STORM BRIDGE MOONLIGHT
I. Bamboo spring sprouts rise like a challenge
to the quiet breeze outside my doorway,
pathfinder that it is, advance guard
to the next day's stormy confusion.
The sake has become a silver mirror
to reflect both fragile moonbeam slivers
and solitary evening thoughts
of previous evening respites. The lone pine
casts a long and nostalgic shadow
on my heart as I watch the bamboo bend,
each small gust through fronds
a cold chill winter wind
through my recollections,
till the shadows merge in dusky confluence.
High, high upon the deceitful nighttime zephyr
a mournful No flute confesses sad secrets,
its rusty voice filled with reproach for untold eons
of neglect and regretful misunderstanding.
Time is left only to sing a brief
and sad refrain
of moments gone forever,
passed beyond any mortal grasp
II. Tomorrow the storms,
full with fury and nature's unthinking
devastation. Wind and tumult exalting,
the rain returns to pound the mere hopes
of fragile human dust
with vengeance born of
disregard for man's weak and vulnerable pleas.
III. Today a death,
tomorrow a love,
there seems no rhythm, no constancy,
just pragmatic blunder on the poorly illuminated
stage of daily experience.
Last week, while reveling in wind and icy snow,
the spirit in the skis sang a dangerous
and melancholy song along the crust
of the Sierra ridge. I listened....
and recognized a painful and lovely memory
dancing through the umbra
of the wind-swept wastes.
It was ameliorated, fortune
and faith be praised,
by distracting contrapuntal melodies
of far removed and distant
times and events…
the ever-present tide of the moment.
IV. Then, this evening, returning home
from the sad web of loss spun
in the temple of mortality today,
my eyes fell upon the pictures conspicuous on the butsudan...
The Husky dog, caught forever smiling,
as the great northern dogs are wont to do
perpetually, while by its side
the slim Asian woman leaning forever
on her hiking staff, outlined by trees
frozen on the flanks of summer hills.
It Is a self-invoked sadness
to confront these painful images
in all the perfect imagery
of their capture. A walking-on of coals,
a worrying of bites, insect-delivered
upon slender, insatiable feet.
they continue, too important to ever
run the risk of being banished
to dark containers as mere memories
frozen on paper
by the unforgiving yet not entirely heartless
eye of the camera.
V. The rice Is nearly finished. The sake cup now empty.
An evening of sweet and sour wondering has drained them, as all
other elements of a sorrowful dream
flee quickly to oblivion with the rising of the sun a’morn.
Perhaps sleep will be merciful,
a wooden draught of unconscious moments,
spanning two shores
In non-conductive, striding boots.....
For the worst,
and most painful demons of recollection
sow their seeds of regret
in the smallest hours of the
when even the most hope-filled
song of morning's promise
shrivels in mid-utterance.
A prayer for dawn,
an endless swim
in the seas of night...
to greet the storms of morning...