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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
casually


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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