New Year’s Poetry at Issoan

Four poets gathered at Issoan on New Year’s Day 2020.  It was a day filled with poetry, food, tea, sweets and incense.  Each poet in turn composed a stanza of linked verse to complete a poem of 24 links.

The format of the poem  was a list of 24 topics dedicated to the four seasons.  Each poet composed a five line stanza basing it on the next topic in line.  The poem takes the last line of the previous poem as the first line of the next poem.

The final product is a complete poem of 24 stanzas five lines in length.  The complete poem appears at the end of this post.

In between we enjoyed a bowl of somen noodles, tea and sweets, and listened to incense. There was plenty of sake to keep the creativity flowing.  People brought tea to share and we enjoyed a potluck lunch as well.

We enjoyed it so much that we are thinking of making it an annual event. Thank you to everyone who participated.  Happy New Year to everyone reading the blog.

Photos courtesy of Stephanie Wilson.

 

 


 

 

The four seasons

As I walk in the early morning
The cry of crows
nesting in the bare trees
Wake and startle, then
Take flight across the lonely field

Take flight across the lonely field
A breath of frost in the wind
Underneath a sparse carpet of maple leaves
The rush of clear water
As the crisp, subtle crack of thin ice heralds the change

As the crisp, subtle crack of thin ice heralds the change
Crunching under my footsteps
Sunlight gleaming
Winter’s blanket covers the land
Hibernation beckons

Hibernation beckons
Into the cavernous unknown
Dark days challenge
And yield generously
I learn to long for darkness

I learn to long for darkness
Keeping to myself
The wind blows through my cloak
And ruffles my hair
I turn to inspect the sky

I turn to inspect the sky
Rays of light creep slowly
Pushing back the encompassing shadows
Reclaiming the land from winter’s grip
The return of the light ignites the fire of rebirth

The return of the light ignites the fire of rebirth
The land warms
Weak light strengthens
We gather together to
Celebrate new beginnings

The Celebration of new beginnings
Adding more layers
Memories become fabric
Each sashiko stitch a petal
White on dark cloth

White on dark cloth
Snowflakes gather on my coat
Yet I know winter is waning
Hidden under the snow
The promise of spring is rising

The promise of spring is rising
Intrepid plum blossoms reclaim the upper reaches
Releasing tiny exhalations of life
Painting dabbles of color
Across the reanimating branches

Across the reanimating branches
Life returns
Sunshine sends encouragement
Revealing tiny flags of new iris
Tender green unfurling

Tender green unfurling
The plum trees
scattered petals
Give way to Sakura
With a sigh

With a sigh
I finally arrive at the hills of Yoshino
Landscape as far as the eye can see
Clothed in brocade
Dressed for spring

Dressed for spring
Great swathes of color
Painting tapestries across the fields
Delicate jewels sparkling in the gentle breeze
Casting shadows on the warm ground

Casting shadows on warm ground
Beneath the trees
The cool green of ferns
Poppies gleam
Illuminated by an errant sun beam

Illuminated by an errant sun beam
Yellow poppy
Mirrors radiant sun
We rise to face
The solstice sunrise

The solstice sunrise
Gives way to the longest day
With shadows far into the night
Lit by the light of stars
Flowing into summer

Flowing into summer
Carving refreshing pathways
Through the carpet of green
Slow ripples brushed on the surface
By a gentle breath of fresh air

By a gentle breath of fresh air
The breeze over the water
Hints of coming fall
I reach for a sweater
The night wind whispers

Whispers of night wind
Language of mystery
What do I hear
Who comes my way
Cloaked by moonlight

Cloaked by moonlight
Abundant fields
Are ready for harvest
The autumn bounty gathered
Before the first frost

Before the first frost
Diamond dust trickles through the air
A crisp inhale seizes the warmth in my chest
Crystals coat the leaves
As color seeps into growing shadows

As color seeps into growing shadows
Frost sparkles on the leaves
Gold, orange, and red
Background for dew bejeweled spider web
Shadows lengthen

Long Shadows, then none
Cloudy skies
Form blank canvas
Returning to one
Beginners heart

Permanent link to this article: http://issoantea.com/new-years-poetry-at-issoan/

2 comments

    • Admin on January 3, 2020 at 6:44 pm
      Author

    Yes it was. Let’s do it again.

    • Steph on January 3, 2020 at 6:33 pm

    It was such a great day!

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