The Rites Of Thunder

Finder of Trails, Watchful Eye, Wanderer, accept this gift from us, the explorers, the travelers and the expatriates. This is what your thunder and lightning taught us over our journeys. This is your way, through the lives of your followers. And as long as there are blank pages and faithful spirits, the rites will continue.

One of the Volamtar.

I.
While you decline to cry,
high on the mountainside
a single stalk of plume grass wilts.

II.
Onyx, this gem-black night.
Downcast, I await your return
like the morning sun, unrivaled in splendor.

III.
Snow-obscured heights;
mist-shrouded slopes:
this spring evening. 

IV.
Soundlessly they go,
the herons passing by:
arrows of snow 
filling the sky. 

V.
An orphaned blossom
returning to its bough, somehow?
No, a solitary butterfly. 

VI.
This darkening autumn:
my neighbor,
how does he continue?

VII.
Autumn darkness 
                descends
on this road I travel 
                                 alone

VIII.
Lightning
shatters the darkness―
the night heron’s shriek 

IX.
An ancient pond,
the frog leaps:
the silver plop and gurgle of water.

X.
My eyes,
having observed everything,
returned to the white chrysanthemums. 

XI.
Useless dreams, alas!
Over desolate fields
winds whisper as they pass.

XII.
Observe:
see how the wild violets bloom
within the forbidden fences!

XIII.
Leaves, like the shadows of crows
cast by a lonely moon.

XIV.
A kite floats
at the same place in the sky
where yesterday it floated …

XV.
Pausing between clouds
the moon rests
in the eyes of its beholders

XVI.
Our life here on earth:
to what shall we compare it?
It is not like a rowboat
departing at daybreak,
leaving no trace of us in its wake?

XVII.
Graven images of long-departed gods,
dry spiritless leaves:
companions of the temple porch

XVIII.
See: whose surviving sons
visit the ancestral graves
white-bearded, with trembling canes?

XIX.
Does my soul abide in heaven, or hell?
Only the sea gull
in his high, lonely circuits, may tell. 

XX.
Mariner, do not ask whose tomb this may be,
but go with good fortune: I wish you a kinder sea.

XXI.
The first soft snow:
leaves of the awed jonquil 
bow low

XXII.
Fever-felled mid-path
my dreams resurrect, to trek
into a hollow land

XXIII.
This snowy morning:
cries of the crow I despise
(ah, but so beautiful!)

XXIV.
Like a heavy fragrance
snow-flakes settle:
lilies on rocks

XXV.
The sea darkening,
the voices of the wild ducks:
my mysterious companions!

XXVI.
These wilting summer flowers?
The only remains 
of “invincible” warriors and their dreams …

XXVII.
Spring has come:
the nameless hill 
lies shrouded in mist

XXVIII.
Right at my feet!
When did you arrive here,
snail?

XXIX.
The first morning of autumn:
the mirror I investigate
reflects my father’s face

XXX.
Blizzards here on earth,
blizzards of stars
in the sky

XXXI.
It fills me with anger,
this moon; it fills me
and makes me whole

XXXII.
War
stood at the end of the hall
in the long shadows

XXXIII.
Because he is slow to wrath,
I tackle him, then wring his neck
in the long grass

XXXIV.
Pale mountain sky:
cherry petals play
as they tumble earthward

XXXV.
The bitter winter wind
ends here
with the frozen sea

XXXVI.
Oh, bitter winter wind,
why bellow so
when there’s no leaves to fell? 

XXXVII.
Stillness:
a single chestnut leaf glides
on brilliant water

XXXVIII.
As thunder recedes
a lone tree stands illuminated in sunlight:
applauded by cicadas

XXXIX.
The snake slipped away
but his eyes, having held mine,
still stare in the grass

XXXX.
I am a traveler
going nowhere—
but my how the gawking bystanders stare!

The Rites Of Thunder

Archnemesis whozyourdm