7 Thoughts of an Aging Monkey

October 19, 2017

We are living in Kyoto presently. On the western side of town, there is a neighbourhood called Arashiyama – which is home to great sushi, a bamboo forest, and a mountain park with wild macaques. The macaques are quite accustomed to people and friendly. We’ve visited them twice so far, and in exchange for chunks of apple they helped us translate our experiences in Japan to haiku form:

Yoyogi ravens
Cawing in the thousands
Mock the human mind

Fuji-san revealed
Its cloud blanket shaken off
Patience rewarded

Sleepy, low-rise hood
Not the Tokyo of film
Packed trains rumble past

The sumo wrestlers
I mistake for samurai
don't mind. I'm new here.

The praying mantis
Watches over us for days
Above the door frame

Hieidaira fog
Drapes the hillside in patches
There is no wind. Still.

In a pitch-black temple
Find your way by counting beads
Train a different eye

* Place names in use:

Yoyogi – our Tokyo neighbourhood and park.

Fuji-san – Mt. Fuji

Hieidaira – our mountain-side neighbourhood in Kyoto.


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