Fallen trees of Norwegian wood
Offer rest for our weary backs.
We seven sit in sullen silence
Awaiting our turn to meet the axe
That split the bark of these stoic giants.
I and my comrades hang our heads.
Prayers are read by foreign priests,
Blessing us in tongues we do not know.
We will soon join the noble deceased
Be it a feast in Valhalla or fire below.
Continue reading “The Tale of Sigurd Buesson”
Three dead men float above,
Purveying the land of the living.
Their vapid specters, a cruel satire
Of the HBO special upon the stage below.
Watching Pietro Crespi’s clocks
Tick away the shortening days
Like a spark gnawing at a fuse,
The tension building as the wick shrinks,
Ever approaching the inevitable end
That never fails to surprise.
Continue reading “Scarecrows”
With a pluck of a silver string,
A flaming phoenix takes flight,
Silently rising to the stars
Before gracefully cresting its arc
And returning to its mortal task.
In the soft light of the moon
A boat floats on the gentle tide.
It is headed out to sea,
Away from terrestrial toil,
And into the great unknown,
Who valiantly guards her secrets
Against the vain greed of man.
Continue reading “Frigga”
Drunk at nine am
Fast asleep by ten-thirty
Shit, what day is it?
It’s amazing how the same song
On the long and loathsome walk to work
Could be the soft soundtrack to a suicide,
Then be a joyous, life-affirming hymn,
Accompanied by torrential rain,
Warm thunder, and beautiful lighting,
By midnight on the walk home.
You were the divine spark
That ignited the Big Bang
And set a formless void
Ablaze with wondrous light.
Volatile Helium and Hydrogen
Fused with uncontainable passion,
Bursting forth with new light,
Creating the stars and planets,
For whom the light shown.
We vanquished the void
And set the cosmos in motion,
Beginning the ticking of time.
And with it, meaning and purpose.
But in the shadows, darkness grows.
The ever mounting evil, entropy,
Will expose our beautiful naivety.
How could we have expected
The exponential expansion
To ever settle into something stable?
But why should we vainly hope
For such an inane future?
Expansion brought meaning
And gave our cosmos life.
And even if we are doomed
Along with every last atom
To be torn apart in the end
By the intrinsic expansion,
Let us enjoy these moments
While our gravity holds out
And be thankful when the lights fade
And we drift into solitary darkness again.
There is a tree that stands alone
in a highland meadow atop Mt. Hira
Whose trunk and limbs are knotted and gnarled
From years of exposure to the cold bite of winter,
The oppressive heat of summer, and the typhoons of autumn.
This lonely and deformed obelisk
Stands with courage and dignity,
Purveying its kingdom atop a rocky throne,
And commanding the admiration of all
Who arrive at its alter, breathless and beaten,
Nearly defeated by a single afternoon
On the slopes of the stoic king’s abode.
Continue reading “Resolute”
Woe is me whose leader is naivety
Over moss-laiden trails
That cross vast, green vales
And rise through forests of pine
To the ridge of the mountain’s spine.
Ever the ambitious optimist,
A future-dwelling optometrist,
My foolish guide is hours ahead,
Already tasting tonight’s feast of bread,
Baked in the oven inside my pack
Kept warm and moist by my sweaty back
During the hours of toil yet to come
Before the peaks are past and the day is won.
Continue reading “Trail Fantasies”
The calm waters of the Seta River
Silently stream by, like black ink.
The way the city lights of Otsu
Reflect from the opposing bank
And play in the rippling contours
Appears as though retrograde motion
Has inspired the water to retreat upstream,
Back to the safety of the past.
But unlike Ptolemy,
I know the forces at work,
Urging the water forever forth.
I see its destiny of struggle
Through the mountain valleys,
Where it will be slowed down,
Used, robbed, bent back on itself,
Dirtied, and nearly run dry—
But never will it deviate from fate.
No trick of light,
Nor obstacles laid by man or nature,
Will stop the snake from continuing
To the Bay of Osaka,
Where it will join the innumerable waters
Of the unfathomable ocean.
It will be consumed by that
Which cannot be encompassed
And finally realize the righteous path
It had been on, all along.
Though the river knows none of this,
It boldly continues on with conviction.
I only hope that I can do the same.
The cracked pavement rattles the bus
As it bumbles down the backcountry road.
The clouds hang low, melding seamlessly
With the cool morning fog
In whose mist, the shadows of deer
Frolic about looming specters of trees.
But soon, the fog rises like a curtain
Revealing the sturdy roots the mountain,
From where my trial will truly begin.
Nearly six months ago,
I had approached the monolith
With the same feelings of anxious excitement.
It had been similar weather;
A sudden chill and fog had blanketed the land,
Despite a favorable forecast.
There had been four of us that day,
But now I embark by myself.
We had been forced to turn back
After a long day of struggling
Against a raging spring blizzard
Until our limbs were burning with frostbite
And icicles hung from our noses.
Today, I know (with a conviction
That I don’t yet understand)
That I will not be retreating. Continue reading “Amagoi Peak 雨乞岳”