Ryokan

Snow fluttered from the heavens,
Topping the roads with white,
Whilst thrust down the streets came,
The hurried wind, a knifing plight.

But this only went to expose,
The warmth of a fireplace,
Which gave the windows and pleasant glow,
And the inn a pleasing face.

So through a harsh door I step,
To the turning of every head,
With the drink apparent in every soul.
They seem drunken, but not yet dead.

But soon the laughter and noise returns,
And from the fire, I brave the sudden heat,
With that I stumble on through,
To the corner, to a window, to my seat.


Monologue

“For I have seen,
The ruins of a grand temple,
hidden now amongst groping vines;
Under a canopy thick with green.

“Further North, a basin rests,
With a beast at its heart.
Through the mist, I caught its scream,
As its three spider limbs scrabble in the dark.

“If only I was done, for Mt. Bonochi tires,
Facing an army of clouds, and relentless rain…”
And the story went on; but little did the listeners know,
The temple remained unseen, and the beast in the mist unslain.

Eastward

Once more, we can look unto the East,
To a grove of resting cherry trees,
That sleep standing in the pooling darkness.
It was once believed they were ancient deities.

Thus, through prayers they bare their fruit,
But we find the same in Autumn too,
That despite our lack of words,
The red cherries will still grow true.

Sleeping in Day

The river trundles softly ahead of me,
Whilst I perch at the edge under a tree,
But I think now, how much of this is to be,
How bad do I want to know? I’d argue; I’d plea.

I step closer on the ledge,
Teetering on my toes overhanging the edge,
It is here my feet into the sand I wedge,
How bad is really what I pledge?

My book fell then, from the pocket at my breast,
Landing face up on the river, open at the best,
Page 39, I spotted and had usually stressed,
Yellow Crane Tower, Cui Hao’s finesse.

Yet it sank to the bottom of the riverbed,
Three hundred poems, bristling with inspiration, dead,
Yet when I wake from my slumber in my own bed,
I am filled, for the day, with some instinctual dread.

Astronomy’s Fate

The roof over his head was the problem.
He needed the fresh lake air,
And the boundless bare sky.
He yearned to sit on the balcony,
To gaze upon the infinite,
And decode the endless expanse.

Instead he was waiting for night,
Staring up at the white moon stamped on blue.
His impatience was pooling,
For in the stars were written his delight.
Yet the sun and the moon were dangerously close,
He was forced to check his greed.

Then a vast shadow was cast,
Flooding the land with shade,
Starting with the mountains,
Shrouding his lakeside home as it went,
Over the water, beyond the horizon.
He looked up from his greed.

He then observed something strange,
A dragon had swallowed the sun,
It was an un-foretold eclipse that he saw,
With no warning to the Emperor.
No prior calculation had uncovered this,
Some fatal detail he had surely missed.

But his dread sank low,
Below the lake’s churning waters,
Amongst the silence of the birds,
Whom, perched in trees, grew disconsolate.
He fell to his knees under some immense pressure,
As this failure would be his final inadequacy.
.

All of nature shrank away,
As night had been formed from day.
And when once the stars had spelled delight,
Now they foretold his death,
Before the next true night, for the Emperor;
Chung K’ang was rash in punishing

As the officials galloped on their horses,
To Xi’s house where he knelt still,
The sound of drums echoed in the north,
Before the sun’s following light began to spill,
It was not only the light that adorned his floor,
There was spill of red that would soon fade

Living Through a Dynasty

Immersed in monotony, one may wish for time to travel fast,
Make no mistake; all will wish for time to stay.
One should’ve learnt that all of time travels to the past,
And that’s with you, riding on the back, one day.

Although, isn’t a moment measurable,
Not through numbers but through emotion?
Lest one forget, time isn’t always pleasurable,
Like a fine sea, to a flailing ocean.

A Good Death

The dye is cast,
And the fabric is sodden red.
Amongst the other clothes,
It stands out.

We sat, and you shared the bad news.
Upon reflection, I can’t believe your calmness.
All men die, trust one, one knows,
But to claim the inevitable as some grand design…
No.

There’s pain of the flesh, pain of the soul,
She’d have always said stay, despite the cold.
So I light a fire that roars softly,
The ash wood crackles,
I told myself then, that the wood I see,
Was once a living tree.

To the Writhing Mind

The flowers of spring sprout,
A dash of colour amongst the grass.
The pink blossom dances in the breeze,
And the birds sing through the clouds.
Above the tall white mountains.

Yet one may be blind to such beauty.
I seethed amongst this scene,
And slumped against a tree.
My anger seeped through me
An incessant drumming of my fingers,

But I realised later, once I returned,
That my breath could be stolen,
By such a stunning visage.
It was then that I shed a tear,
For once I had yearned for difference,

Surrounded by the difference I yearned for.
Like an actor in a tragedy, I was blind,
Corrupted by my experiences,
Not trialed by them.
My fingers drum a different tune.

Our Odyssey

I sat with you that day,
My long-time friend.
We drank to company in front of the sun,
That faded from blue to orange.
Giddy, we smiled and laughed that day.

We had chosen Yalu River to sit by,
As the speaker of day, its water wavered,
With rays of sunset that painted a shimmer.
Joyously, we counted the petals that sailed the current,
Happy, we drank and we drank that day.

As the light cooled, the drinks felt warmer,
Do you remember, my friend?
We lent against the city’s gate,
Whose stone did stand strong.
Oblivious, we had cried out and laughed that day.

Our eyes were averted from the reeds,
That sprouted from the riverbed,
They rustled, of course,
But only when we turned our head,
Where crouched amongst the grass it lay,

You had spotted then, or so you thought,
Something in those reeds – that did contort,
Some small bird, that could want our bread,
But as forward you crept, the animal leapt,
And with a cry you bled that day.

On a winter’s morning,, now I stand alone,
With bundles of disgruntled reeds,
Those that I plan to lay,
At the stone that represents your body,
And at the words that represent your life.



“Too curious, careless and kind.”