Snowflakes

In Japan there are various words and nuances for “silent” or “silence”. Shizuka means total silence. Chinmoku is reticence, holding back or, more intriguing, the silence between the notes. For Real Toads, 30 in 30. This is day five. This is the farthest I have gone in NAPOWRIMO Day 5.

Snowflakes
Shizuka –
the first snowflake is silent –
at night they drift –
falling one by one
slowly piling into drifts –
silent they fall into the night –
the wind gets into them
blowing them this way and that –
chinmoku – they hold back their words
their noise their speaking –
sound comes from the wind
or the tree branches rattling –
the snowflakes speak
various forms of silence –
snowflakes fall – drift –
only the owls hear them –
gliding through snowflakes –
they hunt more silent
than the snowflakes – I walk
among them listening to
the silence of the flakes,
the swish of the owl’s wings

public domain image

Haibun Monday: Owls

Today the theme for Haibun Monday is owls. Victoria is hosting the Pub with this lovely winter kigo for haiku. A haibun is brief true prose ending with a haiku – haiku must have a seasonal word to be a haiku. Come visit us to read these haibun about owls. the Japanese word for snowy owl is fukaroo. This is also being posted at Real Toads Tuesday Platform.

Owls at night
I sit on the steps of our back porch. The night is cold and still and a light snow is falling. I pull the quilt tighter around me and gaze out at the snow slowly covering the lawn. From the woods I hear a sound that is like a woman screaming – a tiny screech owl. For something so small it can emit a scream from that sounds like it comes from the pits of despair. The owl screams again. I look up at the dark sky, the stars blacked out by clouds. As I look up, a deeper black slowly glides across the sky – an owl. Probably the screech owl or the saw whet owl I found earlier in autumn living in the woods. There are several owls around here – you can spot them at night or their nesting places during the day if you are observant and very quiet. There is even a ghostly barn owl taking advantage of an old deserted barn. Owls. I love owls. I can sit all night and watch them hunt – hearing their clucking or wild cries as they find and capture prey. The screech owl screams again. The snow continues to fall.

in the cold night owls
split the darkness with their
ghostly glide – snow falls

public domain photo

Haibun Monday: Komorebi

I am doing the prompt for Haibun Monday over at dVerse Poets Pub. I have given the Japanese word komorebi to get people started. The word means light filtered through trees, specifically in spring or summer. I am asking them to write about the season-between-the-seasons, specifically summer into fall.  A classic haiku must end the classic haibun form. A classic haiku must have these elements: a season word,a cutting word, and 5-7-5 syllable form. I am not being particular about the number of syllables but I am being picky about the season word being part of the haiku. If there is no season word, you don’t have a haiku. You have a senryu or micropoem.

 

copyright kanzensakura

Komorebi
The cicadas are loud tonight. They clack and thrum, rattle and hum. The night is slightly cool and the dew smells of fallen leaves. Soon the cicadas will burrow down into the earth to sleep over fall and winter. An owl flies overhead, hunting for prey. I hear it in the woods accompanied by a squeal – some creature has become dinner. Small yellow sunflowers peek from the hedge and the butterfly bush has put out its last bloom. The blackberries have all been eaten by birds, squirrels and chipmunks and the bushes are bare except for leaves which are slowly fading to red – here, here, and here. Only the sunflowers have color in this deepened longer night. It is that strange season between seasons – not summer and not yet fall.  The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer.

I stood in my woods today. It is my church, my temple, my cathedral. The light filtering through the leaves give it a holy, hushed atmosphere. Komorebi – the Japanese word for light filtered through leaves 木漏れ. Between the world and the word are three small shapes, the signs for ”tree,” ”escape,” and ”sun.” A beautiful word. I look up and a few of the old oaks are beginning to turn their leaves from deep green to pale yellow. They are still holding tight, refusing to fall. The dead leaves underfoot are damp from the recent rain. They have a moist earthy smell rather than the dry spicy smell of autumn. I brush some of the leaves aside to uncover a large block of velvet green moss. Soon, the little flags they grow to reproduce will turn bright red. A small snake slithers under my boot. I watch it disappear into the safe place of ancient fallen trees. The cicadas are quiet today. But soon they will begin their clack and thrum, their rattle and hum. The moon is full this cool night surrounded by a halo of clouds. Autumn is taking the long road traveling to here.

voice of cicadas –
silent now in the stand of
pine trees on the hill

tani bucho 1817

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