Related to my last post about Wabi-Sabi, I present two poems for your reading pleasure. The first is by Susan Deer Cloud, who with John Gunther, hosted us in Livingston Manor. The second is by myself. Both poems touch the meaning of wabi-sabi.
Susan Deer Cloud is a mixed lineage mountain Indian from the Catskills. An alumna of Binghamton University (B.A. & M.A.) and Goddard College (MFA), she is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, two New York State Foundation for the Arts Poetry Fellowships, an Elizabeth George Foundation Grant and a Chenango County Council for the Arts Individual Artist Grant. The following poem, Spring Snow, is from her book FOX MOUNTAIN.
Spring Snow Descending slowly from Wheeler Hill north of Kanona … sometimes braking to gaze at a couple of horses or at wild cherry trees a white gouache in woods edging Amish farm fields … driving as in a dream, remembering first time you read Kawabata’s Spring Snow, the sadness of its story still drifting down in your heart, the night tears of geishas in mountains … stopping to take a few pictures of snow like miniature flowers mirroring the cherry blossoms, transient beauty Japanese call Wabi Sabi, no beauty like it, soon to melt and float and fall away … snow … blossoms … your white hair.
I Was Missing You Today Did we ever really have an “us”? Or was it just an illusion, A slight-of-hand trick of the heart? A yank of the table cloth And I bend over, gather shattered memories, glue them together like a favorite vase That appears whole from distance only? Or vahz, you would say vahz. My bending becomes falling. My falling becomes fallen, My cheek pressed to the cold tile, Your spike heels tracing their path Across my back to the exit. That pain is not erotic for me. I weep not for having loved you so But for having learned far too late That all my tears would not help you grow Away from the soil of your past. And all your tears in a flash flood Of anger and hate carry me Toward the ocean of no forgiveness. The rushing current is a throat-song Echoing in my hollow head. It's another frequency in my ear That grows louder every year until The tinnitus drives me mad. I consciously slip away from the Deception that created “us”. And from the deception that killed “us”. Our wedding costumes burn In the Temple of Trash, And into the desert, a dervish whirling Fire devil of love, hate, passion and angst Turns the gathered memories tighter and tighter. Cooling, I will comb the ashes to find that Spiritual longing I once held In my raku-fired heart. I'll struggle to find the wabi-sabi of “us”. My tears will muddle the sacred ashes Which I'll then smear over my blind third eye To mark the beginning of lent, The beginning of abstinence, The beginning of ending. The beginning.