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.

Black Dragon and Sparrow

free public domain wallpaper

free public domain wallpaper

黒竜 と スズメ (Kuro ryū to Suzume)
Black dragon and sparrow

“Come, let me show you” – Indeed the spring moon was full and lit the yard Like a klieg. Although in jeans and tee shirt, he still looked lethal and royal and somehow,the katana and wakazashi tucked into the makeshift obi around his waist did not look ridiculous. Hands arm and dry, he took my hand and pulled me outside into his yard – “such tiny hands you have” and he smiled his singularly sweet smile down at me. In the gravel place, between the pond for his *nishikigoi and the **karesansui, he pulled me. Always when he touched me, heat and electricity flowed from my heels to the top of my head, always drawing me closer to him. The song of steel as he pulled the katana clear – the sound to my ears like the sound the scales of a dragon would make as it moved across the earth.

Standing behind me his arms enclosed me and he placed the sword in my hands – like this and wrapped my hands around the hilt and now, hold it like this as he moved my arms into position and corrected my stance and how I held the sword. Move with me…awkward at first and then like magic it seemed, I was moving with him. Beneath that huge moon the black dragon and the sparrow began their dance. The sword at times reflecting back the light. And then we were still, weighted in that place it seemed by the moon – drawing us together as it drew the tides. The moon drawing from their branches the petals of the cherry blossoms to swirl and then rest in the dark place under the tree. The moon drawing from the dark water of the pond a nishikigoi as it broke the surface of the water, breaking free to leap and fall back with a loud splash. The moon pulling shadows close to the rocks in the dry garden and giving each piece of gravel its own tiny shadow.

The moon drawing us together, warmed by each other, our breaths frosted in the cold of an early spring night. We could not move from that place. The earth held us captive as the moonlight pinned us in place. Who knew that gravity was heat and electricity? Who knew that gravity was choosing not to move, to stay suspended in one place?

shallow spring night warmed
only by the first full moon –
tides and lovers rise

*nishikigoi – brocaded carp, koi
**karesansui – dry garden, zen garden like Ryoanji

 

This is for Poets United Midweek Motif by Susan.  The theme is Gravity. http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.com/2015/10/poets-united-midweek-motif-gravity.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Frost – Haibun

Today is Open Link Night at the d’Verse Poetics Pub. Gayle is acting as bartender. Open Link means any poem can be submitted. Stop by for a visit and read some of the poems linked. There is no prompt so there will be a variety of offerings! On a cool autumn night, get warmed up by reading inspired poets’ work or, submit one of your own.  http://dversepoets.com/2015/10/15/dverse-poets-open-link-night-158/

copyright Kanzensakura aka Toni Spencer

copyright Kanzensakura aka Toni Spencer

First Frost
Thinking of you, always of you. Last night a bright ring around a full moon. Hazy clouds conceal stars but allow the moon to shine forth. Silent deer pass through my yard casting only a slight glance my way. They are well acquainted with this night roaming human and glide past me as the haughty buck leads his harem to the almost stripped garden next door. I close my eyes for just a moment and when I open them again, I find frost has formed, silent as diamond dust, upon the grass and fallen leaves and branches. Dawn is near.

I pick up a faded oak leaf and gently blow upon it. The frost disappears, gone in a slight gust of warm breath. Another exhale to see my breath steam in the cold air. Proof – I am still alive. Unbidden, as I look upon the silent world, the words – “*the only living boy in New York…” steals from my lips. No one hears me except the frost.

autumn dawn – first frost
outlines brittle brown leaves – lone
crow hears my footsteps

*Only Living Boy in New York – Paul Simon – Bridge Over Troubled Water album

Meeting the Bar – Trimeric Poetic Form

Today at d’Verse Poetics, Mary is our pubkeeper. She has introduced us to the Trimeric Poetic form – a lovely and adaptable form. Come visit us to find out more about this form and read the poems submitted. I hope you will be inspired to try your own and link it up!  http://dversepoets.com/2015/10/08/meeting-the-bar-trimeric-form/

The Full Moon is the Watchdog
The full moon is the watchdog
Guarding the shadows of night –
muted leaves whisper
Secrets to the listening wind.

Guarding the shadows of night
The moon gazes as the cold wind
ripples fallen leaves on the empty road.

Muted leaves whisper
And are echoed by drowsy crickets
and a family of sleepy owls.

Secrets to the listening breeze
Are murmured by the pewter creek
Sleep walking through silver reeds.

 Andō Hiroshige 1797 – 1858 Full Moon and Reeds

Andō Hiroshige 1797 – 1858 Full Moon and Reeds

Pewter Landscape II

the full moon is the watch dog
guarding the shadows of night.
the landscape is awash in greys, blacks and white.
summer heat pulses
cicadas thrum
tree frogs cry for rain
but the merciless moon shines bright
in a cloudless night sky.
a faint sussuration
like the sighs of dry grasses
remembering the wind
passes around, through me.
the road says, come with me now.
the country roads are empty
and like ribbons of silver they stretch to the horizon.
headlights turned off
driving in silence by the light of the moon
humming tires…
pewter moonlight monochrome
ghostly landscape sleeps,
I need to get lost tonight.

***Note: This is the second in a series of poems built from lines from Pewter Landscape – tanka

Pewter Landscape – tanka

summer photograph –
pewter moonlight monochrome
ghostly landscape sleeps,
the full moon is the watch dog
guarding the shadows of night.

Two Spring Haiku – 春 俳句

Katsushika Hokusai- Plum Blossom and the Moon from the book Mount Fuji in Spring

Katsushika Hokusai- Plum Blossom and the Moon from the book Mount Fuji in Spring

I.
Night haze softens bare
trees – plum blossoms secretly
begin to unfold.

II.
First full moon of spring
Frogs sing loudly from the creek –
Bare trees listening.

Kawanabe Kyosai - 1879

Kawanabe Kyosai – 1879

 

 

 

Previous Older Entries