Thursday, June 15, 2006

Poetry Thursday

Not quite a poem, but here's something I've been working on over the years. It's actually a photo essay that's accompanied by some photos from my Japan trip, which I may post along with this when I have the time.

Anyways, here's my Thursday submission:


At the end of the rails, I am swept up in a river of umbrellas that seem too large, on sidewalks too narrow — a canopy of brightly coloured fabric. I buy a floppy hat to shade my face; somehow, the sun seems closer here.

In moss gardens, draped over stone lanterns and wooden beams, lazy temple cats watch me wearily, tails drooping over crumbling gods. Wooden wishes on red strings twirl and clack together in the heavy breeze, waiting to be offered up in fire.

I have come here to be nameless.

Here where sacred sites are squashed between concrete walls and neon lights, I wander from vending machine to vending machine, seeking the refreshment of cold green tea. Swim between islands of shade, where leaf shadows ripple over me.

Waves of song spill across dusty gravel paths, out open doors and over polished wood, to the rhythmic gong of an iron bell. Holy men point me the way up teapot lane, while off in the treetops, schoolchildren chatter and laugh, chasing each other around winding pathways. I've taken so many photos of laughing fat men with red bibs, scalloped temple roofs, dragons and gods.

In the stone garden on the final day of wandering, I contemplate the stillness of rock. The patience of the gardener who has daily raked a landscape clean in the knowledge that it will never grow green. Sun angles across lines of gravel and sand, softening the harshness of rock and stone. In the evenings, the neon lights flash bright through my curtains, to the pling pling pling of pachinko parlours and the shouting of store owners.

I now know what it is to be without words. To be alone, even when I am swept up in a sea of people. To be in a land where I am immune to the cry of merchants and the lure of bright lights. I could lose myself here, and no one would know. I've gone three days without speaking, except to ask for toilet directions and a hamburger at the golden arches.

In the morning, the bullet train pulls me away from this land where I have found wordlessness. Whips by stooped women with broad straw hats in silver rice fields. So many lives continue in quiet perseverance as we race by.

I am returning home to a newly painted door, where a new bath towel hangs alone on the rail. To a single bed with crisp sheets torn from plastic wrappers.

I know I will be all right, because I believe in the promise of Yume.


GreenishLady said...

If it's not quite a poem, perhaps it's a prose-poem? It's certainly very poetic in its tone. I love it. Thank you.

liz elayne said...

it feels a bit like poetry to me. beautiful. i would love to hear more about this experience (will i if i tiptoe through your archives?)

Catherine said...

That's a lovely post. As for your query on my blog, I will try and address it a bit more in my next post - so check back shortly.

paris parfait said...

A poetic take on those events, surely!

teabird17 said...

I hope you will post the pictures - I love the imagery and the sense of completeness within yourself.

Ceebie said...

Hi all:

Thanks for your kind comments.

Ceebie said...

Sorry...still haven't figured out this comment thing. For some reason the photos wouldn't load successfully to the blog. But, if you click on my Flickr! badge, you can see many of the images that inspired this piece.

Thanks for Poetry Thursday!

rdl said...

It evokes a overwhelming sadness, i think it would make a better story, tho the next to the last paragraph is my favorite and seems more poetic to me. Nice post. Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my poem.