THE LONG JOURNEY

JAPANESE POETRY FORMS by J P GALLAGHER











CONTENTS:

HAIKU AND TANKA:
SENYRU:
-SPRING.
-THE RIVER.
-SUMMER.
-BIRTH.
-FALL.
-LIFE.
-WINTER.
-LOVE.
-MARRIAGE.
-DEATH.
-REFLECTION.

The following pages represent a sampling of the collection which is available upon request.

All photographs in this section are by Elizabeth Bressi-Stoppe.


for those who listen…. and believe.
© JPG Fall 1991

Winter


Nocturnal traveller
listen well to the frigid
still air, but pause not.

Ancient frigid moon
remaining well past the dawn
seeks the sun’s warmth too.

The skeleton trees,
stone-like earth…. is this garden
where the crocus bloom?

Wet sunless morning
even my frozen willow
seems that much sadder.

Fluttering crystals
blanketing my frozen fields
in perfect stillness.

Rising whiffs of steam
vanishing against the sky….
frigid city rain.

Floating softly down
fine misty droplets…. bathing
the empty branches.

Above the stone trees
hangs the magic moon freezing
this moment in time.

Oh such a shame that
this twilight’s skies could not stay
to grace us longer.

Crystal sun and the
palette sky’s refreshing scent
say: winter’s pregnant.

The wind-blown crystals
frolic in their icy dance
in brilliant sunlight.

As I rose at dawn
my frosted window revealed
glaze upon my pond.

Glass trees in sunlight….
from every branch dripping tears
of winter’s farewell.

Birth



For William Daniel McCann

The long night of moans
yields to joyful cries of life….
Welcome my new son!

Of all the new things
fresh this spring; you are the most
welcome….tiny child.

Nine moons full and gone
I’ve waited for this special harvest….
to hold my new son.

Tiny tiny, hands….
Already you hold our hearts….
O joy of new life!

Life



For My Son, Rustin

Tall willowy child
your spring turns into summer
before my proud eyes.

Constant companion
to my weary willow…. flow….
flow…. mighty river.

Why does God create
one small, solitary cloud
in a clear blue sky?

LIFE

Sleeping in my arms
nothing gives me peace of mind
like my infant child.

Still, this ceaseless storm
batters down both my soul and
this weary willow.

The eyes of the child
sparkle almost as much as
do the grandparent’s.

Tanka

The pain of heartache….
The sweet soaring joy of love….
these are life’s seasons.
Oh how fair the summer’s sun
and how cruel the winter’s bite.

Warmly sheltered in
loving arms, the humblest
hearth is richest blessed.

Nothing is sadder
than heartbreak stealing sparkle
from the eyes of love.

Love



For Michael and Gwen

When young and in love
spring is always in your hearts
and time stands quite still.

How your heart races
and your eyes sparkle when you
see the one you love!

Lovely smiling eyes…
your beauty goes far beneath…
to your open heart.
For Pam 10/3/89

All that is and all
that ever is to be says
you are right for me.

Of all that I see…. !
Vast, open space, sky…. Nothing
compares to your touch.

Haiku by Pam Mammarella
I do believe that
there is magic in these hills
and in my love’s heart.


Marraige



For Michael and Gwen

Oh this special day!
Petals, veils, vows, joy and love
bind this sweet union.

Joy, tears, smiles of
the glowing bride…. most of all:
love surrounds us all.

Death


How very precious
each tiny memory when
life is touched by death.

Haiku For Thiele

How frail we are…. and
life so fleeting…. this blossom
gone; but not forgotten.

Every drop of rain;
another memory…. yet
each heartbeat; a tear.

Healing
Let each falling leaf
tell us: remember spring…. life’s
eternal cycle.

With love and fond remembrance 11/4/86

Reflection



Spring 1965

The Long Journey

Oh how long I’ve walked
and proud of it, till I met
a man returning.

Spring


Tender baby shoots
undauntedly raise their heads
kissed by morning snow.

In every blossom
and from every single leaf
I sense God’s spirit.

Brilliant daffodil!
A hummingbird’s cup or a
couch for napping bees?

Soft, white, ashen sky
proclaims the uncertainty
of the new morning.

Wonder of wonders!
This cold world has made it through
to see the crocus!

Cascading petals
floating on a gentle wind
Join my dancing feet.

Stretched out in the sun
magnolia blossoms and I….
await the iris.

The purple, yellow
and greens are not diminished
by the harsh cold rain.

God makes days like
this so you could bask in glory
warm ruby tulip.

This dew splashed morning….
tell me lonely pansy face,
please; your tear or mine?

Shining as brilliant
as the eyes of a child….
blossoms in the rain.

I’ll never get home
if each bright blossom stops me
with heavenly scents.

What joy God bestows
when on his canvas of sky
He brushes such clouds.

Fall


Last night the frigid
maples wrapped my garden in
a yellow blanket.

My neighbor’s mountain
greets this morning adorned in
many colored coats.

Frozen harvest moon
burdens the scarecrow’s shoulder….
quiet golden night.

The fat golden moon
had me transfixed ’till an owl’s
quick flight broke its spell.

Much too quick to night
the glorious embers of
sunset fade away.

Quiet wet meadow
bathed in sunlight, washed in fog….
morning kissed by God

Summer


Can it really be…..
That Fuji is capped with snow
while I sit and sweat?

Up I fell into
a flowing sea of green…. just
napping ‘neath an oak.

Green and silver waves
ripple and crash at my feet.
Not the sea! Tall grass!

This weary poet
knows when to only listen….
this evening’s frog song.

Cheery and joyful
raucous and insistent, my
bird bath alarm clock.

Whispy and criss-crossed
first bright blue then dirty grey….
this sky can’t decide.

The glass smooth river
bends ahead and turns troubled….
angry with the rocks.

Timeless and haunting
vast and ever inviting
the sea engulfs me.

Heaven must surely
be like this…. always orange
blossoms fill the air.

In just an instant
a jagged tear in the sky
made the dark night day.

In quiet moonlight
lotus petals floating by
in serenity.

Dancing butterflies
tiptoeing from buttercup
to bright buttercup.

This old owl and I
just can’t seem to figure out
who’s been waking whom.

This meadow chorus
alive with wildflowers….
a sweet symphony.

Tanka

Fat guardian frog
perched on moss carpeted rocks,
intently watching
a rainbow-winged dragon fly,
leaps…. only to split the moon.

RIVER HAIKU



Each morning I see
another mysterious
face of the river.

Sometimes I wonder
just what morning is hiding
under mists and fog.

The river’s deep, black,
secret shadows are darker
than the night itself.

Torquois and silver
in the sunset’s icy spell…
the river shimmers.

Old friends met again
the sky, river, sunshine and
this old grateful fool.

Copyright © 1996 by James P. Gallagher All rights reserved.