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.

25 thoughts on “imagine (jisei)

  1. This is amazing, Peter, and absolutely breathtaking.

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

    I gasped at the final line–just something to it about the fading and reverberations of death, until truly there is nothing left. Brilliant poem, I’m in awe.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the shape of this poem, Peter, the way it fades with the light at the end, and the phrase ‘a scour of waves in the afternoon wind’ creates a vivid image with sounds. The photo is the perfect illustration.


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