Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Nippon Extremities: Hokkaido III

August 5, 1997

Fog rises as a pillar from the trees,
Like the smoke from signal fires
To Ainu warriors long since dead.


Today the rain outlasts the day;
Wind borne waves
Crest horizontally through the air.
We can't go to the mountain,
Rain brings the mountain to us.
Sit naked in outdoor springs and sing,
Watch trees dance about beyond the steam.
Nothing to do but go back to the lodge,
And read Snyder in my bunk.

August 6

Fog swirls about like transparent witches
Rushing to the mountain wizard's coven.
Above the onsen,
An old birch tree
Raises gnarled arms
And directs the traffic.

Sunshine winks on lavender flowers,
White eyelid closing quickly, slyly.
Large rocks pushed down trail,
By yesterday's furious runoff.
Muddy tracks, 
Soon to be filled
By the next rain.
Across the lava fields,
Rock pillars lay as if discarded;
Stones piled toward the heavens
For the lost children,
Ever traveling,
Climbing to the land of endless bliss.
But as we ascend,
The eyelid again blinks,
And we find ourselves
Washed back toward the sea.

On the turntable:  Wynton Marsalis, "Live at the House of Tribes"

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