NaPoWriMo4 – Mono aware 物の哀れ

Prompt for NaPoWriMo is love – in love or lost love or breaking up.


Cherry blossom petals
floated onto his open
hands reminding him of all
he had thrown away.

Warm spring sun stood at
zenith in an azure sky,
pink against blue – cherry blossoms
wept tears on his cheeks.

copyright kanzensakura

copyright kanzensakura

Cherry Blossom Week Continues: Find the Light & Blue Boundary

copyright kanzensakura

copyright kanzensakura

To continue the week of cherry blossoms, I am posting a rare live performance of World Order. Usually their live performances are medleys. This medley includes one of my favorites: Blue Boundary. In this number we see Genki Sudo’s incredible talent for writing music and staging more so than in the taped videos and other songs he has written. Find the Light and Blue Boundary are songs about looking for the light in yourself, others, the universe and letting that light shine forth. Waking up to knowledge and awareness of the universe, the spirit world, the human world – how sometimes the thoughts in us are secret activities because others may not understand or want to understand, but to continue to search, to open ourselves to the reality of the blue boundary (spiritual awareness, unlimited possibilities).

I hope you all enjoy. The music is superb and the choreography is some of the best World Order has done.


Cherry Blossom Forecast and World Order Videos


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The cherry blossoms are not showing yet where I am located. Some early plum, wild pear, and peach blossoms are beginning. My flowering quince, usually the earliest to bloom, is lagging. The buds are nice and fat and look ready to pop…The Japanese plum buds are much larger and a petal here and there can be seen. This cherry blossom forecast is for Japan. I am a little late posting it due to various life events, pneumonia, etc. The slide show is from photos from the past couple of years. I used to work in an office park where there were sixty-five cherry trees – my own private festival! Also, there are some short videos of my favorite guys, World Older. JATA – Japanese Association of Travel Agents – produced these videos showing parts of Japan. The music is hypnotic and the guys are showing more of their surroundings rather than the videos being about their choreography.

While there are all kinds of festivals and fun events going on, the time of cherry blossoms is always a solemn time for me. Even though I am excited to see their beauty after a long cold snowy winter, I still feel ..mono no aware…物の哀れ – the pathos of things; impermanence – 無常, mujō. These are feelings of a gentle sadness, wistfulness. The Samurai were also associated with sakura as their lives were so transient.

I hope you enjoy this mini-trip to Japan!

Updated February 19th, 2015 as Sakura Map has updated their cherry blossom forecast for 2015 sakura season. Just a reminder that these dates are the estimated opening date for cherry blossoms and full bloom should be around a week or so after.
Fukuoka | March 22
Matsuyama | March 25
Hiroshima | March 27
Miyajima | March 27
Kyoto | March 28
Osaka | March 27
Nara | March 29
Nagoya | March 25
Tokyo | March 26
Yokohama | March 26
Kanazawa | April 4
Sendai | April 10

Weekend Groove

All those years ago
…so many miles between then and now
Wish I had a penny for every cherry blossom
petal that has fallen since then….
I’d be a zillionaire, y’know?

But now, all these years up to now
I hear this and I remember
all those petals falling
around us and this song
on the radio.
I taught you to cha-cha

All those years ago
if we had known how
fragile and swirling was time
and today,
how the wind blows those
small petals back
into the sky

Do they make it across the ocean?
Do they ever fall on your hair
or touch your skin
I’d be a zillionaire now
if I had a penny for every tear.

This version of this song is from the series, Live At Daryl’s House. Good series. If you haven’t done so, check out on YouTube.

The Walk – Part X – Promises Kept

Several years ago, I had the privilege of reviewing the application for licensure in my state, a Japanese engineer from Fukushima, transferred to a branch of his company here in the States. After a rocky and difficult beginning, he finally realized and accepted what must be done to complete the process. After a time, he asked me to lunch because of the gratitude he had for the help I had given him. I told him I could not do that. he then asked, Would you go for a walk around the office park then, on your lunch break? I happily said yes because I had learned much about him and wanted to know more. He reminded me a great deal also, of a love that had come to an end when my Samurai returned to Japan. This began many walks and conversations on Friday of the weeks he was in town. I told him there were sixty-five cherry trees within the park and we visited them all. Our favorite place to walk and often sit and talk was under a few trees atop a small hill overlooking a pond. The series of poems about our friendship all begin with “The Walk” and the number in the series.

Spring day – cold, foggy, and grey
But clearing skies begin
Clouds running away
Yielding space to blue sky and sun.

Cool wind, the man and woman
Tug their jackets closely and
Walk to their place on the hill.
The small pond below is
Rippling in the wind.
The cherry trees are
Slowly opening their buds,
Unsure of spring.
They bloom here and there
In small clusters, still
Fearful of winter.

Pointing upward she said
“I told you they would
Bloom again.” He smiled.
“Do you always keep
Your promises?”
She smiled. “Yes. Especially
Promises about sakura and friendship.”
He glanced at
The branches of the
Cherry tree above. He reached
Up and pulled down a
Branch for her to better see.
The branch was full of blooms –
Pink and perfect.
They stood and gazed, rapt
At the beauty of it.
He looked down at her and sighed
And let the branch go.
“The blossoms are perfect.
All of them.”
He bowed to the tree.
He bowed to her,
Deeply with respect.
He touched her cheek.
He looked again at the branches
Above him with the blooms
She promised would come again.
He looked  into her eyes
And again, sighed.

copyright kanzensakura

copyright kanzensakura

Confession #2 – Hanami

This is the second part to Poetic Confessions at dVerse Poetics Pub. Secret fears, life, love…what we hide inside….

hanami 2

Deep in the night
When all things cease to move
Except for the dreams
That creep in under
The laser security of our brains
And our hearts,

Sakura strung with white lights
People underneath –
Families, lovers, friends.
Music and wine flow,
laughter rises and falls,
Braiding together in a
circle dance of celebration.
Cherry blossom petals fall
And whirl in the wind
Mono no aware….
things bloom, things pass,
Things die.
This is a celebration of now –
Just before the passing.
That space between breaths.

You lift the cup of sake
To my lips and I sip.
You lean towards me and sip
From my lips.

“Wake up, wake up.”
I’m being tossed by the wind.
“Wake up, you are having a bad dream.”
I slow my breathing,
Orient to here and now.
My husband asks, “are you alright?
Are you awake?”
I nod and pat his hand.

I can’t go back to sleep
But I still see inside that dream.

A few years ago, Jeff
Visited you during hanami
And told you I had married.
He said you acted surprised
Then grieved and was cranky
For several days.
Did you really think I would
I would live entombed
And preserved in amber?

Mono no aware….
things bloom, things pass
Things die.
Things bloom again.

The Last Cherry Blossom

This week in dVerse Poetics Pub, the whole theme and prompt is about chivalry, knights, ladies, armor, jousts, courtly love, etc. going back in time. I have gone back in time to a different type of knight – the Samurai. There was also a joust where we chose a line from Brian or Claudia’s poem.  I have carried out this prompt for this poem, along with the medieval theme. The lines from their poems are in italics. This is for Open Link Night. dVerse Poetics link is: On my About Page, I have noted I am guided equally by the Ten Commandments and Bushido – a later term for the code of the warrior. It was traditional for the Samurai, before committing seppuku or going into battle, to write a death poem. One of the greatest writers of haiku, Basho, was Samurai.

red armor

It was an omen –
He knew it.
Last year the cherry blossoms
were in full bloom.
During the night
a cold wind blew
and in the morning snow was on the ground.
Pink petals fell too early
and gleamed like blood
on the snow.
He knew – it would be the
last time he saw the cherry trees bloom.

In the summer, he had
acted as second for his brother,
dying of a wasting disease.
A brave warrior,
he wanted to die with honor.
And so, he had committed
the ritual seppuku,
freeing his soul.

The night before leaving for battle,
At evening meal he looked
at his wife and children.
The two eldest sons would join him
in battle.
The two youngest and his daughter
would stay behind.
Inside he mourned
for his two sons who
would never wear the red armor
passed to him from his father
and his grandfather.
He knew they would die
in the plain armor
of first battle –
Well made of leather
and iron scales and
lacquered black.
He would die in the red armor
and unless their enemies
had honor, the armor
would never be returned to his wife.
In the matters of life and death,
of battles and births, he said
within himself,
we’ve lost our capacity
to count

He looked at his wife,
the oldest and plainest of her sisters.
But she was graceful and had added
much to his life – intelligent,
she educated his children well
just as he taught them
the code of the warrior.
He looked at his daughter
and she smiled.
She was his sunlight
and one of her dimples
could not be bought for all
the gold in the kingdom.
Intelligent like her mother
but with the winsome beauty
of his mother.
She was brave and fierce
when she fought.
When paired with Maggi’s
son, he bested her
but she broke his nose
of which he was too proud.

His wife went into their store
room and brought forth a roll of
silk, the clear blue of an autumn sky
as a gift for her.
Her brothers clapped her on
her shoulder as if she was one
of them and praised her swordsmanship.
His heart burst with pride
at his daughter warrior.

He would be leaving his home
in the capable hands of his wife
to be maintained and defended.
The small chest in the store room
was full of coins and
there was cloth and silk
and food for them and their
servants and animals.
Should another man take her to wife,
if he were wise, he would find his
life greatly enriched and enlarged
by her wisdom and bravery.

That night, they made love
with the fire and speed
of youth.
As she slept, he touched
her cheeks to find them
wet with tears.
He realized the tears were his own.

He walked that night
in his garden.
Time stands still…
Tomorrow, he and his sons
would ride to battle.
A cold wind blew off the mountain –
he reached up to touch the
cherry buds, tightly curled.
He would never see them bloom.
He then wrote his death poem
to leave for his wife.

Death Poem of Masashi Kenata – 1538 – 1580
bitter winter winds –
in the garden the sleeping
cherry blossoms wait
for spring sun to awaken –
I can only dream.

copyright kanzensakura

copyright kanzensakura

The Walk – Part V – Green Tea

free public domain photo

free public domain photo

She had told him
there were sixty-five cherry trees
in the office park.
He was always amazed at this
jewel of a place set down
in the midst of
strip malls, box stores,
office buildings, gas stations.
Set apart, one road leading in
one road leading out.
It is as if the cherry trees,
the pond, the birds – all were
the purpose of this place
instead of the two tall office buildings.
She had told him
in the spring,
the trees would all burst
into clouds of pink and white –
the pond would reflect the blooms
just as the mirrored sides of the buildings
reflected the sky and cherry blossoms.
She had promised him.
She had pointed out
the different trees as she would
have introduced him to
her friends. It was silent today,
all offices closed.
He was lonely and this place
seemed like home to him.
A few minutes more.
She was working today
in spite of the holiday.
He looked up and there she was,
walking over the crest of the small
hill with a cloth bag in
her hand. Childlike,
he began to wave.
At the upper end of the pond,
under the five small bare cherry trees,
they stood.
Like a magician, she pulled two small
pads from the bag and motioned
for him to sit.
In silence, she spread a
bamboo mat and set out two pottery cups.
A small bowl, a small lacquered caddy,
tiny wooden spoon, bamboo whisk,
a thermos bottle,a small cloth.
In continued silence
she opened the caddy and added
bright green matcha to one
of the cups, poured steaming water into
the cup and softly began to
whisk the matcha and water into
a delicate foam. His breath caught as she placed the
cup in front of him and turned
it so he could see the dragonfly
painted on the cup.
She prepared tea for herself.
In silence they sat and sipped
the tea.
A few flakes of snow
began to fall.
He felt the warmth of the
tea in his body and in his soul.
He looked above him.
In his mind, he saw
the cherry blossoms.

copyright kanzensakura

copyright kanzensakura

fuyu aozora 冬青空 Blue Winter Sky

blue winter sky looks
down on frozen earth and dreams
of cherry blossoms.

The Samurai and the Wren: Part V East and South

Mount Fuji -A view from the Lake Kawaguchiko o...

Mount Fuji -A view from the Lake Kawaguchiko on a bright sunny day. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cherry blossoms bloomed and dropped to the ground, a passing cloud.  Red maple leaves burned brightly, a flame quickly burned to ash.  Time passed around us and we stood still in the center of our love.  He went home to Japan every other year to visit his sister.  When he returned, he would bring me gifts:  pearls, kanzashi, Zen perfume, hand sewn silk kimonos, my own wazikashi, his kisses and his love.

For several days he would move to a different rhythm and his silences as he fed his nishikigoi, were as deep as the depths where they would sleep.  Then, we would return to our normal pace.  He and I would sit on the steps of our back porch and watch the sunrise or the sunset, our arms wrapped around each other.  We had fed each other strawberries and laughed and made love on those steps.  I had wept in despair and pain when his friends would whisper against me, how I had caused him to lose face.  We sat on those steps and he promised he would love me until the stars came down from the sky to live in my hair and until those stars grew cold and and their ashes scattered around the universe.

Another spring and we had picnics under cherry trees and plucked blossoms to put in each others hair and in our bath and scatter on our sheets and each other.  Another autumn and we danced beneath red maples; I had taught him the Viennese waltz and we would twirl and float and laugh with joy.

When he would compete, I would dress him and wind his hair into the knot.  When he came home, I would undress him and take care of cuts and kiss his bruises as if I could take away the pain.

At night he would brush my hair, slow, easy strokes.  And then he would take me in his arms and gently tuck me into bed as if I were his most treasured possession.  We would love each other to sleep and there were times I would awaken to see him watching me sleep.  He would awaken sometimes to find me watching him sleep.  I would awaken to hear soft music as he played the piano, gentle and tender night songs.

Japan began to beckon.  He talked of returning and of us being married there.  How he would show me his homeland and I would finally be able to walk again on Fuji and to see the sea at Kanagawa.  Long conversations of reality would wind in endless circles.  A Caucasian man and an Asian woman was acceptable.  An Japanese man and a Caucasian woman?  I would be a liability to his career and we both knew it. He would lose face.  He was becoming known for his knowledge of Forensic Pathology and physical anthropology – how bones spoke to him in a language only he could understand and interpret.

We both felt the inevitable.  We wept and dreamed and argued and wept and talked and tried to resolve the situation.  He talked with friends.  He went back to Japan and talked and checked out options for his career.  We knew the future.  If he stayed here, he would always be looking East.  If we went, I would be a liability and he would be looked at as less than he was.  Because I loved him, I made him go.  Because he loved Japan, he left.  Because I loved him, I let him.

Our house had been packed up and sold.  With only a few bags and few items shipped ahead, he made ready to leave.  I drove him to the airport.  I walked him to the gate.  We looked into each other’s eyes and I touched his tears and touched them to my lips.  He said, “I’ll love you with all the madness in my soul.”  I turned and walked away.  I did not look back.

When I returned back to my new place, on the pillow where he had last laid his head, was his tee shirt.  I picked it up and held it to my face, breathing in his scent.  I began weeping.  I was surprised to see the tears were normal tears and not tears of blood.  I still have his tee shirt in tripled plastic bags. It still smells of him.  He never married.  Our friend Jeff sometimes goes to visit.  My love lives alone In Japan and never married.  He restores honor and gives names to the nameless dead.


pink sakura3

The life of a bloom,

The life of a samurai.

Glorious, fleeting.

white sakura3

花見 – 短歌 1 (Hanami tanka)

pink and white blossoms
overhead …my heart lifts and
I hold out my hands
to catch the falling petals –
the dream ends – india ink branches
touch my face and promise more

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