Sunday, March 27, 2011

Poem for Sunday and Cherry Blossom Festival

Four Poems for Robin
By Gary Snyder

        Siwashing It Out Once in Suislaw Forest

I slept under        rhododendron
All night        blossoms fell
Shivering on        a sheet of cardboard
Feet stuck        in my pack
Hands deep        in my pockets
Barely      able      to      sleep.
I remembered        when we were in school
Sleeping together        in a big warm bed
We were        the youngest lovers
When we broke up        we were still nineteen
Now our        friends are married
You teach        school back east
I dont mind        living this way
Green hills        the long blue beach
But sometimes        sleeping in the open
I think back        when I had you.

        A Spring Night in Shokoku-ji

Eight years ago this May
We walked under cherry blossoms
At night in an orchard in Oregon.
All that I wanted then
Is forgotten now, but you.
Here in the night
In a garden of the old capital
I feel the trembling ghost of Yugao
I remember your cool body
Naked under a summer cotton dress.

        An Autumn Morning in Shokoku-ji

Last night watching the Pleiades,
Breath smoking in the moonlight,
Bitter memory like vomit
Choked my throat.
I unrolled a sleeping bag
On mats on the porch
Under thick autumn stars.
In dream you appeared
(Three times in nine years)
Wild, cold, and accusing.
I woke shamed and angry:
The pointless wars of the heart.
Almost dawn. Venus and Jupiter.
The first time I have
Ever seen them close.

        December at Yase

You said, that October,
In the tall dry grass by the orchard
When you chose to be free,
"Again someday, maybe ten years."

After college I saw you
One time. You were strange.
And I was obsessed with a plan.

Now ten years and more have
Gone by: I've always known
                where you were--
I might have gone to you
Hoping to win your love back.
You still are single.

I didn't.
I thought I must make it alone. I
Have done that.

Only in dream, like this dawn,
Does the grave, awed intensity
Of our young love
Return to my mind, to my flesh.

We had what the others
All crave and seek for;
We left it behind at nineteen.

I feel ancient, as though I had
Lived many lives.
And may never now know
If I am a fool
Or have done what my
                karma demands.


We still have snow forecast for Sunday, so after sending Daniel off to the last day of the DC robotics competition -- his team finished 7th out of 63, and they're more confident for the competition in North Carolina next month -- we decided not to waste a slightly chilly but perfectly gorgeous Saturday and took the Metro downtown to the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The festival officially began in the afternoon (and since the park service has already postponed Sunday's planned kite festival in case of inclement weather, I think we definitely made the right choice); the trees aren't quite at peak, that's supposed to be Tuesday, but the white blossoms are mostly open and the pinker ones not far behind. We figure they could all be gone by next weekend's Sakura Street Festival, and since it's early in the season and it was cool today, there were no big crowds -- we even got seats on all the trains, and there was plenty of room to picnic in the grass with good views of the Jefferson Memorial. I just wish we weren't looking at Japan's gift while Japan is in such crisis.

We came home in the afternoon as the crowds were growing -- the National Marathon was in the morning, so we figured people would be heading over as it got later. Adam has a cold but he was a good sport so he could take photos, though he got a bit worn out. Then She Found Me was on Lifetime at dinnertime; I wasn't sure I'd like it because I haven't always liked Helen Hunt (or more specifically I've really disliked some characters she's played), and I did want to smack her character a few times in this one, but considering that she directed the movie, she did a nice job of letting Bette Midler and Colin Firth play more colorful people than she was playing. We were all sort of worn out after dinner (I blame the leftover birthday cake), and we ended up watching Curse of the Black Pearl, which we all adore for different reasons. I am finally ready to admit, with shame, that I take this post back.

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