The Takasago Pines

For Kim’s prompt on Day 21 of NAPOWRIMO, tree mythology.  She asks us to write a poem based on the mythology of trees. Based on a tale of pines from Japan. The Japanese revere pines and consider them a symbol of long life and fidelity as pine seeds often sprout two trees – “wedded” trees.  Pines are often planted outside of Shinto temples.  The backs of Noh theaters ae often decorated with pictures of pine trees. Gokinboshu (sacred pines) are decorated with ropes, tassels and paper lightning at Shinto temples.

at Kifune shrine

The Takasago Pines

“the pine tree of Shiogoshi
trickles all night long
shiny drops of moonlight” Matsuo Basho

the tide goes out taking the moon
with it – the tide comes in
bringing the sun with it.
winds softly blow through the branches
of the twin pines –
soft words drawing lovers to the trees.
a temple bell sounds.
two old people come to sweep the ground
beneath the sacred pines.
an old man and an old woman –
they are the spirits of the pines
visiting the trees that guard the temple.
jo and uba – old man old woman.
grow old together until they fell asleep.
together they grew into pines.
together always.
decorated with fresh ropes and tassels,
lightning bolts –
tied together by wind and sun,
rain and snow.
everlasting love.


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