Pigeons in Paris

Pigeons in Paris – panic and take flight – But still alight on – a kind hand outstretched. – a five syllable mountain poem Paris is still here. We have found the city predictably subdued and the security can feel oppressive, albeit necessary, at times. That said, we have been universally welcomed by all. It’s […]

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Ancient screams echo

Ancient screams echo – through cold granite corridors. – The lord sleeps above. – a haiku poem Written after the dungeon and torture chamber situated below the bedroom at Chateau de Chillon in Montreux, Switzerland.

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A Wildflower Blooms

A wildflower blooms – in astounding directions. – Some long, some short. A haiku poem in memory of Mohima Inspired by the Zen proverb – In the landscape of spring, there is neither better nor worse. The flowering branches grow naturally, some long, some short. These words can be of great consolation in times of tremendous […]

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Harbor Tugs

Work tugs, halide lights – Rolling gently, evening swell – Floating styrofoam – Fenders whine with dock lines taut – False appearance of order. -a tanka poem

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Dandelion

Dandelion seeds – Set into the morning air- Counting on the wind – Listen. What becomes of the dandelion? -a haiku poem with capping phrase

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Macha Tea

Melting spring snow- Flows down the mountainside- into the sunlight. – Why not sit on tatami – and whisk macha tea?   -a tanka poem  

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Quarter Moon

Half hidden, half seen – The quarter moon arises – Casting no shadows. – a haiku poem A quarter moon surprisingly clear through the light noise of Yokohama on Saturday May 14, 2016.

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Wind Slams the Glass

Rain clouds on rooftops swallow the spring sun and mute the flowers. Silhouettes in puddles fragmented by rain drops against a mirrored sky Then wind slams the glass. Reflections now obscured The flat sky breaks as the water recedes.   -a mountain poem This poem was written for Mina who has had to deal with far more illness […]

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Breath Freezes

Falling snow lands softly – joining the standing trees – with the clouds and the earth – the winter and the spring. – Exhale and breath freezes. -a six syllable mountain poem

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Rate of Spring

Graceful leaves open – unfolding with perfection – at the rate of spring. -a haiku poem This macro photo of a flowering kale plant in early spring reveals at least two aspects to it that are particularly striking. The first was the incredible grace of the leaves as they unfold so slowly but dramatically. The second is the […]

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Harmony in the Void

Surrounded by sasa* now snow – A tree bends from the earth – As it’s pushed by the mountain wind – Cracking in the dry winter air – Emblazoned by the summer sun – Creative harmony in the void. -an eight syllable mountain poem * Sasa is type of low lying bamboo that covers the open sections […]

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A Fresh Wind

Soft, supple, solid – Her love is felt a fresh wind – Hinamatsuri -a haiku poem Hinamatsuri also called “Girl’s Day” in Japan is a annual celebration that honors the daughters in families. In writing this I thought of the feeling of holding our daughter that has been with us since birth along with an insightful […]

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Nansen’s Fox

Sitting with stilllness-
and sounds of a winter’s dawn-
A fox runs barking.

Speaking on his own behalf –
So not to be cut in two.

-a Tanka poem

On the morning when I wrote this tanka poem I was sitting by a nicely maturing wood fire in the fireplace at our family mountain house in Karuizawa, Japan. It was a little before 6am and I was thinking about Nansen’s Cat when through the early morning forest I heard a repeated whelping. Rushing to the window, I saw a red fox running down the snow covered road barking as he/she went. To the best of my understanding, this behavior is most likely related to the arrival of mating season and demonstrations to attract a suitable mate. In other words a fox just “foxing” in the cold morning air.

The image above was taken very near to the path the fox took with the red in the pine cone perhaps paralleling the stunning red coat of the barking fox.

Feb 28, 2016

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Honda Super Cub Delivery Bikes

Throat gargle 4 stroke single cylinder – Tin rattle can coffee – Loose clunk 3 speed semi-automatic transmission – Bone shrill, drum brake squeal – Skin tint, news print, white guntei gloves – Sun cracked rubber ties of recycled truck tire tubes – Bed head, chin stubble, crotch stained work pants – Rage tempered, tarmac […]

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Foolish Bamboo

Resigned to the forest floor –  Distinct from society – Green bamboo extends skyward –  Slim leaves rustle in the wind – Tonbi soar high overhead –  as sunlight warms the damp earth –  A fool seeking detachment.  -a seven seven mountain poem That alone you are in the middle of a vast murmuring crowd. It may […]

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The Stone Fountain

A mirror reflects without hesitation – A thousand puddles shine back at the moon – A stone fountain fills slowly with water – Up to the edge when the colors of spring – Instantly burst from a late winter’s day. – a ten syllable mountain poem

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Bears in the Garbage

My grandfather was half-scholar, half-lumber jack Always a beard, a notebook, and a pair of binoculars Usually a four wheel drive which we climbed up into one fading fall afternoon to go look at bears. High up, watching over, not a typical ten year old’s view Rumbling down small stone roads, next to a big stone […]

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Cairn

Rocks piled – the way is marked by lichens and iron and quartz and clouds and shadow. Its grasp tentative on the ridge. Balanced and noteworthy, frozen action, a beacon that today is unnecessary. But what if tomorrow brings lightening and fog cover and seamless retreat is the gatekeeper? To faulter or lose one’s way resulting in […]

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Bulbul Presence

A brown eared bulbul –  Is quick to taste the mikan –  Quick to let it go. -a haiku poem The hiyodori (brown eared bulbul) is a permanent non-migrating resident of the kanto region where we live. Its noisy calls wake us in the morning but it seems so happy to have an orange.

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A student without a teacher

I came to the fields –  A student without teacher –  and met winter trees –  Who said to be dynamic –  and strike fantastic poses. -a tanka poem This tanka poem was inspired by the scene in this winter snowfield captured and edited on my Android phone. The following from Charlotte Joko Beck author […]

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Spontaneous Wind

Outside the wind blows spontaneously – Shaking the small house on a moonlit hill – While the people inside sleep Planning through dreams – Going over the murmurs of memories – Wrapped in the blankets of illusion – Distracted by what is most pressing – Overlooking the wind and its spontaneity – That shakes their small […]

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Zen is found at Disney Sea

A world of dreams and plastic – The perception constructed – By none other than ourselves – Recognize the fantasy – and there is not spilled popcorn – no prints to wipe off the glass – Zen is found at Disney Sea. -a seven syllable, seven line mountain poem Nothing makes the point – that all […]

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The Winter Forest’s Silence

Sunrise to sunset –
Changing clouds never settle –
Except for today –
Listen for winter’s silence –
Listen to the falling snow –
Crack!

– a tanka poem

This photo and poem both were taken from the early winter of Shiga-kogen in Nagano prefecture. The first phrase was inspired by a poem entitled, “Written on the Lake While Return to Stone Cliff Hermitage” by the 4th century Chinese nature poet Hsieh Ling-yun which begins, “Dawn to dusk, the weather constantly changed, mountain and lake sometimes vibrant in sunlight…” as translated by Sam Hamill. The “crack” at the end could really have been any sudden sound word but I chose crack as it felt to be in greatest opposition to the silence of the winter forest. It also felt to best convey the dramatic impact of all those pops, creaks, and snaps that continue to go on in the winter woods and also the break of satori.

In the tradition of the koan – What is the sound of the winter forest’s silence?

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Forgotten Feet

A blue heron stands – In a frozen mountain stream – Forgetting his feet. – a haiku poem Slightly upstream from where this photo was taken a blue heron had found some early winter shelter from New Year’s tourists in this stream within some secluded woods in Karuizawa, Japan. I didn’t want to disturb him/her […]

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Seeds for a New Year

Seeds and pappus* alight – Memories of the year frozen – A gentle wind blows. -a haiku poem *The pappus is a feathery structure that allows the seeds of plants to be carried away by the wind. While alight means to come down from and settle which is a relevant image, the allusion to illuminate is fun to […]

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The Valley Spirit

The valley spirit – Lies awake through the winter – Undisturbed by cold – Her seeds already planted – Listen for her unheard voice. – A tanka poem This tanka poem was sparked by the scene captured in this image taken on my Android Phone at Mitsumata Ropeway Station at Kagura Ski Resort in Niigata, Japan along with the […]

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Misunderstanding Nature

When water rages, torrents thunder – Snowfalls gently subdue hardest stone – Neither one making apologies – as gentleness overcomes the strong – and yielding cannot be resisted – But by misunderstanding Nature – – a 9 syllable Mountain Poem This poem is a culmination of two main provocations. The first is the Zen expression, […]

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