ 16:05:32

    WOW! Passion under a full moon in the garden. The stuff of dreams!


  8. ZQ
    Apr 03, 2017 @ 16:26:59

    Awesome and interesting read. Thanks


  9. Glenn Buttkus
    Apr 03, 2017 @ 16:52:01

    I have to smile that the old radio show, THE SHADOW, colored both of our titles, This sensual & personal reflection sports shadows as supporting characters in your poetic erotic drama. I enjoyed spending this evening with you, rising to meet the new day.


  10. paul scribbles
    Apr 03, 2017 @ 17:26:17

    This was a sensory trip…I could feel this Haibun, smell it, taste it and see it with the eyes of aother in technicolor black and white. The Haiku is just perfect.


  11. Grace
    Apr 03, 2017 @ 17:41:25

    Love the sensual story Toni ~ This sizzles with passion under the full moon light ~


  12. jillys2016
    Apr 03, 2017 @ 18:30:11

    So much imagery! Wonderful


  13. Singledust
    Apr 03, 2017 @ 18:34:49

    a beautiful dance only two perfectly matched souls can perform so fluidly, your words take me to a very sensual yet safe place where love is honoured and cherished, loved this so much Toni – Gina


  14. wolfsrosebud
    Apr 03, 2017 @ 19:21:18

    Shadows do shift and often relationships. Sad…


  15. Sumana Roy
    Apr 04, 2017 @ 05:19:04

    this is a song in the moon-shadow…beautiful…


  16. Trackback: Shadows Smile – Doodles and Scribbles
  17. maria
    Apr 04, 2017 @ 07:23:28

    Ah, what a lovely piece to read on a moonlit night. I am smiling at the moon right now, feeling dreamy. Thank you Toni! ❤


  18. aka_andrea
    Apr 04, 2017 @ 09:02:07

    I could see every part of this. So vivid!


  19. ladynyo
    Apr 04, 2017 @ 10:37:16

    LOvely, sensual trip. Only in the South do we get all those scents together at night.


  20. Sabio Lantz
    Apr 04, 2017 @ 10:46:45

    The koi spoke loudly and consistently in this fine Haibun
    鯉 (the village fish) 恋


  21. colorfulpen
    Apr 04, 2017 @ 20:00:37

    So much wonderfully vivid imagery in this haibun. I love the koi, the moon casting shadows, the smell of flowers. Most of all, I love how the words were able to move me.


  22. rosemawrites
    Apr 05, 2017 @ 01:46:11

    awwee. this lovely piece tickles the heart. the vivid first paragraph, the sensual and romantic second, and the lovely haiku! ❤


  23. Sreeja Harikrishnan
    Apr 05, 2017 @ 10:32:57

    You have painted a beautiful night…it is kind of a vivid dream…!


  24. Ava Hypatia
    Apr 08, 2017 @ 08:17:52

    And I thought hot yoga was pretty cool. The Shadow Knows is a very cool ode (to me) to the physical world of love!


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