Cherry Blossom Jisei

Today Anthony Bourdain was found dead, of suicide. Last year, a friend of mine committed suicide. I could write nothing then of Jeff’s death but found my heart opened today. I am saddened by these events.NOTES: A traditional farewell. It was a tradition for the literate Japanese (monks and Samurai for example) to write death poems shortly before their anticipated death, seppuku, or battle. With the changing of the seasons from summer to autumn, from winter to spring, we see changes as the seasons of spring and summer end. All things pass – mono no aware. The images of dying are also symbols of “farewell”. For Hedge’s 55.

Cherry Blossom Jisei
how brief the blossoms
of the cherry tree –
their lives end at sunset –
snow and rain falling at night –
melting flakes gone before sunrise –
bare branches feel them
drift through skeletal fingers –
birds sleep as snow falls,
cherry blossom moon
holds back the night sky –
the night will conquer that moon

19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sherry Blue sky
    Jun 08, 2018 @ 23:50:13

    This is so beautiful, Toni. I lost a friend to suicide too. Your poem about the brief blossoms is just perfect.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Jun 08, 2018 @ 23:51:38

      It is truly a deep sadness isn’t it? To think there was nothing we could do to change their minds.

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      Reply

  2. coalblack
    Jun 09, 2018 @ 08:11:28

    I don’t have a comment. Just gonna sit here in silence, you know? 😦

    Reply

  3. annell4
    Jun 09, 2018 @ 08:38:19

    Dearest Toni It does take a while to process…I saw my freind, just two days before, she was happy, making plans, looking forward…suicide leaves so many questions that can’t be answered. But sometimes a soul is ready to go. And it really has nothing to do with us. We are left lonely to mourn.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Jun 09, 2018 @ 13:30:54

      You are right. It has nothing to do with us. Sometimes that suicide trance gets caught in our heads and will not go away. Bourdain had so much to live for, I don’t think he wii!only left his beloved daughter behind. But for him, I think as you saud, his would was ready to go. My friend Jeff did not willingly leave behind his cat and dog, but life had become too much for him. His beloved mother had died a few months earlier and his partner had died the year before. He was tired in his soul and being a bit fragile, all the death spoke to him. He listened. He put his pets into overnight boarding so they would not suffer being left slone. It took his brother a week to find him. We can never know the why.

      Reply

  4. annell4
    Jun 09, 2018 @ 08:38:50

    A wonderful poem for your friend, Jeff.

    Reply

  5. hedgewitch
    Jun 09, 2018 @ 09:02:39

    Beautiful, and full of that clean insight and sadness that Japanese poetry does so well. Your last lines echo….thanks for this 55, Toni.

    Reply

  6. robert okaji
    Jun 09, 2018 @ 10:26:28

    Beautiful, poignant poem.

    Reply

  7. Kerry
    Jun 09, 2018 @ 11:26:02

    Toni, I compliment you on the ability to turn grief into an art form. And i also marvel at the Japanese culture which takes cognizance of the details of life, all to be commemorated accordingly.

    Reply

  8. willow88switches
    Jun 09, 2018 @ 14:18:42

    The first 3 lines of this poem, really capture the essence, the transience of this world, of this life, whether of the natural world, or of us, as the human element.
    We can never fully understand the dynamics of it all – both blessing and curse, I suspect, much less the complexity of another human. And as noted, when a soul is ready to leave …. we are left to mourn.

    I think this poem, speaks with heart, yet captures the “perspective” of standing outside the circle, watching the ripples and affects, and so, is elegant and graceful, even for the “emotional” aspects of having been touched and moved by a personal relationship. This is really, both a prayer of release and yet an ongoing question in mourning.

    I’m sorry for your loss of a friend. And I hope this writing has offered you some closure and peace.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Jun 09, 2018 @ 15:08:29

      Thank you Pat. The death of Tony Bourdain ‘s suicide in has deeply affected me as it has so many. I feel the waste of a life richly lived, just as my friend lived a rich life. Jeff too was a chef and lived the life a lot longer than I. It is a hard demanding life and takes its toll, which is why I escaped and became an engineer. I hope I have attained some peace with his death but I doubt it. Some things one never truly accepts.

      Reply

      • willow88switches
        Jun 09, 2018 @ 15:13:01

        I think everyone who has been deeply touched by suicide, whether of an icon, or on a more personal relationship level, grapples with the questions left behind, and the idea of “rich life and waste” – and one aspect, of course, is how are we to truly know, understand or what these words mean?
        Our experiences and understanding – in relation to the other – is not, of course, necessarily their truths and realities.
        It makes for so many open-ended feelings, often coupled with much residual anger, pain and grief.

        Reply

  9. Laura Bloomsbury
    Jun 09, 2018 @ 15:33:40

    Have come close to such exits on both sides of the divide – we understand yet cannot fathom – you have the softest of touches in poetic imagery – – “birds sleep as snow falls” and most potent of all “bare branches feel them”

    Reply

  10. Victoria Slotto
    Jun 09, 2018 @ 15:46:40

    There is unspeakable pain in the face of suicide, the questions those of us who are left behind ponder, the tendency to look inside for blame…and more. For me, this underlines how each one of us is such a mystery, no one else can really know what we carry within. Your poem is so sensitive to the fragility of life.

    Reply

  11. qbit
    Jun 09, 2018 @ 16:07:44

    Wonderful. Moving.

    Reply

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