Hirosawa Pond Ginko & Sean’s Farewell Concert

Kyoto, Nov. 4. Hitomi Suzuki hosted a composition stroll (吟行ginko) round Hirosawa Pond in northwest Kyoto. P1210523-Clearing after rain. Reddening persimmon and maple leaves. Traces of nocturnal animals. Waterbirds galore. Priest Zuigen 瑞元of Inkuji Temple 印空寺 welcomed us in and showed us how to write with a pointed pebble on the back of the leaves of his 300-year-old tarayou タラヨウtree (also known as hagaki no ki 葉書の木). Used to write on before the invention of paper, or so we were told. Diagonal rays of afternoon sun. Past ancient cherries, reed-beds and flowering tea bushes – petite, white, with golden stamen bursts and an Earl Grey scent. John spotted a heronry at the foot of graceful Chiyoharayama (“Saga Fuji” according to Hitomi). Sean and Junko joined us for tea and haiku sharing at the Suzukis’ home – triple-decker cake stand crowned with sugared kumquats. A few of the haiku composed:

….. We gathered
….. At the postcard tree,
….. Then wrote poems
….. On its leaves
…………………………………….. Tito

P1210504-

….. Deer footprints…
….. Zipper-like
….. They dot the lane
……………………………………… Hitomi Suzuki

….. Wind changing
….. The shape of stripes
….. White, blue, green –
….. Surface of the pond
…………………………………….. Hisako Kutsuki

….. Far from the world’s care,
….. The expanse of Saga’s fields…
….. A place to breathe deep
…………………………………….. John McAteer

And on went some of us to Tree of Repose in Saga, where Kazue Gill was waiting with spring rolls, elderflower cordial and Stephen provided roast Ogura venison. P1210547a-Irish singer, Sean O’Connor, then entertained the gathering of evening poets with a traditional Tipperary home recital, adding some pieces specially for Belfast-born David, whose eyes were seen to glisten in the autumn night. In the interval, John McAteer read to us from Yeats. Gratitude to Sean and Junko, who bothered to come to Kyoto to say goodbye to their haiku friends here. At the end of the evening a bouquet of flowers was presented to Sean by Tito on behalf of the dozen or so assembled… and indeed those further Hailstone poets who would have liked to have come and may be reading this now. Godspeed back to the Emerald Isle.

….. Tonight’s moon unseen
….. a house lamp glowing deeper
….. in the pond’s last light
……………………………………. Sean O’Connor

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5 Responses to “Hirosawa Pond Ginko & Sean’s Farewell Concert”

  1. Your terse style works well for me, Tito, in presenting that dense succession of images. Sounds like a great day. Who wrote that haiku on the postcard tree leaf – and am I reading it correctly?

    A quince
    Lying under dwarf bamboo
    Left by a boar?

    • Hi, Norman. Yes, you have that quince haiku down correctly. It is mine. It’s not very easy to write with a pointed pebble on the back of a leaf! Please come out here sometime and try.

  2. I’ll certainly add that to my to-do list!

  3. I have never been to Inkuji, so I look it up on the Internet. I was able to see the big tree and a sample of its leaves. This tree reminded me of the Signature Tree at Cool Park in west Ireland. This is where Lady Gregory lived and worked for the establishment of Irish Literary Revival. Many famous Irish poets, including W.B. Yeats, have left their signatures on the trunk of this tree. Writing a haiku on the back of a leaf is a wonderful practice. But leaves dwindle in a short time. I wonder if the temple could keep the pictures of the leaves with poems on their back. Who knows. One day you might have a poem written on a leaf by a famous poet like Yeats. NY

  4. Richard Donovan Says:

    As Sean intimates, sometimes we have to make our own light in this world. It illumines all those around us. Thank you, Sean and Junko, for brightening things up for us in Okayama and Kyoto.

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