Gods & Buddhas Forest Walk in Nara
As the Lord of the Forest stepped into a sunbeam, we stood there spellbound. A fully-antlered stag, with his hinds and fawns nearby, gave us just a single glance: one of many marvellous moments experienced by the Hailstone poets who collected in Nara on 22 October for a composition stroll (ginko) in the primeval forest 原始林 near Kasuga Shrine 春日大社.
Hesitant poets / cross the beck / on freshly-placed stones (Michael L.)
Yellow leaves on the path / through the virgin forest … / soft sunlight (Akito Mori)
Not far from the ancient Shinto shrine is the village of Takabatake, with its treasure of a temple, Shinyakushiji (あらたかな薬師の寺), in which we found a set of magnificent life-size clay statues more than 1,200 years old – the Twelve Heavenly Generals 十二神将.
Fragrance of / the Silk Road – / pomegranates ripen (Kyoko Nozaki)
Lunch was taken sitting on a polished wooden floor in Kanoko Restaurant; and, a couple of hours later, we returned to a cafe around the corner, where we were given a room to ourselves to share what we had written so far. In between, some of the poets wandered off out of town past Shirachi Jinja along the Old Yagyu Road.
At the secluded Shrine / of the White Nipple – / meeting a jovial woman (Tito)
The morning sun had faded into a fine, warm drizzle by late afternoon, so that as we wound our way back to the Floating Pavilion 浮見堂 at Sagi Pond, the still water was very slightly hissing. The quiet, dreamy mood was occasionally interrupted by a noise which, more than three centuries earlier, Basho had described as ‘biiiiii’!
Deer in silhouette / Crying high and low – / Dusk on the pond (Reiko Hayahara)