Lunch with Basho
I thought it might be obvious to make
sashimi for the wise man, so instead
I roasted chicken, served some honeyed plums
and fresh-baked bread. He rang the bell at twelve,
came to the table, closed his eyes, pronounced:
the birds have cloud skin
taste it; what delicious sin,
to gnaw at heaven!
So skip the chicken, no one’s forcing you.
I poured him sake, cool as summer rain;
we toasted life, and love, and poetry,
and all important things. But when I asked,
so how’s it going?, he shook his head, said,
paths wind through fir trees
one becomes lost at sunset;
can’t follow crickets
Between mouthfuls of plum, I said to him,
that doesn’t really tell me anything.
And we sat silently, which meant that he
was speaking volumes. Slyly, I inquired,
how bout the love life? Smiling, he replied,
frogs begin like fish
then find lilypads and sit
atop their old home
Well, you’re no help at all, I frowned at him,
and stood to clear the plates. He hardly ate;
his mind is always elsewhere. From the sink,
I watched him swirl my teacups round and round,
his contemplation spilling on the cloth.
Joseph Harker is the pseudonym of a
twentysomething graduate student from the East Coast of the US.
In between classes and other frivolous pursuits, he tries his
hand at scribbling poems when possible, and wishes he had more
time to do so. His work can be found at online journals such as
a handful of stones and
qarrtsiluni, but it's best to reach him
He'd like to wish you a splendid