Sunday, February 04, 2007

286. Inaka*

Knee-deep in water
among the mountains
bend and rise
planting the rice seedlings
bend and rise
just like 500 years ago
under the same mountains
living in the same village
bend and rise.
My husband, she says,
doesn't write so well
but he is honest and strong
and our second son
surprised us all.
With a show of metal teeth,
the proud mother,
sun-darkened, shaded
under a conical coolie hat,
smiles like a young girl.
Her second son, she tells me,
goes to college in Tokyo.

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*Inaka (田舎) - out in the country, anathema to most urban cool young Japanese because that is exactly where their families came from ...

285. Bog Irish

The uncovered passage
under this tufty uneven pasture
became a stone-lined tunnel
discovered, not by scholars,
but by the local IRA
intent on hiding weapons.

Traps for indigent robbers
had been worn away by decay
and in the large inner sanctum
lay three open graves,
carefully, reverently surrounded
by treasure and homely objects.

Combs and knives
little personal tools:
even kings need things
in the Other World.


Golden torcs, jewellery, six swords,
and seven golden drinking cups
of exquisite execution,
buried for more than a thousand years
under a rain drenched field
under placid munching cows.