because while some truths lend themselves to equations, others are best described in verse

words taken from the last line of a samurai creed

Ryoan-ji, the Temple of the Peaceful Dragon, is known for its Zen gardens. Kinkaku-ji, The Golden Pavilion,
was burned in 1950 by a Buddhist priest who had been seduced by its beauty; a replica stands today. Ginkaku-ji,
the Silver Pavilion, stands at the end of Tetsugaku no Michi, the Philosopher’s Path.

in the swirl of shinto-smoke
that reminds me of nothing

so much as my dead mother,
the absence of myself

is a sword undulled by blood or lust
and too bright for eyes

that have not known tears;
like coins thrust for luck

or safe passage; like
dappled morning on Ryoan-ji pond

where cranes stalk salvation
beside the unanswered prayers

of lost fingertips;
like broken glass

on asphalt in a hot Kyoto night;
Kinkaku burning in the sun;

Ginkaku-ji at journey’s end.

20 responses

  1. wow nice joanna….i like…i like how the lines blur between the couplets and continue on adding meaning and depth like lost fingertips and broken glass, but then the next line on the asphalt…anyway, i like your play…great imagery as well…good stuff…

    July 31, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    • thanks, b. *smiles*

      August 3, 2012 at 9:40 am

  2. Really like the references to emptiness, and the use of Japanese names. And the great imagery.

    Awesome picture as well.

    July 31, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    • thanks, wanderer. was afraid i might be overdoing it with the names; glad you approve. 🙂

      August 3, 2012 at 9:35 am

  3. this has a rhythm all it’s own; calm & provocative

    July 31, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    • calm & provocative… 🙂 thanks Wyeth.

      August 3, 2012 at 9:30 am

  4. This place must inspire that kind of introspection and personal peace. Others have told me so but never in a way so well enunciated as this. The beauty of the place becomes a cool and personal yet passionate flame as you paint it here.

    July 31, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    • Gay, it truly does. there was definitely a sense of self-discovery there for me. thanks for your thoughtful commentary.

      August 3, 2012 at 9:31 am

  5. Way kool. This touched me inside as well as impressed the artisitic side of me. Excellente!

    July 31, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    • grazie, henry 😉

      August 3, 2012 at 9:32 am

  6. Wonderful and very fitting. It is easy to just say it’s beautiful in usual adjectives, adding the poetry helps capture the feeling a lot better.

    August 1, 2012 at 4:05 am

    • thanks so much, Starfires. 🙂 i saw you have a lot of great Kyoto info & shots on your site; thanks for stopping by!

      August 3, 2012 at 9:29 am

  7. Awesome piece, Joanna.

    August 1, 2012 at 8:44 pm

  8. The serenity overwhelmed! You coolly brought it out and it’s wonderful, joanne!


    August 2, 2012 at 6:22 am

  9. I have gracious thoughts only, but no words, to capture the beauty herein. [smile]

    August 2, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    • gracious thoughts… i’ll take that 🙂 thanks, mosk.

      August 3, 2012 at 9:26 am

  10. lucychili

    this poem is sad and hopeful
    peace and the end of a journey

    August 3, 2012 at 7:27 am

    • thanks, lucy. 🙂 you’re most welcome to drop in here anytime.

      August 3, 2012 at 9:25 am

  11. the creed or prayer of the kamakazee suicide pilot may be of interest to you

    August 9, 2012 at 8:36 am

  12. I wish there was a super-like button for this poem… simply beautiful

    August 9, 2012 at 12:40 pm


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