shadowed graveyard
stones of strangers
a foreign language

after the rain
old man on a bicycle
pedals by

I sit writing
by the shrine—perplex
the neighbors

I traveled
my whole life, just to enjoy

twisted leafless trees—
this slick moss
almost trips me up

politics blares
from the passing van,
clumps of narcissus

Photographs by Isabel Winson-Sagan

7 am. Dawn. Itoshima, Fukuoka, Japan

And the strains of “Blue Blue My Love Is Blue” chime the time over the neighborhood.

Last night we walked home after a lovely party at Kura Studio with artists from South Korea, Italy, and Guatemala, plus our Japanese hosts and two little children playing with tiny plastic dinosaurs. This is “our” walk from House 3 to the office. Down the lane, past two Shinto shrines, earthen embankments above our heads. Then fields and impressive greenhouses. People burning trash at the edge of the fields–it could be home in New Mexico.

Past a little restaurant with a sign of rabbits making mochi. Then on to the road. Isabel started talking about animal spirits and I shushed here–I wouldn’t mention Coyote on a Santa Fe night walk. As we strolled through light mist, time chimed with the resounding strains of “Edelweiss, Edelweiss” from “The Sound of Music.”

Impossible not to love the world at this moment.

lit train
across dark rice fields—
our flashlights

In With the New

New Year’s—the standard one—doesn’t mean that much to me. But the Japanese new year does have seasonal meaning in haiku—and Elizabeth Searle Lamb was fond of it. She liked starting a new journal, a new calendar.

again, New Year’s Eve–
wondering how far I’ll get
with this new journal

bells and firecrackers!
a drop of champagne has stained
the New Calendar

These are from my very first blog post!

I’m leaving Honolulu today for Japan—God willing and the creek don’t rise. This is the journey of maternal mitochondria—creative duo of me and my daughter Isabel Winson-Sagan, headed for a residency in Kura Studio. Tokyo first. Leading us along is my indomitable son-in-son Tim Brown.

We did a year’s review yesterday, and put our feet in the Pacific.

golden fireworks—
on new year’s day
dry hibiscus falls

Waikiki Beach, 2018

More Contemporary Mexican Haiku

HOMERO ARIDJIS (Michoacán, 1940)

A lo Ryokan

Al menos los ladrones
me dejaron una cosa,
la luna en la ventana.

At least the burglars
left me one thing,
the moon at the window.

Martha Obregón Lavín (Mexico City, 1943)

Un pensamiento
se eleva con el viento;
es mariposa

A thought
elevates with the wind;
it´s a butterfly

Francisco Hernández (Tuxtla, Veracruz, 1946)

Pino seco
en medio de lo verde:

Dry pine
in the midst of the green:
a flare.

En la gran jaula
truena el canto emplumado
del relámpago

In the big cage
thunders the feathered chant
of the lightning

Note: the word “feathered” (emplumado) is very probably a reference of Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent god of the Mexica culture (Aztecs).

Haiku curated & translated by Cristina Rascon Castro

Haiku Pathway

Launched last week! Come see it in central courtyard of Santa Fe Community College. A few additions and corrections coming soon, but it’s basically done!

Stoneware haiku created and installed by Christy Hengst. Haiku curated by Miriam Sagan. Funding from the Witter-Bynner Foundation, Santa Fe’s own extraordinary poetry foundation that enhances our lives in many venues. Support from SFCC Foundation, New Mexico Literary Arts, the ever lively Art on Campus, and my old home base–The English Department.

Photographs by Matt Marrow.