From a Distant Shore

by Wendy Howe

      (The Prophecy)
White snow, Shinto bells
prompt a chill to fall
as they warn and weep.
Stones will shift
and waters will heap
waves of salt, wide sorrow
while strangers mourn, miles off
safe in their hills, tonight
tomorrow and beyond tomorrow.
    (Coming of The Yürei)
your coastal gardens
own rock and cypress
but spare acreage
for the green bamboo.
Sprays of sunlight
diverge through the trees
while close behind,
a woman glides
concealing her form
in a long shroud of hair.
Not mortal
but mere shadow
she has been cast
by The Archipelago
Mother who once
chose to corset her soul
in stone and timber
rather than bone
and sinew
as she fell from the sky
into small islands,
the wind at hand
to give her breath
and weave fate
on a loom of climatic strings.
Hot, cold, dry, wet
wings, seed and scent
have all caused
 diverse blends, decades
never the same. And now
your coastal gardens house
a dire figment of these —
she is prayer
she is need
she is grief
as you watch
with an eardrum catching
the rush of a morning sea.

"Yürei" is the Japanese concept of a ghost. The female apparition usually appears wearing a white kimono with her black hair loose and wind-swept. Most often, she has died in a sudden or violent manner without proper burial rites; or she is still (after death) influenced by powerful emotions that keep her earthbound until the conflict is resolved.

Wendy Howe is a free lance writer who lives with her partner in the high desert of Southern California. She has traveled the hills, canyons and coastline of the Pacific including the islands of Oahu and Maui. She also travels through time, myth and history as a mental shape-shifter, a poet. Her works have been published in diverse literary journals and two recent anthologies exploring myth and women's issues which include Lilith and Postcards From Eve. A lover of fresh picked fruit, she adores raspberries, ripe and plucked from their garden stalk, but when hearing the word "Cherry," she immediately thinks of the poem, Goblin Market, by Christina Rosetti, and those luscious lines that give a litany of fruited splendor.

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