Issoan Annual Poetry Gathering

A new year dawns and the students at Issoan gathered for the 2nd annual poetry gathering.  Because of social distancing, we met over zoom and composed 36 verses in a modified linked verse format. Each verse is a 5 line poem based on the link theme.  The last line of the previous poem becomes the first line of the current poem.  It was easy and a lot of fun, even if some people didn’t feel comfortable at first in their poetic abilities.

Along the way we had snacks, sweets and tea, and lunch.  And sake.  Lots of sake to grease the wheels of creativity. It was a relaxed social time, and it was way for individuals to bond and contribute to the whole project.  I loved how the last line of the last verse is the first line of the first verse.  Enjoy

The poem for 2021:

A new day dawns
Bright and hopeful
I stand on the porch
Thinking of the year
The past is behind us

The past is behind us
Shadows brushed away
A breath of new hope
The birth of the first dream
Sunlight gently revealing

Sunlight gently revealing
Glowing pink rays
Rise behind the mountain
Dawn’s mist slowly waning
Light glimmers on her shoulders

Light glimmers on her shoulders
White cape brilliant against the sky
Stark and lonely
The mountain sleeps
Waiting for spring

Waiting for spring
Frosty breath
Brisk morning walk
A turning
Scent of seiryobai (green dragon plum tree)

Scent of seiryobai
Permeates the garden
Soon the sprouts under the earth
Will be breaking the ground
Reaching for the sky.

Reaching for the sky
Stems peek out of the snow.
From last year’s seeds,
Come sprouts by the thousands,
Bringing the potential of spring.

Bringing the potential of spring
Rising from the ground
Slender and fragile
We wait expectantly
For the promises of spring

For the promises of spring
Spots of green burst to life
Painting the dark landscape
Green buds dotting branches
Young shoots reclaiming the garden

Young shoots reclaiming the garden
Behind my neighbors fence
The hop vines begin their journey
Clinging to the strong twine
Tiny buds among the woolly leaves

Tiny buds among the woolly leaves
Breezes rustle gently
Colors play as branches move
Somewhere in the tapestry
Petals open to the sun

Petals open to the sun
Dew dries, ants tickle
Fragrance rises
Glory
Even as the peony falls

Even as the peony falls
The hills come alive
With the brocade of the season
I long to see
Places that I have never been

Places I have never been–
Oh so many, both near and far.
Perhaps I will visit them
And share some tea
To forge new friendships

To forge new friendships
Filled with new hope
We laugh and plan
Waiting for spring
Eager for new discovery

Eager for new discovery
We wander far and wide
Seeking the edge of the horizon
And circling back again
To retrace your steps

To retrace your steps
I return home at last
Familiar landmarks in view
My own front door
How many sunsets ago?

How many sunsets ago
Did we last gather?
The night has been so long.
But light follows after darkness,
Wind clears away the clouds

Wind clears away the clouds
A cooling breeze
Skips down the west of Mt. Hood
Floods the valley
With hope

With hope
I look for a rest stop
In the shade
Where I can eat my lunch
Under a tree

Under a tree,
The sun filters down through the canopy.
I stare at the glimmers of light
And hear in the distance,
The sound of flowing water.

The sound of flowing water
Joyous and abundant
Spilling down the mountain
Carrying life and hope
To the valley below

To the valley below
Rays of sunlight dance through the trees
Casting a golden hue
As the hearth begins to ward off
The afternoon chill

The afternoon chill
Harbinger of fall
Have the leaves begun to turn?
I light the fire for warmth
Harvest comes

Harvest comes
We toil in the sun
Day after day
Now the fields are empty
Our storehouses are full

Our storehouses are full
We celebrate
Harvest of abundant
Grain, tea and
Memories

Memories
Moonlight shining down
Shadows reaching out
Following me home
I look overhead

I look overhead,
The skeletal limbs creak above me.
There is no sign of life
But surely there will be blooms next year.
For within the cold, there is a spark.

For within the cold, there is a spark
Glowing bright with promises
The cozy fire burning in my hearth
The chair warm with reflected light
Curled around a cup of tea

Curled around a cup of tea
I nest near the fire
Exploring far flung worlds
The written word my sole companion
As the year ticks away

As the year ticks away
Hours, like seasons
Come and go
Hush of anticipation
Silent fall, the first flakes

Silent fall the first flakes
Eyes wide in wonder
Coats donned against the cold
People dance among the flurries
Joyous laughter fills the air

Joyous laughter fills the air
Children shrieking and
Chasing each other
Playing hide-n-seek
Abundant energy.

Abundant energy.
They tumble and dash down the hill
With fierce momentum they roll
They stop. One stands up.
“Oh no!” says the girl. “Where did it go?”

Oh no!” says the girl. “Where did it go?”
They pat their pockets
And look around
Bright eyes joyous in the moment
Caught in time and perfect

Caught in time and perfect
The children return home
And adults venture out
Past and future circle and chase
A new day dawns

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4 comments

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    • admin on January 5, 2021 at 2:45 pm
      Author

    Genko,
    Thank you for your comment. It was a lovely way to start the year. Next year perhaps we will be able to meet in person.
    Margie

    • Genko Kathy Blackman on January 5, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    Lovely! I remember your recounting of last new year’s poetry and tea event, and it sounded marvelous. Hopefully next year you will be able to meet in person for this.

    • admin on January 3, 2021 at 6:20 pm
      Author

    And Happy New Year to you and your family. I hope 2021 is a good year for you!

    • Cathy Wood Kaku on January 3, 2021 at 6:08 pm

    Great start! Wishing you the best in this new year.

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