While digging a hole in the back garden to bury some old ingots, my hoe struck a box I’d buried previously and forgotten. In it I found some things penned when I was younger, about last July. At that time, Kimiko and I were staying in a hotel on Lake Biwa to do some concentrated, intensive resting up. The days then were overcast, grays on grays, sky, lake, land. I couldn’t help but write some haiku for the occasion.
Crushed between flowing liquid and air,
a thin line of stilled earth.
The horizon fascinated me. It was there and not there.
Gray lake, gray sky,
divided by a thin line,
figured by a gray haze.
Part of the haze was the pollution from Otsu’s factories. Hence:
Old, vast lake, older sky, sliced apart,
a thin line of gray human noise.
Docked below the hotel is my end-wheeler (paddle-steamer), the Michigan, a gift to Shiga Prefecture. I stood staring at it as memories of my childhood jumbled thru my skull.
A vision of Michigan
floating ‘tween sea, sky;
I longed for my home.
For those of us who have lived in Kyoto longer than a tour bus ride, we recognize the early morning droning of the begging monks from one of the Zen temples that dot the city. I have made it an unvarying habit to stand in front of my home and donate coins, rice, fruit to these men when they come to my neighborhood. And they come, knowing I will be there with something. (Once, about 30 years ago, when Kimiko and I were living in this very same area, we invited the monks, four of them at that time, upstairs to have some hot coffee and chocolate.) Here are a couple of haiku about this:
Awakened by dawn’s monks’ droning,
rush to donate rice;
my day blessed.
Shortchanged of sleep,
deserves its just reward,
handful of small change.