From the Icebox inbox – 22

The wan hosta *
I watered at dawn
Now in blazing heat

………………………… (David Stormer)

heat advisory
carousel ponies
in wild-eyed circles

………………………… (Michael Henry Lee)

Orange squash blossoms
Picked for summer salad —
Their purpose cut short

………………………… (David Sinex)

sky peeps in through
mango leaves and bougainvillea –

………………………… (Brinda Runghsawmee)

in the spreading oak tree
– heart murmurs

………………………… (Dave Lewis)

* hosta is sometimes called ‘plantain lily’; giboshi in Japanese. See for a photo

9 Responses to “From the Icebox inbox – 22”

  1. Thank you to all who have submitted haiku, senryu or tanka to the Icebox this past couple of months. I will soon open a new Submissions page below the present one, as it has got a little long. If this selection has any theme, I think it might be something like ‘plants holding on’. Personally, although I don’t know exactly what Dave Lewis was pointing to with his final phrase, ‘heart murmurs’, his haiku particularly appealed to me….. as the oak trees beyond my house up on Mt. Ogura in Kyoto are just beginning to be ravaged by a terrible plague, borne by a beetle, which can wither a hundred-year-old oak-tree in full leaf in no time at all. The great oaks spread their arms for butterflies, but I dread no buds in the spring. The diseased ones have to be felled. The NPO I work for is at present trying to find a way to help the ailing Kyoto oaks. It’s been a long and very hot summer.

  2. With regard to the new Submissions thread, would it be possible to have the newest posts on top? Just a thought. Thank you for all of your hard work.

    • Fixed, at last! It’s all or nothing on WordPress: all comments are now displayed with newer ones at top. This could be a disadvantage with threads other than those at Submissions, but anyway let’s see.

  3. Dear friends,
    I am sorry to hear that nara-gare (oak plague) has reached Kyoto and oak trees are dying on Mt. Ogura. I took a local train on the Yonesaka line from Yonezawa in Yamagata Prefecture to Sakamachi in Niigata Prefecture three years ago. At one point, I saw the whole mountain of dead oak trees, brown in the middle of other greens. I thought it was worse than matsu-gare (pine plague). Scientists blame insects, but I feel the real cause lies elsewhere. Probably, air pollution has triggered these plagues. I believe that the dead or dying trees are warning us that their fate will be ours before long. Dear Tito, your attempt to stop the plague on Mt. Ogura is heroic, and you have my best wishes, but I am afraid no one can to stop the plague once it is rampant.
    An eye of that fish
    From Minamata Bay
    Appears in my cold sleep.

  4. What next! Dutch Elm Disease, the invasive Emerald Ash Borer insect, oak plague . . . and pines, too?

    Our city (St. Paul, Minnesota) once had nearlu every street protected and adorned with canopies of mighty elms reaching 50 feet tall or more. Now they are almost all wiped away. Only a few remain, those secluded or spawned from seed that still circulates, but only sparingly. These elms are more substantial and cold hardy than those one might find in Sendai, but most grow in alleys and empty, un-cared for areas.

    We have a few in a space left “wild” near my door. One in particular, maybe 30 years old, created soothing shade only a few paces down the lane from where i live. I noticed it was unhealthy, withering away with the first greening of this past spring. By July, you could see where the beetles had emerged from beneath its bark, its life’s blood oozing from the wounds and infested with flies drinking its sap.

    I returned home yesterday to see it was gone, cut down by the city’s forestry sevice, leaving a gaping, arid hole where it once stood.

    I named it “99”, for the red marks painted on its bark by the city. I’ve been meaning to write something about it. I have a few photos to remember it by. As for the beautiful, cloistered canopies that once were abundant, I only have fading memories.

  5. We are trying out comments in the newer-at-top, older-at-bottom order for a while. Leave the eds. a complaint message in another month if you cannot get used to it, anyone.

    In Nobuyuki’s comment (Sosui), ‘your attempt’ is a plural ‘your’, for I work in consort with several others in the NPO called ‘People Together for Mt. Ogura’, and we have a meet in a just a few hours hence about this plague and the survey we have made. We fully realize that we cannot stop the plague; only minimize its consequences and help the city or its subcontractors, as well as show young people what is happening in the natural world on the edge of town. To make them aware. There is certainly something in the idea that acid rain, pollution, hot summers/mild winters, and other largely man-made problems have fundamentally weakened the trees. It’s a horrible thought perhaps, but I too see it as a warning – too many people, too insensitive to the consequences of what they are doing; so very likely we too will succumb to a great die-back once we have first been sufficiently weakened . To be strong and watchful – and, above all, to THINK – is surely what is asked of us all.

    I enjoyed Willie’s comment account of tree no. 99 in St. Paul. The absence of a familiar tree or trees is like losing love or loyalty or daily support. No wonder did Basho conclude his Genjuan-no-Ki (an account of a sojourn in a hermitage in Shiga) with the haiku:

    Mazu tanomu / shii no ki mo ari / natsu kodachi
    My chief retainer –
    The dear pasania oak
    In this summer grove.

    Dave’s ‘heart murmurs’ surely has a lot of (possibly unintended) resonance.

  6. Missing a kick
    at the icebox
    it closes anyways

    by Jack Kerouac

  7. butterflies…

    nice work. magical imagery. yet, there seems to be a subtle ambiquity in there?

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