Monday, April 26, 2010

100 Verses at Sebastopol

Part 1

This April morning
Before the sun has risen
Brief, cool, spring showers

I walk through the silent house
A shadow among shadows

Birds migrating north
Find their way between the clouds
And the horizon

Picking up friends on the way
Clusters of young schoolchildren

The waitress pauses
Scanning the new customers
Then fixes her smile

At the end of the long day
By herself on the park bench

A first-quarter moon
Hovering near Jupiter
Caresses the sky

He clears the dinner table
It is son number two’s turn

Part 2

Bluejays repairing
The same nest they used last year
And the year before

The entire forest bows
To the mountain deity

He observes the time,
“Wish me luck,” said in a rush
As he leaves for work

The sun, on its journey south,
Is far past the equator

Autumn in the sky
But the leaves have not yet turned
Though the grass is brown

But there is a hint of cold
Particularly at night

And the flocks of geese
Dark against the setting sun
The curve of the hills

Insects at night seem to know
They are singing their last song

Libra holds the moon
Which seems to halt on its path
Until a cloud clears

She just can’t make up her mind
Which courses to take this year

A dog starts to bark,
Then hears its owner calling,
Turns and runs inside

“On the other hand,” he says,
“I do not see it that way.”

Thick golden yellow,
The Acacia in bloom
Allergy season

She’s planting native species
In the redesigned garden

Part 3

Cutbacks by the Board,
A public corporation,
Leads to more litter

Dvd’s fill the bookshelves;
Star Trek, Buffy, TNG . . .

Mom raises her voice,
“Have you finished your homework?”
“But it’s Friday night!”

Finally free of parents
They meet, as planned, at the mall

They were friends of friends,
They didn’t know each other,
The first night they met

It’s such a delight to see
The face one loves approaching

An awkward moment,
One has nothing left to say,
Boredom in her eyes

Into the silence one speaks
And right away feels regret

Now we have to part,
It didn’t start out that way,
When did things go wrong?

Fired from his job today
He feels oddly elated

All those pairs of feet
On the stairs of the subway –
Where are they going?

“But if you ask me,” she says,
“You can’t trust any of them.”

May evenings are cold,
And they sure last a long time,
Waiting for the bus

The barest sliver remains,
Just before the new moon’s time

Part 4

Bats in ghostly flight
Across the star covered sky
To the farmers’ fields

Creatures of the realm of night
A world hidden by our dreams

Trucks in the distance
A highway through the valley
From places unknown

Snails leave tracks on the window
Traces of their wanderings

In the summer heat
I saw the mayflies dancing
In a ray of light

Two dogs napping in the sun,
Their owner waters potted plants

“Good morning neighbor.
I brought you some cucumbers
And some tomatoes.”

In the refrigerator
There’s enough food for five days

Counter cat watching
As canned tuna gets added
To the tossed salad

Brisk winds pushing the thin clouds
Past the face of the full moon

Bathed in the moonlight
Rabbits are bowing deeply
To the sky above

Autumn evenings are quiet
Compared to spring or summer

A vase of flowers
Seems especially fragile
At this time of year

“It’s not the vase that’s fragile,
It’s the flowers in the cold.”

Part 5

So many acorns
From the branches of the oak
Two or three may sprout

Just halfway across the field
A cluster of red Madrones

“Do you think that trees
Are conscious of each other?
Do they have feelings?”

She asks her neighbor and friend
As they watch their children play

“I wonder if I should work,
We really need the money.”

Fertilizing the garden
From the kitchen compost heap

Tea leaves harvested
On the Himalayan slopes
And farms in Taiwan

A warm cup of Darjeeling
Served in a London Tea Room

Two old friends sit down
Sharing their respective weeks
The time of their lives

At the local garden club
Showing off their best flowers

These Gemini days,
With everything fresh and full,
New and different

Pine incense, purchased today,
Slowly fills the quiet room

While moonlight gathers
In deep pools in the corners
A child sings a rhyme

The Goddess of Summertime
Dances in the solstice night

Part 6

Clear December skies;
Scientists take careful notes –
Vanishing glaciers

Mountaintop meadows are dry
Wind blows dust to the valleys

The sluggish river
Gossamer clouds in the night
And no August wind

It is grandmother’s birthday
Time for family history

But these two cousins
Only see each others’ eyes,
Hear each others’ breath

Behind the wooden garage
Experimental kisses

Twenty years later
At grandfather’s funeral
Memories bring smiles

“I remember it clearly,
It was a night just like this.”

A full summer moon
Seems to race across the stars
While airplanes hover

Heat in deep February
Yields long and dreamless evenings

Magnolia blossoms,
Their intoxicating scent
Saturates the room

A cup of warm spearmint tea
After the meditations

Thick blankets piled high
On frigid August mornings
Are such a comfort

She’d really like to linger
And put a few hours on hold

Part 7

What would it be like
To remember all the things
Seen by a mountain?

Yet even they are like dust
In the cosmic tides of time

Almost all lifeforms
That have breathed upon the earth
Have become extinct

I met the God of Rivers,
He was thousands of years old

Yosemite cliffs;
Two lovers walk hand in hand
On the valley floor

The steady October wind
Bends the long grass in the fields

Rocks in the garden
Watch day and night come and go
And the season’s flow

Earthrise on the distant moon;
An astronaut stands in awe

A small pale blue dot,
The mother of all of us,
Sails through the void

Sand dunes in a vast desert
Shift a little month by month

Buried in a jar
During a time of turmoil
An ancient codex

In the middle of the night
The slow chanting of the psalms

Rippling silver light
From the half full waxing moon
Cools the summer air

A content coyote strolls
Past the suburban houses

Part 8

It is 3 p.m.,
The light of the sun seems harsh
In a traffic jam

“Isn’t technology grand?”
While putting on sunglasses

Sometimes we forget
The world is more than human,
More than you and I

Darkness of a full eclipse
While dragons fly through the sky

Falling from heaven
Celestial flowers rain
Upon those who love

Suddenly a strong spring breeze
Melts the snow and warms the trees

Overnight they’ve bloomed,
The cherry trees have blossomed,
A dazzling display

“What are you listening to?”
“The song that is sung by time.”

This Solo Hyakuin Renga is Dedicated to Sogi

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