On Reading Issa Each Morning

by Naomi Beth Wakan

Every morning,

as others open their papers

to the sports page, or

keep them closed on the grim

rumors of the day,

I receive a small, sweet message

by e-mail, a message

telling of simple things . . .

midday naps, the scent of the lotus,

deer rutting and mountain rain,

a sickle moon, a temple bell,

muddy straw sandals, the beggar’s stove,

first frost and slush-splashed robes,

plum blossom, Buddharupas,

saké cups, radishes,

garbage-removers, mosquitoes

at the eaves and a cottage door

crushed by morning glories,

tumbled down houses and dogs

mouthing down rice cakes.

Only occasionally a bigger mystery

presents itself for my morning

consideration, such as

a samurai’s discarded top knot.

This poem previously appeared in Sex After 70 and Other Poems (Toronto: Bevalia Press, 2010). To learn more about Naomi and her many wonderful books, please visit her website. To receive a daily Issa haiku of your own (the service described in this poem), please visit David G. Lanoue’s website, “Haiku of Kobayashi Issa”—scroll down to the “Daily Issa” heading and click the Subscribe option.