Haiku March 24, 2021 by Yuri Kageyama
Cane in his hand,
He looks up for a long time
First cherry blossoms
The world suddenly looks like a splendid and hopeful place when sakura starts to bloom, right about this time in Tokyo. It happens without fail every year. But it’s so dazzling it feels unexpected. This morning, an old man was gazing up at a tree, probably the first cherry blossom tree he saw on his walk. His eyes, behind the glasses, I knew had seen so much, and was seeing all of that, again, in the flowers.
Haiku for Matisse
by Yuri Kageyama
Red over green
You got that right, Matisse
Then, Today and Forever.
And the Japanese translation
by Yuri Kageyama
Sometimes I get struck with irrational panic about what is going to happen to my poetry and stories after I’m dead.
Maybe I’m just worried about what’s going to happen to me after I’m dead.
But I worry for the future of my poems.
The technology of Google Books has worked as an eye-opener about the uselessness and irrelevance of such worries about how writing, already obscure, may disappear and be forgotten.
Books are rapidly getting digitized _ including books sitting in some corner of a forsaken library.
Google Books has publications I had forgotten my works were in _ like “A Good Day to Die” and “Ally” _ a review in Ms. magazine of an anthology that has my work, a paper I wrote in college.
It is heartening, though it should be obvious: Once you’ve written something, it is forever.
I should have known this.
But it’s reassuring to see the publications pop up as data in a simple search on your laptop.
Poetry is about the search for the eternal.
Poetry is about connecting with the human condition that is forever.
I am not afraid of death, although I tremble in utter fear of death.
I know I can play the moments in my life, over and over, like reels of a movie, like lines of a poem, like a Google Books search.
I can travel back and forth between now, to times distant that came long before, and back again to that unknown sleep that comes after death.
I can play those moments.
Each moment that is now is eternal, even after I’m gone.