The Takasago Pines

For Kim’s prompt on Day 21 of NAPOWRIMO, tree mythology.  She asks us to write a poem based on the mythology of trees. Based on a tale of pines from Japan. The Japanese revere pines and consider them a symbol of long life and fidelity as pine seeds often sprout two trees – “wedded” trees.  Pines are often planted outside of Shinto temples.  The backs of Noh theaters ae often decorated with pictures of pine trees. Gokinboshu (sacred pines) are decorated with ropes, tassels and paper lightning at Shinto temples.

at Kifune shrine


The Takasago Pines

“the pine tree of Shiogoshi
trickles all night long
shiny drops of moonlight” Matsuo Basho

the tide goes out taking the moon
with it – the tide comes in
bringing the sun with it.
winds softly blow through the branches
of the twin pines –
soft words drawing lovers to the trees.
a temple bell sounds.
two old people come to sweep the ground
beneath the sacred pines.
an old man and an old woman –
they are the spirits of the pines
visiting the trees that guard the temple.
jo and uba – old man old woman.
grow old together until they fell asleep.
together they grew into pines.
together always.
decorated with fresh ropes and tassels,
lightning bolts –
tied together by wind and sun,
rain and snow.
everlasting love.

gokinboshu

21 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. erbiage
    Apr 21, 2019 @ 12:45:26

    Hey Toni, where are Kim’s prompts?

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    Reply

  2. kim881
    Apr 21, 2019 @ 13:51:46

    Toni, I knew I could rely on you to write about a Japanese tree myth! I love the idea of ’wedded trees’, in fact I’m sure I’ve seen one around here. Thank you for the background information, which will be store in my memory banks.

    I love the opening lines, which set the scene beautifully, and the atmospheric temple bell. The story of the two old people growing into pines, ‘tied together by wind and sun, rain and snow’, is perfect.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Apr 21, 2019 @ 14:14:46

      There are a couple of “wedded trees” in my woods as well. There is a rope around it with tassels too.

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    • kanzensakura
      Apr 21, 2019 @ 16:38:29

      Thank you Kim. I am sure that is why the double trees near the shrines are tied with robe and embellished with tassels and lightning bolts. You will sometimes see tiny fans tied as well.

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  3. Sherry Blue Sky
    Apr 21, 2019 @ 14:58:17

    I LOVE this story – the old man and the old woman together always. So lovely.

    Reply

  4. robtkistner
    Apr 21, 2019 @ 15:08:56

    How mythically romantic, wonderful tale…!

    Reply

  5. sanaarizvi
    Apr 21, 2019 @ 15:28:41

    Now that is one romantic mythological tale! I love the idea of “wedded trees.” ❤️

    Reply

  6. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Apr 21, 2019 @ 15:32:14

    What a wonderful story…. i know about fruit trees who sometimes need a mate to get pollinated, and there are some bushes with separate male and femele onew.

    Reply

  7. Charmed Chaos
    Apr 21, 2019 @ 15:39:14

    Wow- I am always enthralled by your writing Toni. What a wonderful story.

    Reply

  8. Brendan
    Apr 21, 2019 @ 16:59:44

    Twin trees are the visible evidence of a deeply shared forest ecosystem. The old man and old woman spirits are a fine Tao. A great Basho epigraph.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Apr 21, 2019 @ 19:08:55

      I always start my poems with an appropriate quote, usually from Oscar Wilde or Tony Bourdain. Occasionally I veer off as I did with this Basho haiku.

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  9. Susie Clevenger
    Apr 21, 2019 @ 18:56:51

    Oh, I love this. Unity… The bond that hold brings growth. So much in this poem

    Reply

  10. Rosemary Nissen-Wade
    Apr 21, 2019 @ 22:13:58

    What a lovely tale! And what a lovely poem to recount it.

    Reply

  11. Kerry
    Apr 22, 2019 @ 04:16:49

    How truly magical!

    Reply

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