Real Toads Bits of Inspiration

This is for Real Toads Bits of Inspiration: Dragonflies. there are all kinds of stories about them, myths. Japan is no different in its stories of dragonflies, especially among the Samurai. The dragonfly helmets are known as the type of armor called kawari kabuto – exotic helmet.

Akitsushima

My lover took the antique helmet out of the case to show me. He explained that it was one of the helmets worn by his Samurai ancestors. I reached out a tentative finger to touch it. A tingle went through me – old times, men long dead, battles fought. It was a dragonfly helmet. I asked why such a fragile thing for a battle helmet design. He laughed.

“Dragonflies are relentless hunters”, he explained. “They can fly forward, they can hover but, they can never move backwards”. I asked again, why such a fragile thing? He laughed at me. “ Have you ever seen a dragonfly hunt? The ancient lords chose such embellishments so they could be easily found on the battlefield. They often chose a motif that they felt described themselves. They are also considered to be far seeing.” I later learned that an ancient deity, while sitting on top of a mountain looked down upon Japan and named it Akitsushima, Island of the Dragonfly -because of the shape of the islands. My lover then took down his katana and said, “Come, it is time to practice.” I did a jaunty step, “Float like a butterfly, hunt like a dragonfly.” He laughed. Years later, I learned that like the dragonfly, I could never go back to that time.

ancient far seer –
the dragonfly hovers –
no going backwards

public image domain

Dreaming November

This is for Angie’s prompt over at Real Toads. She found a wonderful book with suggestions for and lists of words for inspiration: Sandford Lyne titled, “Writing Poetry from the Inside Out:  Finding Your Voice Through the Craft of Poetry.” It seems a most excellent book I shall check out this afternoon. Come visit us at Real Toads: http://withrealtoads.blogspot.com/2017/11/get-listed-november-edition.html She gives us several lists with four words in each. I chose the list with November, layer, stones, throat to write a poem of 100 words or less.  I am also posting this today at dVerse Poets Pub for their Open Link Night. I am also posting at Poets United Poetry Pantry.

Dreaming November
rust-colored November
settles into the stones
in layers of newly fallen leaves
old leaves rotting leaves –
a smell that catches in the back of my throat
and makes me want to put down roots.
November is the calm before the winter storms –
stones sleep
beneath the leaves
beside the creek
flowing clear over rounded stones
before settling into the
pool at the end –
sleeping leaves dreaming of summer.

copyright Kanzen Sakura

Real Toads Weekend Mini-challenge

For Kerry at Real Toads.  the prompt is based on the last line of William Blake’s Garden of Love.  http://withrealtoads.blogspot.com/2017/10/micro-poetry-binding-with-briars.html  Twelve lines is the limit to this weekend mini=challenge, any form you wish.  To read the poem by Blake: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45950/the-garden-of-love
For Poets United tomorrow.

Garden of Stars
frozen and tangled
blackberry briars encircle
the sunken grave dug in
silence by the light of stars –
nobody knew her – nobody
cared – the lust that rent her
passed quickly – then rage.
off to find another one
he crept on into the night.
soon another will be planted.
nobody knows them,
nobody cares.

public domain image

Real Toads and dVerse Poets Pub OLN

Today Shay is prompting over at Real Toads. She asks us to write of spells, gypsy curses, dopplegangers, the like. She also requests “no haiku because they give me the shakes”. Perhaps like me she has seen too too many bad fauxku on the ‘net lately: to many dead lifeless zombie-ku, too many sweet pink precious-ku, to many emotion crazed maniac-ku, too too many abbreviated fake jazzy-ku. I know, they frighten me too. To paraphrase Haley Joel Osment in The Sixth Sense: I see bad haiku. Real Toad’s link: Fireblossom Friday : I Put A Spell On You.  I am also posting this on dVerse Poets Pub Open Link night. Open Link Night # 205   PS I have finished this poem with a senryu – what most people call “haiku”….but it aint!

Don’t Fear The Reaper
I was timid and short –
You were ruthless and gentle and brave.
I gazed into your almond shaped brown eyes –
And I became trapped –
A skeletal butterfly encased in amber.
But on the wings of your words
I flew. I soared. I became fierce.
I often look back at that young woman
And then I look in the mirror of the woman
I am today.
The curse of your love still hovers over me.
The blood I drew from you that day
we drew swords against each other
still stains my hands with red.
You were surprised as was I.
I look up at the full harvest moon
And I howl.
I count the stars as I hold my head back
And I howl.
I fling the curse to the sky –
To be taken by the wind.
I don’t know if it will ever take.
The curse of your love still hovers over me.

harvest moon listens – dogs
shuffle in the underbrush –
curses abound

 

public domain image

Real Toads – Natsu no Yoake

For Real Toads Tuesday Platform.  http://withrealtoads.blogspot.com/2017/09/the-tuesday-platform_12.html

summer dawn begins
fire glows, dark hills sleep – silence
then awakening

Image Japan Board of Tourism

Real Toads: I wrote you a book

Today at Real Toads we are to write a poem to a book – a book of poetry or a collection of poems. I have chosen one of the five most influential books to me – Basho’s Narrow Road to the Deep North.  It was a birthday gift to me from my beloved and revered friend and tutor.  This is the book which introduces us all to the haibun – prose ending with a haiku.  Basho’s haibun were originally travel sketches.  I have traveled Basho’s route several times at different times of the year.  I wrote my first haibun when I was 14.  I have a written a haibun to it, in the spirit of the book. I am also linking this to Poets United Poetry Pantry: http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.com/2017/09/poetry-pantry-370.html

The Beginning
It was November, two days before my 12th birthday. Jamie Pollard, our lifelong next door neighbor who had started my love of Japanese poetic forms and especially haiku, gave me an old ragged copy of Road to the North by Basho. He had carried the copy with him several times to Japan. He said, I want you to read this. It will introduce you to the haibun. I think you will enjoy writing them. I opened the book in awe touching the pages tenderly and then hugged Jamie. My road was opened to me. I have traveled it all my life.

snow was falling – you
were given to me – a
gift still loved today

public domain image from Road to the North

The Moon at 5 a.m.

At Real Toads we are giving the prompt to use a line from one of our poems – “Out of your own words” and provide a link to the poem. The first line is from a haiku I wrote several years ago https://kanzensakura.wordpress.com/2015/05/25/%e5%8d%8a%e6%9c%88-hantsuki-half-moon-haiku/
here is the link for Real Toads: http://withrealtoads.blogspot.com/  I am also linking this to Poets United, Poetry Pantry:  http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.com/

The Moon at 5 a.m.
summer half moon drifts in a sea of blue –
the moon sits close to the horizon
getting ready to go to sleep.
the coming of day –
the smell of a new morning
just stirring and getting ready to rise.
the moon at 5 a.m. is a mysterious thing.
summer is winding down –
the moon Is a mystery –
at 5 a.m. the world is still asleep.
I sit on my back steps and watch
the world awakening.
the moon at 7 a.m. is a baroque pearl
Misshapen and beautiful.
but I love the mystery of the moon at 5 a.m.
in the cool of grey dusk
when it is just a floating sliver of silver
in the cobalt sky.
the moon is a mysterious thing at 5 a.m.

morning moon1

copyright kanzensakura

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