Spirits Rising: ひろしま / hiroshima by Ishiuchi Miyako
January 18, 2020 – March 15, 2020 / Garden Hours
Location: Pavilion Gallery & Tanabe Gallery

Portland Japanese Garden is commemorating 2020 as the Year of Peace in recognition of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. Throughout the year, the Garden will be taking the opportunity to stimulate conversation and facilitate thoughtful discussions on the importance of cultivating peace and cross-cultural understanding.
This exhibition will include a selection of the internationally acclaimed photographer’s monumental ひろしま / Hiroshima series, documenting cherished items and clothing left behind by victims of the atomic bomb detonated in Hiroshima at the close of World War II that are now housed at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

U wrote this haibun two years ago, in Japan:

today it’s just a station
on the bullet train

Or, more than that, it’s a lovely city with great food and shopping. I don’t know why I expected it to be frozen in the past, a smoking ruin. That’s as foolish as expecting to be met by Puritans in black hats at Boston’s Logan Airport. Still, it is a pilgrimage, different than a Tokyo neighborhood of food stalls or the earthly delights of Hakata Station in Fukuoka. We get an AirBnB near the Peace Park.
Everything is an adventure. This is Japan, after all, and I’m traveling with my daughter and son-in-law. I adore them, but they are millennials, and different than me. Three futons are laid out, and we all sleep in one room. I could never have done that with my own mother.

Peace Park
a twig broom sweeps
the wind

One of the more upsetting pieces for me is a memorial to the girls’ school where the students died. Because Japan was still under occupied forces when it was built, the U.S. said that the sculptor could not reference the atom bomb by name in this plea for peace. So “atom bomb” is replaced with “E=mc squared.”

no sleeping
on park benches, pigeons,
the funeral mound

tailless black cat
on its own
mysterious errand

tourists weeping
and snapping
cell phone photos

A giant tortoise, memorializing Koreans, is surrounded by Japanese sparrows.

We’re from New Mexico. An hour from Los Alamos where the A-bomb was birthed, monstrous, into this world. And somehow I feel more implicated by this more than by being an American. Even though these events happened before I was born. But we talk about Robert Oppenheimer and Los Alamos as we enter the museum. And there are shocked to find not one mention of either name. No New Mexico. No father of the bomb. A great deal of accurate and interesting history, and from the Japanese perspective. Melted roof tiles. Photographs of disastrous ruin. But not our own guilt terrain.
I feel I need to apologize to someone but nothing here demands apology. Instead, the greatest focus is on peace.
At the neighborhood shrine after I bow and drop my coins in the box I’m surprised to have a Shinto priest appear and shake a branch tied with white cloth over my head. But I feel better. I can’t just leave the Peace Park and go looking for lunch without a transition.

the word for “gods”
and “paper”
sounds just the same

I buy
origami sheets to fold
cranes for a friend.

Canal Lock Haibun

It was fascinating–a barge as long as two city blocks moving along the river between two Great Lakes. It took about an hour for the locks to fill and the level to rise. But “Don’t condescend and EXPLAIN to me,” a woman hissed at her husband. I myself like to explain, but I knew what she meant.

dark canal locks–
every husband

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

Haibun by Bill Waters

The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of the singing of birds is come,
and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.
                        —from “The Song of Solomon”
When I was a child, I yearned to hear the voice of the turtle. Would it warble like a miniature French horn? Would it growl like a tiny tuba?
My mother, who knew something of the Bible, told me the turtle of the poem is actually a turtledove, yet still I wondered whether turtles — always silent (in my presence, at least) — ever make a sound.
daybreak by the pond . . .

Poetry Month #6: Haibun by Angelee Deodhar

Haibun:The messenger

Predawn dark . . . unable to sleep, I open the door and step out on to the lawn, look around the potted plants and suddenly see one pure white flower in full bloom. I marvel at its perfection and touch its petals gently . . . then I come inside and read about it.
I go outside again and photograph it to send it by email to a friend half way across the world . . . .

weaving into
that relationship once more—
one frayed thread
Author’s Note: The white hibiscus a perennial with healing properties is a symbol of divinity, innocence, purity and royal beauty. In Japanese hanakotoba, the hibiscus means “gentle” and it can be given to more or less anyone simply as a nice present, there are no strong emotions or questions of relationships attached to it.
 Previously published in :Haibun Today  Volume 8, Number 1, March 2014

Poetry Posts First International Contributor–Angelee Deodhar

There are ten poetry posts on Santa Fe Community College’s campus. I’m still curating them, if retired. Yesterday I walked the posts and put up 10 haibun from Angelee Deodhar in India. They speak of her many journeys, inner and outer.


The Courtyard in Campus Center has two posts.


Courtyard C may have an uninspired name–but it’s a lovely serene spot to the east.

The post closest to the Fitness Center has a gray water faucet on it. And a neighboring post for birds:


Here is one haibun. But to see the rest you’ll have to take a walk!


Pilgrims, old people, lovers, mendicants, families, childless couples hoping to be blessed with offspring, all promising offerings in gold, silver, coins or paper money, all seeking something . . . blessings from a swayambhu stone phallic symbol . . . they flock to this mountain shrine every summer crossing treacherous terrain, rocky streams . . . making the keepers of the faith rich, those who could have helped but did not warn the thousands of the impending disaster, that they should move to higher ground . . . and then came the rain . . .

The shrine is surrounded by precarious shanties clinging to the mountainside, by hotels, houses, shops selling everything for worship . . . whatever one needs to appease the gods . . . flowers, coconuts, tinsel, veils, saffron, incense, betel nuts and empty plastic bottles to take the sacred waters home . . .

Sudden flash floods following slashing rain brings down the dwellings hanging by a prayer . . . the deluge furious washes it all away except the black stone shrine housing god . . . the brass Nandi remains upright facing the lingam . . . after the raging torrent subsides the debris of rocks and boulders are interspersed with dead bodies plundered by those left alive . . . sadhus steal from the dead . . . those with a few rations left steal from the living . . . the river accepts the human sacrifice and rushes on . . . and then the rain . . .

touching wood
on her wall and desk
the primeval forest

Swayambhu means “self–manifested” or “that which is created by its own accord”.

The lingam, meaning “mark”, “sign”, “inference,” is a representation of the Hindu deity Shiva used for worship in temples. Sādhu denotes an ascetic, wandering monk. The sādhu is solely dedicated to achieving mokṣa (liberation), the fourth and final aśrama (stage of life), through meditation and contemplation. Sādhus often wear saffron–colored clothing, symbolizing their sanyāsa (renunciation).

Nandi is now universally supposed to be the name for the bull which serves as the mount (Sanskrit: Vahana) of the god Shiva and as the gate keeper of Shiva and Parvati.

In June 2013, the North Indian states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, some regions of Western Nepal and their adjoining areas experienced heavy rainfall that triggered devastating floods and landslides. Damage to bridges and roads left over 70,000 pilgrims and tourists trapped in various places many of whom were rescued but more than 1,000 people have died with many more are still missing.

Beam Walking By Bill Waters

When I was little, I asked my brother what was in the attic. “Nothing,” he said, and added that you had to keep your feet on the beams or you’d fall through the ceiling.
The only beams I knew of were sunbeams, which filtered through the air vents on each side of the house. I wondered how they enabled you to walk without falling through, and I worried about what would happen if the sun went behind a cloud while you were standing on them.
don’t look down!
this high-wire act
called life

Haibun by Angelee Deodhar–Posted in honor of the Hindu New Year

Click to enlarge

Haibun :Dharavi

An Om symbol painted on one adobe shanty with a corrugated tin roof stands close to an identical green painted one. An old man smokes his hubble- bubble pipe while reading the local paper in Urdu. Bollywoood music blares from somewhere far away, drowning out the Christmas carols in the hut opposite. Urchins run to catch the wind with their kites. The smaller children play with spinning tops or make things out of mud, gods and goddesses and houses for them.

The girls help their mothers cook the sweet jiggery rice pudding for the New Year’s feast and also in painting a rice paste kolam just outside the entrance to their humble home. Today they don’t have to go to their sewing classes or take tourists around to see how and where slumdogs live .

soft clay on the wheel
the potter’s hands
shape mine

railway mosque –
a flash of blue
a kingfisher takes off

Notes from the author:
Haiku previously published Frogpond, Vol. 37:2, 2014 and in http://creatrix.wapoets.net.au/Feb 2014

Dharavi is a locality in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.[1] Its slum is one of the largest in the world;[1][2][3][4]  Dharavi is currently the second-largest slum in the continent of Asia Dharavi is also one of the most densely populated areas on Earth.
The Dharavi slum was founded in 1882 during the British colonial era, and grew in part because of an expulsion of factories and residents from the peninsular city centre by the colonial government, and from the migration of poor rural Indians into urban Mumbai (then called Bombay).[  For this reason, Dharavi is currently a highly multi-religious, multi-ethnic, and diverse settlement
Kolam (Tamil-) Kolam is a geometrical line drawing composed of curved loops, drawn around a grid pattern of dots. In South India that is drawn by using rice flour/chalk/chalk powder/white rock powder often using naturally/synthetically colored powders .It is widely practised by female Hindu family members in front of their house

image by Leonara Enking 
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharavi#/mediaa href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharavi#/media”>https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharavi#/media</a>/File:Shanty_dwellings,_Railway_tracks_and_Mosque_in_Dharavi_Slum_Mumbai_India_February_2010.jpg

Ekphrastic Haibun by Angelee Deodhar

Click to enlarge. The text is also replicated below for ease of reading.

Ekphrastic Haibun: Remnants

For months my friend and I have exchanged quotes, jokes and news of our families. On more than one occasion she sent me cards she had made herself… a collage of paper flowers, lace and sequins on stiff card paper. I marvel at the suppleness and dexterity of the hands, now stiff with arthritis of this former concert pianist, who sends these miniature works of art, half a world away.

I am reminded of a postcard by Charles Spencelayh, an English painter, around 1920. Its title is “The Lacemaker (Mrs Newell Making Lace)”. Recently ,I sent her a packet of different scraps of coloured lace and some U.S. stamps to cover the postage she would need to send some more cards.

crickets –
koi swim through
lacy blue clouds

Fleece by Gary LeBel


Toward evening the asphalt glitters with mica. Out of a flurry of rustling leaves, they step shoulder-to-shoulder out of the forest and onto the tar, five in all.

Twitching tails and intensely curious, they lengthen timid necks, wiggle their ears and widen their nostrils for a fresh appraisal, their huge brown eyes never leaving us, Beauty having draped them with her finest bolt of russet fleece.

Sensing that our intentions are amiable, the young deer move shyly past us and continue on across the road and to wherever twilight is leading them.

With footsteps nearly soundless,
they vanish as they first appeared, as one thought fades into another or into dream,
or memory or sleep

through the flowering goldenrod
every breath