After Hearing the Rain

wet
with the dew
of a heavy rain—
the scent of ozone
lingering still
 
          *
 
a bird cries
somewhere in a nest—
her shattered child
 
          *
 
the gate has opened—
I walk through
looking for salvation
 
          *
 
these are the souls
who wander
the desolate streets—
I search their eyes
they do not see
 
          *
 
in the street
after a heavy rain—
a moment of heat
 
          *
 

Thoughts on Time

the lost art
of statues and colonnades
sketched in time
 
         Ꚛ
 
stars slumber
as the sea water
that rings my feet
 
         Ꚛ
 
light mixed in shade
between the leaves
that line my feet
 
         Ꚛ
 
centuries old
as leaves whisper
on New England stone
 
         Ꚛ
 
another day
she wanders on
without a name

A Song Where I Belong

Inspired by Maxfield Parish’s “The Dinky Bird”
 
 
On the clouds
   Of fruit-filled dreams
 
I dream
   Of castles
      And fairy tales
 
 
One ladder
   Each step—
      A movement in time
 
 
Falling along a road
   Looking at the sky
Each kiss a melody—
   The words, a broken cord
 
 
Time protected
   In knots
And fortress walls
   As we swing by
 
 

Drops from Keido Fukushima’s “Leaves”

wind and sea—
the leaves we leave
for other generations
 
little by little—
the leaves line up
to be lifted by the wind
 
pure sky—
awakened to sound
of single leaf
 
trees and skies—
the generations grow
from leaf to leaf
 
running in the wind—
searching for “self”
in the veins of time
 
water and life—
a drop in the moon’s
midnight reflection
 
moon and sea—
the life force of Earth’s
wandering expression
 
step-by-step
across the plots

Variations on 'The short night--

Below are eleven Buson haiku
beginning with the phrase
'The short night--'

The short night--
on the hairy caterpillar
beads of dew.

The short night--
patrolmen
washing in the river.

The short night--
bubbles of crab froth
among the river reeds.

The short night--
a broom thrown away
on the beach.

The short night--
the Oi River
has sunk two feet.

The short night--
on the outskirts of the village
a small shop opening.

Variations At Home And Abroad

It takes a lot of a person's life
To be French, or English, or American
Or Italian. And to be at any age. To live at any certain time.
The Polish-born resident of Manhattan is not merely a representative of
general humanity
And neither is this Sicilian fisherman stringing his bait
Or to be any gender, born where or when
Betty holding a big plate
Karen crossing her post-World War Two legs
And smiling across the table
These three Italian boys age about twenty gesturing and talking

The old pond

Following are several translations
of the 'Old Pond' poem, which may be
the most famous of all haiku:

Furuike ya
kawazu tobikomu
mizu no oto

-- Basho

Literal Translation

Fu-ru (old) i-ke (pond) ya,
ka-wa-zu (frog) to-bi-ko-mu (jumping into)
mi-zu (water) no o-to (sound)

Translated by Fumiko Saisho

The old pond--
a frog jumps in,
sound of water.

Translated by Robert Hass

Old pond...
a frog jumps in
water's sound.

Populist Manifesto No. 1

Poets, come out of your closets,
Open your windows, open your doors,
You have been holed-up too long
in your closed worlds.
Come down, come down
from your Russian Hills and Telegraph Hills,
your Beacon Hills and your Chapel Hills,
your Mount Analogues and Montparnasses,
down from your foothills and mountains,
out of your teepees and domes.
The trees are still falling
and we’ll to the woods no more.
No time now for sitting in them
As man burns down his own house
to roast his pig

Japan

Today I pass the time reading
a favorite haiku,
saying the few words over and over.

It feels like eating
the same small, perfect grape
again and again.

I walk through the house reciting it
and leave its letters falling
through the air of every room.

I stand by the big silence of the piano and say it.
I say it in front of a painting of the sea.
I tap out its rhythm on an empty shelf.

I listen to myself saying it,
then I say it without listening,
then I hear it without saying it.

Impossible To Tell

to Robert Hass and in memory of Elliot Gilbert

Slow dulcimer, gavotte and bow, in autumn,
Bashõ and his friends go out to view the moon;
In summer, gasoline rainbow in the gutter,

The secret courtesy that courses like ichor
Through the old form of the rude, full-scale joke,
Impossible to tell in writing. 'Bashõ'

He named himself, 'Banana Tree': banana
After the plant some grateful students gave him,
Maybe in appreciation of his guidance

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