Writing Japan

toriiofshannoshrine

(internet photo: Torii of Shanno Shrine in Nagasaki after atomic bomb was dropped on August 9, 1945. It was the only thing that withstood the explosion in the area)
A friend challenged me to write a poem about Japan; this is what I came up with.

Japan is a tsunami,
a world of samurai and sumo
ikebana and kamikaze.
The land of the rising sun
graces us with cherry blossoms
and temples that flow
from a calligraphy brush.

Earthquakes reverberate
half a world away,
carry strength
to the west,
remnants of people’s live
swept out to sea.

A crewless “ghost ship”
sails to Haida Gwaii.
While we sip exotic tea
and inspect wreckage,
Hiroshima and Nagasaki
disturb us with grace,
slowly dissolving.

Japan is a sculptured garden,
glass and sleek steel
arranged with precision
next to paper walled teahouses,
Mount Fuji an elegant backdrop
to bullet trains that shuttle
honorable tradition
into a unpruned future.

Thanksgiving

Attitude
Gratitude
Acknowledging life’s gifts

Grace and wisdom
Dignity, beauty, poise
Large family gatherings
Laughter and noise

Pumpkin pie and turkey
Gravy poured with ease
Cranberries as elegant garnish
for abundant dinner, so tasty

A prayer of thanks
Recognizing all that has been given
Appreciation for life’s bounty
All that makes life worth livin’

Grateful for life’s blessings
Goodness all around
Thankful for friends and family
Whose support and love know no bounds

The Chase

Self compassion peeks
tentatively
around a corner
aware of censor lurking
ready to pounce on any opportunity
Forming an unholy trinity
along with self judgment and perfection
this triad wields a hefty mallet
capable of quashing any forward progress

As compassion takes a chance
stepping into the limelight
the chase is on
Prudence and caution
dart in and out
with guilt and blame
they hunt
grace and tenderness

Hope and resilience join
to give compassion strength
together they soundly rise above
negative quibbles
They giggle with the realization
that censor is not the authoritative leader
it deliberately claims to be

Compassion’s gentle trio
add a breezy freshness to outlook
Sending censor, judgment and perfection
back to the shadows
void of their influence