This is a recent one inspired by a trip to the mountains that I took with Natalia, Julian, and a French-speaking doctor friend who takes us places. The mountains were like nothing I've ever seen before, steep enough to almost be cliffs and absolutely covered in Maple and cherry trees and bamboo (which is sort of a light green and tends to bend sort of like a weeping willow when there are lots of branches together). And for those who don't know, every tall mountain, and most of the smaller mountains too, have a dedicated shrine to some godling or another from Shinto rites. This is exactly how I scribbled it down, but it needs work still.

"Mountain Evening"
Mist shrouded mountains sit silently,
Trees and life so green it whispers black
A bird's cry threads its way through trees
The sound of drums echoes across the valleys
Bamboo bends under the touch of wind
Its sharp, relaxing smell brings peace.
Wind continues to dance through leaves
Bringing the heavy taste of blooming flowers
On the edges of mountains, small shrines stand
The resonating, deep pluntk of water clocks
Edges along the path and draws guests to open gates
A lily blooms into graceful color and life
The mountains sing their song into sun and stars.

 

~~~

This was written in the same mood as Mountain Evening, but it was done at a different time. It's meant to be sort of surreal, there are moments in Japan that you get this odd overlay where a scene could just as easily be from two hundred years ago as today. A kasa (said like the Spanish word for house "me casa es tu casa" bleh lol) is an umbrella, though I was going for the feel of the more traditional Japanese umbrella, and geta (say "get a" with a short 'a' really, really fast) are the traditional formal shoes rather like flip-flops made of wood. There are no native willows in Japan, that line actually refers to bamboo but as I already mentioned, bamboo gets a weeping willow look when there is a lot of it. The original title is in Japanese (yuu ame no naka yume), but I've translated it for here.

"A dream in the Evening Rain"
Rain whispers faintly through the leaves,
splattering and rippling in puddles and streams.
The soft cries of a song bird fade away
And night flies in to darken the path.
Tall branches sway in the breeze from the sea
Willowy arms protecting from the wayward rain
As soft feet tread the darkened, empty path
Ghosting through shadows like a forgotten dream,
A kasa twirls and throws stray droplets .
Geta click softly and pause under a beam of light
A bejeweled eye peers into the dark.
Clothing flicks in a sharp brush of the hand
and the stranger wanders back into the night.

 

~~~~

 

Yes, this is an obvious relation to the Father and Sun. I'm not Catholic, so I don't want to hear anything about the stars being saints. :p This does, certainly, come from the anxiousness that I began to feel about being in a place so different from my own home. I do believe, however, that people give hope to one another. The power of hope is as great as that of despair, they are simply two ends of the same determination. More of a short prose than a poem....
 

Hidden Presence

I lay on this grassy hill of home and stare at the stars and sky of the night.. Still the sky seems empty, thought darkness is thick. What a fearsome thing the night if not for stars and the moon. They dance their way through the night always shining and they strength surprises me... How difficult to be bright night after night. The moon shines in its passes, the brightest thing in the night sky, reflecting the brilliance of the sun. We stare at the sky like lost children, sometimes seeing the empty, thick darkness, sometimes the stars. It is more difficult to avoid the light in the day, when the sun warms the earth and makes the flowers bloom. IT is night when we feel confused and afraid. Even then, there is light to guide us if we see the gift there for us. We shine to each other, and even when the sun and moon do not look over us, we can still see the world dance in its living pattern. Because sometimes, like children, we forget that just because we cannot see the great masters of heaven, does not mean that they are not there.