Poem From Japan–Miriam Sagan

Thanks to Stone Bridge for publishing my poem of the Japanese countryside.

from the desk window
blue roof tiles
those dragon scales
that ripple
like the sea
and a corrugated
green tin roof
then the lettuce beds
of the old lady’s house

when she opens the screens
I can watch her
watch television
or eat a little snack,
she has quality
of loneliness
or aloneness
I recognize—
she’s the one
who is left

To see it all–

Sex Trade and A Very Small Earthquake: Poem by Miriam Sagan

Just published in https://sheilanagigblog.com/volume-2-3-spring-2018-the-poets/miriam-sagan/
Click to read more!

Sex Trade and a Very Small Earthquake

at 1am it woke me
more the house moving
than the earth itself
loud noise
screens rattling

on the way to the grocery store
my son-in-law and I
saw a long line of silent men
looking like a queue for bread
standing outside a tiny door
advertising women
and the price

this is just
a few feet from
from the fish stall,
more than sixty years and half a world
from my cautious worried
life as a woman
where one wrong turn
leads to dangerous DANGER

now old
I’m sleeping
beneath my drying clothes
pink sweater
which is another body
fluttering at the window shade
and swaying
like a gull
that looks down
on islands
and sees the ocean floor

Home From Japan But So Many Impressions Remain


the gate of the city of Fukuoka
sits as a walled park,
its shrines are several stories
with a public architecture
of gray curved roofs

the spirits housed here
assert a place
that will be populous, prosperous,
its train station
takes you everywhere else
and you must
bring home a box
of little cakes
to show you were there

feral but sleek
black and white cats
by the bodhisattva—
(someone must be feeding them)
a large pile of tiles
stacked up
to keep things in repair
above our heads

red pagoda
enormous tree
handful of cherry blossoms
lines of weathered buddhas
put out to pasture
and one huge buddha
you can’t photograph
but offer incense, candles
as I whisper
your long gone name

on the corner
is a noodle shop
the table set with garnishes
of green onions and tempura bits
who wouldn’t be happy?

flying half the night
I don’t see
the eclipse of the moon
although that will no doubt
the one I love

back in Honolulu
on the way home
Pagoda Hotel
with its funky
overgrown green
carp pool
full of whiskers and big turtles
I sit alone in the afternoon
in a fake
replica of a tower
that invites
the habitation
of the invisible.


Mochi Cafe

the rabbits are pounding rice
into mochi
on the moon

and in the little statue
outside the cafe
surrounded by flooded rice fields

we order by the picture
and are not disappointed
in what arrives, steaming, in tiny cakes, chrysanthemum bowls,

or floating in broth.
For some reason
I promised myself

I wouldn’t buy
much of anything
in the way of souvenirs

then find myself
looking in the long narrow mirror
in an exquisite silk robe

mostly black, then
out of old kimono

in which I look
so exactly like—or even so much more like—

out comes my billfold
of yen, and I buy
not just that but a reversible farmer’s hat

I’m set now
to wear this day’s memory
pulled around me

or in woven ikat
to shield my eyes
from the sun of other places, other seasons

waiting outside
with my shopping bag
I watch egrets take off and land

out of the irrigation ditches
and I bow to something shimmering
just out of sight.

Tree Mushrooms–Photographs by Isabel Winson-Sagan & Ikisan Station Questions–Poem by Miriam Sagan

Ikisan Station Questions

What is the name of the 3-headed Buddha?

How many calories are in the hot sweet milk tea bottle from the vending machine?

Is the vending machine a shrine?

How can you and I be so different?

Does the old lady across the way like me?

Why does the man I love love trains?

Does pebble equal mountain?

Was I here before and if so, why am I still lost?

What is the physics of the ancestors?

Is the boulder faceless?

Who owns these clouds?

Snow Angels by Doug Booth


A shroud of snow covers Lake Saranac,
Stretching beyond the frosted firs of Hardy’s Island.
The Iroquois named her Lake of the Silver Sky.
Lone moose call –
Then sound frozen silent.

Blood splotches in the snow,
Fresh rabbit kill –
Wolf family dinner.

My mother loved this Lake beyond love – spoke its silent language,
Sang gentle songs to her lapping shores,
Listened to the rise as the wind crossed the water,
Knew her secret coves with darting bass and plucky pollywogs,

Adirondack guide boat skims between lily pads,
With wee wobbly son and proud husband…

Watching us ride the Old Ford “Woody”, with no roof or windows,
Down the hill out onto the Lake with five feet of ice,
Our mad sleigh spinning ‘til Bucky and I fly off the bumper…
Laughing all the way.

Until the day Mom’s muscles froze stiff.
All hope gone, we opened the frosted window one night,
Let the chill air fill her gentle lungs –
Winter’s final blessing.

On another day my wife slid across a snowy bridge,
She dearly loved those frozen crystals – called them “snew” –
Another winter’s benediction.

They return to the Lake, my ladies of winter,
Catching plump snowflakes on pink tongues,
Falling down dizzily-giddily,
Making snow angels who fly up into the starry night,
Playing tag above the Lake of the Silver Sky.