courage – – haibun

It takes courage to live, courage to die, to shed tears, to mourn. We talk of swords, fights, and battles but it is the language of the carp (koi) that captivates me. Like the willow, the carp knows how to follow the wind…and when necessary, has strength to swim upstream. In an ancient myth, a school of carp finds itself travelling against the current. Some turn back but others persevere when they encounter a waterfall. After many attempts one jumps to the top and becomes a dragon.

In this era we tend to think that we know everything, while in fact there is so much we do not know about ourselves, about each other, and the natural world we live in…there are many unopened doors locked by deception, ignorance, and shame waiting to be opened when we dare.

fire dragon

born of koi

one with the wind

.

.

©️2019 Ontheland

Image : Koinobori, flags in the shape of koi (carp)

These ruminations were inspired by the seventh quote in Frank Tassone’s November with Basho series based on Basho’s Narrow Road to the Interior:

Crossed on the ferry at Tsukinowa to the post town of Se-no-ue to see the ruins that were Sato Shoji’s house, beyond town to the left, near the mountains. We were told to look at Saba Moor in Iizuka, and we eventually came to Maru Hill where the castle ruins lay. Seeing the main gate sundered, the ancient temple nearby, seeing all the family graves, my eyes glazed with tears…

Sword, chest and wind-carp

all proudly displayed

on Boys’ Festival Day

Basho, “Narrow Road to the Interior,” translated by Sam Hamil, The Essential Basho, pg. 11-12

.

surrender

From life you stepped,

your cancer-sieged body

no longer a home.

We were standing near

close to life’s questions,

close to you, your courage

your humour,

your memories,

so present,

knowing the time

would soon be here.

When your hour came

you bid the white flag to rise

to penetrate flesh,

releasing breath

from all painful fight.

You who survived war,

hid in marshes,

saved children from slaughter,

sailed schooners on rivers across the sea,

surrendered in different times —

forever brave while poppies weep.

~

©️2018 Ontheland

to write or not to write

Can I write a poem
grazing on
hummus-dipped
breadsticks,
stirring dull residues
of wounds and tears
that clog my spirit?
I could bounce away
but then,
would I not still feel empty?
Perhaps I will stay,
sip cold coffee,
and move my pen.

~

A poem of exactly 44 words (a ‘quadrille’) for dVerse Poets Pub using the word ‘bounce’. Perhaps not a bouncy take on bounce, but more writing will get me bouncing again.

©2018 Ontheland