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