Unkai: Sea of Fog

this morning, unkai – the sea of fog –
unrolls train valley
Oe-san and browning peaks around
all swim in mist
slow down feather grey
engine sighing smoke kisses mist

sun weaves thin air
banners between lowering waves of cloud

it begins
above
train
arrival
chimes
one note
falling
far
from clear
song one
silver note in muffling
platform mutters
belonging only
that note to an older song

weavers
under cover of unkai
make another world
time alongside one
misstep one edgewise
glance

it begins
one note escaping
up a banner shaft of light
to strike the round
masked gong of sun
rebounding sounding

another world
the breath
inside this sea
unkai

Oe-cho, Japan, Autumn 94

Here’s another piece from Fifth World Drum, revised 10 years later. Spring or Autumn, morning mist in mountains conjures the sacred hour. Image from pixabay.com is Fuji-san, not Oe-san, but I’ll hunt up an old photo somewhere.   Meanwhile, here’s the original version of Unkai – the Sea of Fog. 

this morning, unkai – the sea of fog –
unrolled. submerging me train and all
and valley and
browning peaks around Mount Oe
all swimming in sudden mist
slow down feather grey
engine sighing. smoke kiss mist

then sun made banners out of thin air
waved them between lowering waves of cloud

i thought i heard a song begin
above the train arrival chimes
one note falling
far from clear
song one silver note
in muffling platform mutters
belonging only that note to an older song

weavers under cover of unkai
make another world
time alongside one misstep one edgewise glance

one note escaping
slid up a banner shaft of light
struck the masked round gong of sun
rebounding sounded

thought i heard

another world singing
the breath inside this sea
unkai

Oe-cho, Japan, Autumn 94

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