Science & Religion

.
my brain’s a pouch in which
I carry my wealth
 
if I keep my purse strings loose
I might add to its load
when new coin comes to town
but if I tighten them down
(the purse strings of my mind)
and garrote its capaciousness
all that I could be
might be hopelessly resigned
to dangle from its noose

Jim Culleny
3/16/14

A Footprint

.
Long ago
a fox ran along a clay river bank.
After an interim
of tens of thousands of years
a footprint turned fossil remains.
Looking at it, you’ll see
what the fox was thinking while running.
.
.
by Shinjiro Kurahara
from Iwana
publisher Dowaya, Tokyo, 2010
translation Mariko Kurihara, William I. Elliott, Katsumasa Nishihara

A Secret Code

.
What is that coming through
the wrong end of time?
A secret code from the future.
But it is not from human beings
or from a non-existent God.

Under the abstract sky,
where the distant desert is gradually drying out,
the last butterfly
is sending it, clinging
to the single remaining grass blade on earth.
.
.
by Shinjiro Kurahara
from Iwana
publisher Dowaya, Tokyo, 2010
translation Mariko Kurihara, William I. Elliott, Katsumasa Nishihara

A Crow

.
In a vast expanse of field
a crow with the sun on its back
flying vigorously
suddenly died.
It fell straight down from the high sky.
And at the same time
its huge shadow
dashed into its dead body
at lightning speed
from the horizon of the crimson field.
Having cast a great shadow on this earth
the crow’s heart quit.
.
.
by Shinjiro Kurahara
from Iwana
publisher Dowaya, Tokyo, 2010
translation Mariko Kurihara, William I. Elliott, Katsumasa Nishihara

Yesterday’s Images

.
A praying mantis on the edge of unconsciousness
raising its axes above the horizon,
gazes at the running clouds,
clings to the tip of a dry grass blade
and sways with it.

On its glassy blue eyes are reflected
the horizon in the afterglow,
speckles of a blue,
and thistles trembling in the distance.
Those are yesterday as it was.
.
.
by Shinjiro Kurahara
from Iwana
publisher Dowaya, Tokyo, 2010
translation Mariko Kurihara, William I. Elliott, Katsumasa Nishihara

Absent Man

.
On a hill at the base of a mountain
stood an old temple dedicated to Kannon.
I paid a visit to a monk living there.
I had been there several times
meaning to drink newly picked tea with him.
As always he was absent today, too.

The three side doors of the temple were open.
Over the hearth, without fire,
a dusty pot was hanging.
A single
blue-and-white teacup . . .
A blue blew in
and alighted on its rim.

High over the open temple,
the peak of a thunderhead, rare and radiant . . .
.
.
by Shinjiro Kurahara
from Iwana
publisher Dowaya, Tokyo, 2010
translation Mariko Kurihara, William I. Elliott, Katsumasa Nishihara

On The Shore

.
The winter sun was at its zenith.
His head poking above dry grass on a riverbank,
an old man of eighty-nine was fishing.
Holding a pole,
talking over old times with winter fish
swimming under reflected scatterd clouds,
he died.
The glittering
sun was lowering.
A cabbage butterfly tottered
toward the other bank.

Fish were calling the old man.
A small red cork
bobbing up and down,
made faint ripples.
.
.
by Shinjiro Kurahara
from Iwana
publisher Dowaya, Tokyo, 2010
translation Mariko Kurihara, William I. Elliott, Katsumasa Nishihara