The Four Seasons: A New Year’s Poetry Gathering

Issoan students from Portland and across the world gathered on this New Year’s day for a poetry gathering.  While we composed poems, we shared incense, snacks, sweets, tea  and of course Sake.  It was a relaxed and social time on zoom.

The 25 verse poem we collaborated has become an annual event and everyone who participated  wants to do it again next year.  I hope you can join us.

Here is this year’s poem

The Four Seasons, A Poetry Gathering

Behind the clouds
first rays appear
snowy glacier glistening
silent glory
a new day.

A new day
Brings fresh beginnings
Hopes and joys
For all the beings
New Year has come.

New Year has come
on the back of chill wind
breathing fresh life
snowflakes trickling over a blanket of snow
undisturbing of what lies ensconced beneath.

Undisturbing of what lies ensconced beneath
the snowy hills sleep beneath the sky
waiting for the sun
Green life slowly waking
A farmer dreams of spring.

A farmer dreams of spring
Deep in the mountain village
He prepares the earth
For the coming planting
He looks at the sky

He looks at the sky
And dreams of long days
In the warm sunshine with
neighbors and friends
Working in fields that he love

Working in the fields that he loves.
CLAP-CLAP “Hi no you ji!”
Startled awake by chants from the road.
A dream, just a dream of the start of spring.
Mild weather ahead but not on this day, a safe fire for warmth

A safe fire for warmth
a chill still in the air
fresh new leaves unfurling
undaunted by the cold
blossoms bursting open

Blossoms busting open
With the snow still on.
Fragrance of plum
Is in the air
Followed by spring

Followed by spring
the hills come to life
sweeps of color emerging
painting in broad swipes
a blooming undulating sea

A blooming undulating sea
wind making waves across the field
carrying the scent of flowers
everywhere I look
Petals dancing in the air

Petals dancing in the air
Pink and white snow swirling
Gathered in drifts against the fence
Life passes so quickly
Gone in a breath.

Gone in a breath
the warm breeze carries
carries the fragrance
out to sea
Blessing the waves.

Blessing the waves.
Rising and falling.
Pink and white palette.
Pita, Pita, Pita…
Raindrops gently kissing each crest.

Raindrops gently kissing each crest
the sun sinks toward the horizon
Bright beams and shifting shadows
Birds twitter softly
Returning to their homes.

Returning to their homes
in twilight
to have a rest.
What brings the next day?
No one knows…

No one knows…
what remains hidden
under the scattered light of the stars
the night sky reflected
in the dark waters of the river.

In the dark waters of the river
The fish play hide and seek
While on the banks
Plush green covers the rocks
Cool and comfortable.

Cool and comfortable
Lush and humid in a fern grove
Under the waterfall
Looking out through the mist
Nurturing life.

Nurturing life
The water flows
down the mountain
to the fields encouraging
the bountiful harvest

A bountiful harvest.
Collecting late under moonlight.
Fall has come.
Ice rings around a fall moon.
Full circle of life.

Full circle of life
now the seasons turn
a bite in the air
crisp and clear
What change is coming?

What change is coming?
Cloudy skies
instead of bright sun.
They always bring rain
And autumn cold.

And autumn cold
settles in the tea room
disrupted by steam curling off the hishaku
warmth creeping under the tatami
in a lone hut hidden in the forest.

In a lone hut hidden in the forest
Friends gather for tea
Generation after generation
A solitary pine stands guard
Evergreen

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