Here in You: A Poem

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It is always a
coming home,
a remembering,
the air whip thin
and sparkling
a sundance of
unfiltered joy
the crackling
under the feet
of a whole
cycle of life
preparing for
its journey
down, out,
through,
standing still
no matter
where you are
to find yourself
at the epicenter
of the language
of birdsong,
and you don’t
want to
decipher it
because
you realize
you already
understand.
You know you
are here
in you.
 
– TS

Tiger Eye

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our foreign land
eyes cast out
aeons and
memories deep
knowing not
perspective
from where
they gaze
 
our foreign body
groping wildly
in the dark
struggling
from a place
of unseen
clamoring
unbidden
 
a home our home
taking those
weary eyes
to task
filling them
with fire
turning it
around – TS

I am Home.

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I am home, just woken.

I’ve done my morning ablutions,

and take my first sip

of steaming coffee.

I put off the vacuuming for

another day,

I wonder what to do with

all the fresh mint, how to cook

with sesame leaf.

There is indigo dye

to experiment with,

the grey sky is readying for rain.

Last weekend,

when we went to the mountains

in a mountainous prefecture,

it was another sky, cerulean,

allowing the dazzle of sun through

so that everything, including

ourselves, glittered

like jewels.

We came upon a pond,

on one side of which

a gaggle of retired men

with the longest camera lenses

I’ve seen were at attention, silent

and stealthy, waiting

for a kingfisher to appear.

On the far end of the pond

was a house in the traditional style,

large and cavernous, gaping holes

on the roof, and it was hard to

imagine, on this sunny day

how wet and cold it would be

would be most days of the year,

if it were still inhabited.

Today, the house was flanked by

trees of every kind and colour,

like the four seasons decided

to hold congress in the

fractal rays of this one afternoon,

so that we could delight in

this fold in time and its

embrace of all our bleeding

emotions and sun-drying experiences,

as if to give every single one of

us visitors the warmth and

liberty to say it loud:

I am home.

We All Want Home

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It’s possible to spend a
lifetime looking for home
 
After many humble beginnings
Many false if hopeful starts
 
After bowing in thanks and
reverence for finding ourselves here,
 
For being given the chance to
know the awe of our humanity,
 
Thankful, too, for the realization
that home is a space we seek
 
Having found it in juicy parts,
the fiery sun descending over waters,
 
The bird’s first chirp as it arches
its tiny neck for mother, for food,
 
The cicadas heralding their arrival
for a cycle in comforting song,
 
The startling clarity of a cool,
clear river rushing downstream.
 
Between solid ground and the
expansion of sky, we are here,
 
Where for a startling moment,
inside matches out and our breath
 
Is the air of a thousand ways
to soothe and balm the world.
 
We will travel through many
places that will not be home,
 
Where we squeeze and constrict
and try and anguish and scream
 
In confusion for why home is not
our birthright, now, at the ready,
 
And then we will breathe, and breathe
again, and find that the pursuit of home
 
Is why we are here, and that there will
be nothing sweeter than arriving. -TS
 

Where We Dwell

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How many times do we
have to see such beauty,
such vivid remarks on
life’s wonders and splendors
emerge from the deepest blacks
where even shadows are
absorbed in the void
to feel the truth of it
sink deep into our bones,
that our hearts leap to the void
out of fear that might be
as deep as beginningless time,
but that we do not need to
rest here. This does not
have to be where we dwell.
That the darkness is where we
visit after starting out in light
and before we find our way back.
All this unbelievable beauty –
the trail home.
Also, no more and
no less that exactly
what it is. – TS

 

Let’s Build Our House

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The house I will build for you
will not always be the most
perfect or well-kept house,
 
It will not always be standing
as firmly as you need it too, upon
its foundation of good intentions
 
It will at times shake and shiver
as the winds howl into gales that
have all the markers of rage and fury
 
It might sigh and tremble and
start to collapse in certain parts
as though doubt itself built its joints
 
And the waters running beneath
will seep into its skin and bones
and threaten to drown the house
 
That we have constructed with all
the love we know how to put into
this world through the things we make
 
And the things we find, that we
want so badly to hold in firm embrace
and never let go, and never leave
 
But this house I will build for you
will always persevere, because the
blood of generations runs through
 
Its sometimes strong and sometimes
wavering frame, and it beats and it
palpates until we recognize the dance
 
And the view from all sides will
always be sublime, and the horizons of
love will always keep it standing. – TS

Oh, Canada!

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I don’t know, maybe it’s because Justin Trudeau is now one Prefecture over from mine in Mie for the G7 Summit (I was in the area last week and saw security ramping up in a huge way, and also visited one of the most sacred shrines in Japan, which Trudeau will surely be visiting soon) … but it makes me want to scream from the rooftops (where I might be heard by several world leaders):

We’re coming to Canada!

Well, not quite yet. We still have the matter of getting my husband’s visa. But after years of travel, and then … resting? for awhile in Japan, we’re thrilled to be in the beginning stages of our move back home (for me) and to a new home (to him). It’s what we’ve been dreaming of and planning for, if a bit abstractly through our amazing wanderings abroad.

It’s overwhelming thinking of the things that need to be done, but at the same time, I shiver with excitement thinking about continuing my writing career in the place that has inspired so many of my stories and has been the foundation of so much of what I am – a foundation I’ve only grown to appreciate as I entered new cultures and found myself both riveted and confounded by my own positioning in the scheme of things.

These are all issues I’m sure will be writing about in the years to come, both as I journal my way through myriad emotions, and allow the past few years to seep into my skin and bones. I’m hoping for a tapestry of words that will only expand (and warm, and protect), as the years on our new homestead unfold.

For now, Japan is an unparalleled experience, but Canada awaits, a new promise  for a new future. My husband can taste the maple syrup already (I’m more of a poutine type myself) :).