I chanced to espy
The ever-flowing winding river
Beside the ancient shrine of Iriso
I recall my fateful fascination
As if a spell was cast on me
By spirits that dwelled therein.
A voiceless call it was
To clasp my hands
As if in inevitable prayer
To the deities sheltered there -
And then to grasp
The dangling rope
To sound the gong
Of conclusive stance
And receive respite from griefs and wants.
Decades on beyond Iriso
I chanced to espy
The ever-winding narrowing river
Beside which a glistening cathedral tree,
The Ginkgo biloba, blazed its galactic glory
Shrouding all that once graced the riverbank.
A sudden call it was
A great awakening
As the mind unfurled its unintentional stream
Of lived moments of frolic and swirling mounds
Of glorious ginkgo foliage at Chikozan -
Where once you beckoned me
To come surrender all
To the locked charms of touch and thrill --
A benediction of union and joy fulfill
Like the fan-shaped leaf,
A union of twin spheres --
A brief reminder of life's golden hues as I grieve
Each passing fall and fallen leaves.
To these green hills
I came - not knowing
If I would find the thrills
I left behind - quivering
I climbed aboard
And swiftly tied the knot.
Warm tropical breezes
From whence I came - trailing
Across the southern seas
They bade me ride along - whispering
My name in soft refrain
Like blessed cleansing rain.
To these enchanted hills
I came and stayed - flaunting
The distant call so shrill
That all things depart like summer's passing -
Alone, I touch the autumn air
Be that my sweet despair.
At summer's end -
Facing the colossal strides
Across the vast divide -
First, of fall's gaudy landscapes
And random splashes
Of discarded foliage in its wake -
Its flaming shades of mirth and woe
Reflect life's fleeting passage to the core.
And soon to winter's dreary haze
And gloom of darkening days -
Snowy clouds drift o'er the barren fields
To chill the dregs from autumn's wrath -
The cruel innocence of cleansing snow
Draping all in its solemn path
Gives respite to life's tedious toil
And hibernation from it all.
Thence to wake from sleep
The mindless rites of spring to greet -
A time of whims and fragile dreams
Flurrying like scattered petals in the air
To wilt on roadsides everywhere -
Like autumn's tragic revelry
And winter's chilly stance
Springtime's frailty join in the dance.
I await the breath of summer
With its bold redeeming rays
Gathering strength, as its radiance stays
To unfurl the heat of life and resounding
Joy that spur the fruit of creation
In the fiery breast of inspiration -
Basking in the midsummer bliss and blaze
I yield all to its sweet embrace.
Ah, until summer comes again!
A streak of sunlight
Streamed through my window
Caressing my still slumbering eyes -
I lifted the blind to catch the morning glow -
A pair of flapping crows swooped past in flight
Cawing their soulful cries.
A chorus of chirping crickets
And buzzing insects filled the air -
A nightingale's call among the pines
Shrilled faintly in the woods behind -
A cuckoo trailed along its late summer song
Lamenting the fast-approaching fall.
A soft breeze gushed by
Rustling the leaves, as morning dew
Rolled and dripped like teardrops
On the parched earth below -
Igniting the day you went away
Leaving an afterglow and warmth of you.
In the crisp air and brightening skies
A deep longing fills my heart -
The maples beyond my window
Quiver in agony to shed their crimson glory -
My thoughts fly far to where you are -
Yearning for the joys of old summers
Lingering on like lotus strands
Etched in memory forever and forever.
The park is bare and still -
Alone I sit
Beneath the sheath of lacy green
Couched snugly in its warm embrace -
Glowering heat caress my cheeks
Beads of wetness
Trickle down my neck
Tickling my breasts
Like hot tears
Scorching my heaving chest.
A crimson dragonfly
Flits idly by
A fleeting reminder
Of warm tropical nights long gone
When my heart was young and gay
Now forlorn and worn
As old memories fade away
And life takes on another day.
Alone I sit
And weave my dreams anew
With silken threads
And distant thoughts of you
Piecing the tapestry of our world
Of gossamer and rose-scented hues
Reaped from our garden
And sighing lotus ponds
As we tarried and mouthed our songs
In tune with birds and beasts and sun
And nature all around.
Flutter in the breeze
Stirring aflame the vibrant strings
That bind our hearts and dreams in one -
The meandering river flows blissfully on
As impotently as the approaching night
Solemnly enveloping me in its plight.
On my quilt of hope
I dream on wistfully -
Oh, when will you end your long journey?
The green hills of Chichibu
Glisten in the twilight glow
Cottony clouds in neat array
Blaze across the hilltops
In the far horizon
To where you are
Toiling in distant Vineyards
In earnest missionary zeal.
Soon the winds will come
And chill the leafless hills of Chichibu
Freezing my aching heart -
The grassy fields of Chikozan
Whose carpeted warmth
Hath thrilled our limbs
And shielded our frenzied whims
Will crumble straw-like in the wind -
Our pond, where cries of mating frogs
Rippled in watery symphony
Will fizzle in tomb-like stillness -
Our ducks too fly off
To seek their eternity.
Oh, come back soon
And hold back the sunset
Before the last leaf falls!
Wherein lies the peak of life
When all's been said and done?
I return to the park
retrieve the bench -
the warmth is gone.
The sandpit is still awash with sand
my sons had bathed themselves
in times of yore
and flung the grains in glee midair
like fluff from wilted daisies
when summer's done.
The swings still sway in the breeze
but the seats are bare -
the boys in sheer delight
both shrieked and shrilled
with each forward push
I made to spur them on -
ascending skyward with pointed toe
and descending feverishly
with the downward ebb and flow.
In time they'll come to know
the rhythm of the swings
resonating from within
the very ups and downs of later life.
As I watched them in their fervor
to reach the heights
soaring as if to touch a passing cloud -
I thrilled with each thrust they made
and recognized the splendid wonder in their eyes -
I had been there too.
The blazing field before us
Quivering in the sunlight,
Green teeming all around
Zooming to the heavens above -
The silent trees climb high.
A quiet breeze stirs
And sways the laden branches.
Atop the highest sprig
A restless warbler perched,
Bobbing its tiny frame
Silhouetted against the sky -
Scanning eagerly for its mate.
A sudden cry - and earthwards
It swooped, flapping into the fragrant grove.
The warm touch of your hand in mine
Reminds me summer is upon us.
You came with the call of Spring
To this rural land,
Still barren and cold
With the tears of yesterday.
You came like a shaft of light
To warm the depths within
And melt the quiet pain
Of life's trodden paths.
I hear the sweet call of Spring,
A song you sing to me
Of love divine
And godly grace.
My soul ignited, took flight
And glowed in earnest heed,
My being cried out in streams
Of joy and tears.
Abundant leaves, abundant love,
Fresh and flourishing,
A vivid Vineyard - intertwined,
A canopy of green descends
Where once pink blossoms
laced the sky;
With springtime spent
and fallen petals
scattered in the wind -
Oh, where are you?
The bugs and bees have flown
Where once they suckled
the honeyed breasts
of rosebuds coy;
Their tattered tassels
now a random heap -
Oh, where are you?
The rains have come and gone
Where once you lauded
the veiled-in cozy comfort
Snug and sheltered all around,
A steamy blur humidity now abound -
Oh, where are you?
The warm breath of summer
beckons, a needed reassurance
Of velvet dreams
and many-gloried nights;
Your fiery chest entwined in mine,
We swirled sublime in the sunshine -
Oh, tarry not, the sun's gathering strength!
The pale hills of Chichibu
Stretch across the skyline
Like a heavy veil
I could not reach.
A slip of silvery moon
Hangs in the distant sky
by a floating cloud
I could not comprehend.
I sit alone in Chiko-zan
among the reeds and weeds
now stiff and knee-high;
Oh, when will the moonbeams
come to light up your path
and bring you home.
I behold Mt. Fuji
snow-capped and erect
in the distance--
Fuji and I
in perfect harmony
Feeding my primal need
for godly strength.
In my mind's eye
You drifted into view
where Fuji stood-
Your head cloud-shrouded
in the distance,
I could not trace
the fine features of your face.
Phantom-like you shriveled
from my sight--
Now a cut-out, I feel you there
against the garden wall
damp with the undergrowth of
dead leaves and vines
clinging on precariously.
This mirage of yesterday
lay still within the inward mind-
Will the fire of spring
stoke the dying embers
of memory when you return
to cast aside Mt. Fuji
and take your rightful place?
I strain to catch the first ripple
from the thawing snows
caressing the hills and vales;
Call to me when you are near
and I shall hasten my footsteps
to hold you for real.
You came to meet me
in the famed rose garden
The air was all astir
with the beckoning scent
of perfumed breezes.
In the floral symphony
I treaded cautiously
along a gossamer path.
My head in a tizzy
my breast on fire
my heart brimming with uncertainty.
Kissed by dewdrops at the blush of dawn
embraced by the morning sun;
blowing roses whisper tenderness.
Moved by a honey-sucking bee,
you nosed a rosebud gently
and pressed it firmly on my cheek.
The warmth of fragrant lips
and sensuous scent of you ignited
at once a blossoming I had kept intact.
The flowering roses coyly sighed
as bugs and bees gaily flitted by;
my soul exalted, joined in the revelry.
You wrapped your sweet arms around me,
whispering rose-tinted messages -
my world an exploding garden!
I look around me and wonder why
the sky above is all aglow
with the fast-fading sunset
flickering at the line of dusk.
I view the reed-filled pond
before me, where croaking frogs
once filled the air with cries
you said were love-calls.
Ducks in paired formation
glided off in haste to roost
in nesting places
away from sight and sound.
A pink lotus once resplendent
above the muddy water, now sagged;
A lone crow flapped its gusty wings
and cawed its soulful cry above my head.
Alike, you left to toil in distant shores
beyond my realm and reach;
the foothills of Chichibu once ablaze
now lay shrouded in the evening haze.
I catch a falling leaf
drifting my way in the wind.
What message does it bear?
'Tis the summer's passing, I do fear.
I grow cold with the gathering chill,
waiting for my love.