--for Sengikumaru, in his voice


I must admit

last night

I yearned for the "cloud bed" of Lady Mori.


Even now, separated by lifetimes, I am haunted by her eyes.

They shimmered and glowed and changed colors in the shifting light.

White like pearls in sunshine.

Blue-gray on days with snow.

Soft jade on rainy days in spring and summer.

Sparkling amber-gold on nights with poetry, saké, candlelight, love-play.  


I miss her hands

her curves

her laughter

her sing-song speech.

Spooning around her in winter; her rump like a sweet peach.

The way her blind eyes would gaze down

as her fingers plucked the strings of her koto.

Ancient songs flowed from her hands

as if they arrived from some unknown heaven.


Elegant, regal, parasol in hand --

her graceful way of walking was like watching a ghost

an unfolding dream

a drifting cloud

a bright flower petal floating by in the river of time.


Here, now, a different life than before,

a different "deathbed" altogether,

I gaze up at a picture of Amida Buddha on the wall.

Multi-colored threads drape down from the image to my weak and trembling hands.

It is soon my time to go again

but my heart-mind is still bound by the red thread.


I wonder,

does my Lady Mori wait for me?

Is the way to the Pure Land finally open?

Will I make it across the vast water to the Other Shore,

or return to this earthly plane of strife and suffering again?

Years. Who's counting?



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

To learn more about the Japanese-inspired ambient music of Austin-based musician Maneki Neko, visit his site: Maneki Neko

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