A Hundred Gourds 3:3 June 2014

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Ray Rasmussen – Canada

Winter Renewal

We’ve resided in this remote Ontario cabin for a month now. He speaks to me through his writing and accompanies me on my walks. Today, he’s lecturing on compassion . . .

Don’t worry spiders
I keep house

So instead of engaging in my usual spider mayhem by employing the broom as a weapon of web destruction, I try to keep the spiders at a comfortable distance as I write a commentary on Issa’s travel journal, Oraga Haru.

Finished for the day, I don snowshoes and come across numerous tracks: wild turkey, fox, deer, and porcupine . . . and find myself saying aloud . . .

Don’t worry turkeys
I hunt
quite ineptly

Issa continues sharing his angst . . .

we walk on the roof of hell,
gazing at flowers

I'm taking photographs of the long bluish tree shadows cast by the setting sun, and yes, it's the same as gazing at flowers while ignoring the humankind's woes.

we reside in a world of plenty,
yet, we complain

On our last evening together, I look out at trees stripped of their leaves, just as I’ve been stripped of friends, routines, obligations, dismal news, and the usual dose of self-recrimination. And this time Issa is on about how to transcend . . .

What good luck!
Bitten by
This year’s mosquitoes too

True enough. It's been my best winter for beauty and companionship, in this, the winter of my life.

What good luck!
yet another
biting-cold winter

Notes: Haiku by Issa (tr. Robert Hass) are in italics. The commentary on Issa’s haibun appears as a feature in this issue of A Hundred Gourds.

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