dVerse Poetics: Magic

Today Paul Scribbles is prompting our Poetics at dVerse.  He is asking us to write about magic. Magical, magician, magic in all its forms and permutations. And so, I did!

Sweet Magic
the door to another universe opened
and he walked out –
his hair in a warrior’s knot
and wearing a black on black silk hakama
and wide shouldered black kataginu
embroidered with cherry blossoms – black on black.
he told me later he wore all black for
martial arts demoonstrations.
he carried daisho – katana and wakizashi and
on his right hip he wore the tanto – dagger.
I was 25 and he was 28 and already had two Ph.D.s
He was almost through with his third.
He moved light and deadly and quick as a hawk.
Taller than your average Japanese but then,
his homeworld was the mountainous region
in Hakone. I watched him draw his katana –
one pure movement of silver and death – magic.
I was dating a jerk at the time and had gone
to the Kendo competition with the jerk.
He rescued me from the jerk and won the competition.
His voice was soft and husky
and his hands and arms were knicked and scarred –
Swords are sharp he said when he saw me looking.
I fell head over heels in love with him but…
Greater older magic was at work –
He fell in love with plain short me.
His hands were soft and sure
And his lips were full and curved.
He taught me forms and Kendo
And gave me a wakizashi because I was too short –
“Your opponent will behead you before you have your
sword half-way out.
The wakizashi’s name is Minamikaze – South Wind.
This my love will make you formidable.”
I held the wakizashi and gave it a slight swish.
He smiled. “Take your death as a given,
Accept it and you will be free to live.”
Then he smiled and sang to me
holding me close:
“All our times have come
Here but now they’re gone
Seasons don’t fear the reaper
Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain, we can be like they are
Come on baby, don’t fear the reaper*”
I took the leap. Down the rabbit hole.
Magic.
Pure sweet magic.

old snapshot taken in Duke U Medical Library 1979

  • Don’t Fear the Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult

My Garden

This is for Bjorn’s Meeting the Bar segment of dVerse – a free verse sonnet.  He gives Neruda as an example.  I told Bjorn I was busy putting up food for the winter…he asked if I was going to do a sonnet on tomatoes.  I don’t know if I did this correctly.  I am not much on Western forms.  so my volta is a senryu.  I hope it works!

My Garden

The rain began in the spring and did not end
until Mother’s Day. My garden was planted late
But then it took off like a rocket.
Tomatoes, corn, butterbeans –
cucumbers and squashes in all the colors
of the rainbow. Fresh and lovely in taste
and soft and strong to the touch.
Now it is getting to the end of summer.
My garden is starting to show its age but
still it gives to me. Days spent canning
and pickling and freezing – just to have
the taste of summer all through the winter.

summer bounty thrives –
animals snack at night – I
work during the day

tomato

copyright kanzensakura

 

 

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.

dVerse Poets Pub: Haibun Monday – The Best Things in Life are Free

Monday I am doing the prompt for Haibun Monday over at dVerse Poets Pub after a fairly long absence. While a bit stressful, it is still good to be back in the Pub writing prompts and reading and commenting on poems. My prompt for everyone is: the best things in life are free – as in without cost – not liberated from something – one of the other meanings of “free”…Come nd join us for the prompt on 02/20/2017.  Haibun Monday – The Best Things in Life are Free

Daffodils are Free!
Daffodils. I love them. I wait for them to come up every year in the very early spring. This year with the winter being so warm, you can spot clusters of green spears springing up from the dead winter grass or they are topped with the golden flowers. The smell of daffodils – I have yet to smell anything that smells like them. A heady mix of honey, jasmine, and butter – the perfume of them has not and probably never will be duplicated. Watching them blowing in the wind or dripping with rain or sticking out of snow, one can only sigh and know we are looking at one of our Creator’s most beautiful miracles. Ever since I was a child, I have loved them and I love them still at the grand old age of 65. They still make me smile, no matter how hard, sad, grey, or difficult the day has been.

Once when I was a child I pulled green blades of a daffodil still wet with rain. I wanted to see how  it tasted. I placed the green blade between my lips – slowly pulling using my tongue to feel the sharp edge and the soft green and the cold wetness of it. Years later after kendo, my lover and I stood in the rain and kissed. He had daffodil lips and I drank in their cool wetness and my tongue probed the sharp edges of his teeth and the slightly bitter taste of his lips.

in the spring rain
daffodils bloom with hope – true
love is in the air

public domain photo

public domain photo

 

dVerse Poets Pub – Haibun Monday #29

We have a guest prompter today at dVerse.  Come find out who….hint:  he’s from Australia.  The theme is “waiting”.   https://dversepoets.com/2017/01/23/haibun-monday-29/

The Waiting Game
You are gone. You got on that big plane and it took you back to Kyoto. You had lived in the US long enough to teach medicine at Duke, to move to Richmond and become a forensic pathologist, long enough to rescue me from an abusive relationship and for us to fall totally deeply wildly in love with each other. Twenty years in the US and then you moved back to Kyoto. What were you waiting for? Why did it take you so long to return? Was it me? I waited long nights for you to come home after taking apart the dead to find answers, to give names to the nameless, to convict the guilty and vindicate the innocent. You stayed long enough to teach me kendo, to use a katana, to properly cook rice, to learn the sensation of cherry blossoms falling on naked skin. I taught you to properly fry chicken, to savor a fresh summer tomato, the sensation of ice cube held within lips slipping over your skin.  I waited for you to return; day after day after month after year after season. You wrote every week and I threw them all away. You waited on my reply. I waited for your return. We waited and waited and…

cherry blossoms on
naked skin – lips on mine –
seasons wait forever

dVerse Poetics: keiu

Walt is hosting Poetics today. He wishes us to write about summer drought or too much rain. This can include harmful rain or writers block – any interpretation of drought or downpour. Come visit us!  https://dversepoets.com/2016/07/26/tuesday-poetics-drought-or-deluge/

keiu*
Almost five years to the day,
I met you.
Five years since the love of my life
Returned to Japan – just left in a flurry
Of heat and fire – like the black dragon he was.
Days without love, weeks without love,
Years without love.
And almost five years to the day
You stepped into my life.
Eyes the color of a summer blue sky.
You spoke.
A gentle rain began to fall.
My soul began to bloom again.
Summer heat turned to
Summer rain – sweet and welcome –
Dried soul blossomed green.

copyright KanzenSakura

copyright KanzenSakura

*Japanese for welcome rain

Haibun: Summers Pass

For Poetic Bloomings – we write about lessons learned during a summer.

Summers Pass

We were tied together by summers. We met at a kendo and weapons demonstration. You in your black silk hakama – black on black dragons and your hair in a warrior’s knot and tucked into your obi, I saw you were carrying daisho – big/little – the katana and the wakizashi. My breath stopped in my chest. I was carrying in a duffle, the weapons of the man I was dating – well, third date at this time and to be honest, I had determined this would be the last date. Arrogant and loving to be cruel he wore his long blonde hair in a braid thinking somehow, it made him look like a Nordic badass. You gave a demonstration of the two swords and then began to spar with various partners. But at the end of the day, he rescued me from the badass and won the arms competition. We walked out together and the fairy tale began. Long hot summers together – a garden in the backyard of gravel, boulder, and koi pond and my half filled with veggies and old fashioned flowers. Summers of trips to Japan and sometimes in Europe. Long hot nights of love and hot days of your work in forensics and me licensing engineers. I don’t remember Christmases or Easters or Thanksgiving. I know we had them but it is only the summers I remember.

You taught me the use of the katana and your language. I taught you to fry chicken and make biscuits. East met South. But then you began to feel the call of your home. We talked and argued and argued and talked and the reality was – you had face to lose if you went home. I was not a trophy. I was short and wore glasses and my hair was long, black, and wavy. I was not tall and blonde. We knew you would be reduced to working in small 24 hour clinics. I was a liability. I loved you and I let you go. After you left, I only remember hot summers of being alone – practicing with my sword and meditating. And somehow, slowly healing. And one hot summer, I met a sweet blue eyed Southern man with kind hands and heart. He taught me again to open my heart and love. I still loved you and always will, but I learned to stand on my own again and to believe in myself. And the most important lesson of all, I learned that summer to love again, to open my heart and trust. I do not know the lessons you learned. But I know you never married. I know you dedicate your life to identifying the sad victims of the “Suicide Forest” and that in the Tsunami, you identified victims and returned them home.

summers pass In blurs –
love leaves but love returns and
hearts heal at long last

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