Tips of black spruce, pine and winter-bare ash
soft pierce the shallow white sky.
From the forest’s edge an eagle watches
stone-still December waters,
and a man passing. Over the fishway,
onto the snow covered dam
with his dog. A thousand sea ducks
drifting in the bay, dissolve like clouds.
Last night I gathered the ocean
and wore it on my head like a hat.
It was captive and could never last.
“Take a picture,” I asked a friend.
But by the time he figured out
the simple camera, it was too late.
Chunks of pages. Tattered spine, torn and broken. Masking tape repairs in various stages of disintegration. I bought the anthology “Modern Japanese Haiku” by Makoto Ueda, at the Queens University bookstore in 1977. We’ve lived together ever since.
I close the gate,
and sit alone with the stones
this beautiful night.
by Mizuhara Shuoshi
For weeks the Words were everywhere.
Creating their own syllabic rhythm and take.
Landscape to letters. Look up. Write down.
Suffering of the would-be-mindfully-aware.
Static of muse on the still morning air.
Cackle of grackles and barking of dogs.
Stillness is not a word. Emptiness either.
Look and listen. Cormorant glide?
Frost in the shadow of a curled brown leaf?
Now they are gone. Just when I was beginning
to understand. Words are nowhere to be found.
Just stand there.
Eyes open without a word,
close around nothing.
So close to sleep when the light went out.
Before the boy with the pocket knife
got on the crosstown bus.
Folding, unfolding the two inch blade.
Ringing the bell but never getting off.
Just sitting there, looking out the window.
It’s there. On the frozen shore
of Big Gut. In the dead grass
above the ice-coated tangle
of driftwood and rock.
Nothing, really. Emptiness.
An eagle. Feathers and bones.