I am an epiphyte. The air and the rain sustain me. My tastes are rather simple you see, and I need nothing else.
Do not be fooled by the “K” at the start of my name. My heart is not a bureaucratic maze, very far from it; rather, it is the world around me that often seems to be.
I like to pick up dust from the ground and throw it over my shoulders. Sometimes, it even turns into gold, helping me and others find our way.
I see the infinitely small, I feel the infinitely big and they become words that I offer here for all the ones who care to read; for all the ones who, so kindly, allow me to lean on them in this world I often do not understand.
– An epiphyte is a plant that grows on the surface of another plant or tree. It sustains itself with the humidity from the air and the rain. An epiphyte leans on the plant or tree, and it is not attached to it (hence it is not a parasite); and it does not feed on it either, but rather produces nutrients that sustain it as well as any organism in its proximity. The best known epiphyte is of course the orchid.
– The “K” is in reference to Joseph K, in Franz Kafka’s “The trial.”
I sweep the dry leaves and the brushwood from the alley leading to the front door.
I rarely do so, as I seldom have visitors.
The night before you arrive, I know it will rain. In silence, it will wet the trees and the roof.
The scent of wet soil will greet you along with the one of the roses I planted near the entrance.
I will leave the front door ajar. It may squeak, echoing my old bones.
As for me, after setting up the tray with the blue cup with the butterfly, I will depart.
The kettle will be filled. The tea leaves are in the small white jar.
You will find tranquility here.
Stay as long as you wish.
Just a bit, I leaned on the side to better see the little flower smiling at me.
As I leaned, all my sadness suddenly spilled out.
I saw it pilling up on the side, right next to the little flower.
Now I feel as light as the little flower, and silence is here finally.
Just a bit, I leaned on the side.
I wish I lived in an Ozu movie.
Illustration: Scene from Tokyo Story (東京物語, Tōkyō Monogatari – 1953) by Yasujirō Ozu (Japan, 1903-1963).
Video: Tribute to Ozu with clips from Banshun (Early Spring – 1956) – link.
Gentle Spring rain
which one am I hearing?
Small birds chirping
too young to fly.
The cat observes them
from the window.
I like to think he just wants to play.
the clouds shape-shift
and the rain leaves.
New fragrances arrive
as old as the earth.
and write nothing.
Note: There some 50 different ways to name “rain” (雨 – ame) in Japanese. And just for Spring, one can use “Spring rain” (春霖 – shun rin) or “gentle Spring rain” (春雨 – shun u). I was inspired by the latter for this poem.
If I may, I share here one passage from the “Tao Te Ching,” a book I actually read every morning. I read this passage to my nine year old son today, after we had a discussion on patience and reaching compromises with people who may not want to do so. I thought it offered three pieces of advice, which applicability is apt for most situations in life. Thank you.
“Some say my teaching is nonsense.
Others call it lofty but impractical.
But to those who have looked inside themselves,
this nonsense makes perfect sense.
And to those who put it into practice,
this loftiness has roots that go deep.
I just have three things to teach:
simplicity, patience and compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both your friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings of the world.”
– Poem 67 of the “Tao Te Ching” by Lao Tzu (VIth. c. BCE), translated by Stephen Mitchell (1999).