On Reading Issa Each Morning
by Naomi Beth Wakan
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,
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.