I was sitting on a rough-hewn bench

eating a meager meal in a small roadside saké shop.

A large jar of saké sat in front of me.

I sat eating, sipping, watching…

...an ant walking across the table

...rain drip-drip-dripping down a rain chain

...the shuffle-shuffle-swish of a fine lady in late Spring kimono.


Two women at a nearby table

-- maybe sisters, maybe aunt and niece --

were gossiping.


A piece of disturbing news was rippling through the village.

Sen no Rikyu had committed seppuku.


I awoke from the dream, crying


in this life,

having comprehended

the profound teaching

lost on tyrant Hideyoshi.

(c) 2017 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

This poem appears in The School of Soft-Attention, now available for order from Homebound Publications or Amazon.com

To purchase Maneki Neko's haunting recording "Muichi Motsu", visit his Bandcamp.