imagine (jisei)

a scour of waves in the afternoon wind
the bright hard at our faces


the words fall away
until there is only light 
                   then not even that. 

Image: Picnickers at Wollongong City Beach (then known as South Beach) with Coniston Beach and Port Kembla Steelworks in background, 9 November, 1982. c/- Wollongong Public Library . A jisei is a ‘death poem’ in Japanese/East Asian tradition. Jisei tend to offer a reflection on death—both in general and concerning the imminent death of the author (in this case imagined – touch-wood🤞)—that is often coupled with a meaningful observation on life. Frank is hosting the bar at dverse asks us to write a jisei to celebrate the onset of the northern winter.

And here’s the wonderful Gillian Welch with Hard Times.

Opening day

Needles from the low off Antarctica
spun from a face of angry ice
spray snatched into the sky
this mighty engine.

the water’s green and planktonic
no line or floor 
humpbacks below
sailing a darker green. 

out of options, breathless
a man decides happiness.

Image: Vincent P. Taylor [in inflatable rubber suit] floating on San Francisco Bay, Sept. 29th, 1926 / Taylor Family photographs and State Library of NSW on Flickr. Opening day at my local swimming pool was a bit blustery. A quadrille for Dverse where Lillian is hosting and asks us to use the word ‘happy’.

And since we’re talking about it, here’s my happy place – Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Here’s the Aria by piano superstar Lang Lang (just ignore the cheesy camera work — maybe close your eyes for five minutes.)