hanami verses


they that bloom most strongly in the night

When the cherry blossoms all fall from the trees they group together in massed piles, a kind of strange writing on the dark ground which can almost be read but yet somehow is impossible to transcribe.  In this season, verses want to be written and lines drop through the air, linking together in drifted quatrains.

This year’s cherry-blossom renshi (連詩) — linked poetry — written in rounds by Kiyoko Ogawa (小川聖子), Yoko Danno, Ikumi (Ikuyo) Yoshimura, Goro Takano (高野吾朗) and myself.


久方(ひさか た)の光 のどけき春の日に
紀 友則

the heaven full of sunlight
a vernal day passes by leisurely,
why then do you blossoms alone
hurry to fall without composure?

Ki no Tomonori
(trans. by Kiyoko Ogawa)


Without composure my dress has opened.
A dozen fish mule out wildly
in all directions. The compass
has no name for these affinities.

— Trane


Affinities between this butterfly
and me – an eternity for the insect
but a few seconds on my palm
before clapping my hands in worship

— Yoko


A child who had lost his loved one
in my last night’s dream was staring
at a lonely coconut washed upon
the uninhabited shore all day

— Goro


this house has been uninhabited
but inhabited by staring souls;
were it not for physical clothes,
i would never have worried about the timeless

— Kiyoko


It might be true that timeless magpies
made the bridge over the night sky,
and the celestial nymph was weaving
star dust into seven-colored cloth

— Ikuyo


“Star dust falls from her hair”
sounds beautiful, until you think of dandruff.
Why isn’t dandruff beautiful?
Floating through the air like tanpopo drifts.

— Trane


Tanpopo fluff hanging in the air,
rootless and antenna-less,
goes sailing with every shift of wind –
tomorrow may be a turn for a resurrection

— Yoko


For the advent of a new day I defrost
a hope preserved for a long time in a fridge
and, when stir-frying it, for a change,
use a new spice made from my own umbilical cord

— Goro


a black chihuahua held by a red cord
barked at me who was weeping.
the man scolded the beast –  it won’t do.
have i ever talked to my child with that sweetness ?

— Kiyoko


a handmade sweet chocolate cake
on the garden table under magnolia in full bloom
we rave about his fancy cooking
but I’ve never had something like worms

— Ikuyo


Worms too, have their season.
When the weather warms and the rain falls
they slip from the ground in bundles
of pink and meaty cracker confetti.

— Trane


cups and glasses unwrapped,
clothes still hanging in the wardrobe,
bundles of goods for removal on the floor,
stop falling, sakura, I’m not ready yet!

— Yoko


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