My 3rd (and Final) Poem in the Silver Birch Press Self-Portrait Series

file0001818876295(1)

Ah, simplicity! When I was a child my mother would occasionally serve rice balls in which a single tart umeboshi rested at the center. These have long been a favorite, but I admit that umeboshi might be an acquired taste. Commonly called “pickled plums,” ume aren’t really plums but are more closely related to apricots. Whatever they are, I cherish them.

http://silverbirchpress.wordpress.com/2014/08/31/self-portrait-with-umeboshi-poem-by-robert-okaji-self-portrait-poetry-series/

file0001977442406

Another Poem in the Silver Birch Press Self-Portrait Series

IMG_3332

I am thrilled that Silver Birch Press is featuring another of my poems in their Self-Portrait Series:

http://silverbirchpress.wordpress.com/2014/08/28/self-portrait-with-blue-poem-by-robert-okaji-self-portrait-poetry-series/

I think this calls for a small snack…

Blue Plate

Shutters X

file0001370874362

The tenth of a series of twelve written at a shuttered window, and originally published in the anthology Terra Firma.

Shutters X

Withering inside, it remains fixed
and free of device, the shadow’s carapace
dwindling with each

impulse. One word, one tremor,
and the regressions begin,
broaching the lamp in refusal of that

issuance to the end,
a victim of eloquence,
the precursor of the seed.

Returned to darkness, it waits in silent apogee.

file0001999532900

Poem in Extract(s)

file00034498180

“Ashes” appeared in Extract(s) in March of 2013, months before I ever considered blogging. It marked my return to publication, after a decade’s absence:

http://dailydoseoflit.com/2013/03/12/poem-robert-okaji-2/

The poem is also available in the print anthology, Extract(s) Volume 2:

http://www.easternpointlithouse.com/#!extracts-daily-dose-of-lit/c19nk

TusconAZ-RainOnTheDoor(1)

Traveling (after Tu Fu)

file0001979946807

Yet another adaptation.

Traveling (after Tu Fu)

I remember this temple,
this bridge, as I cross again

the patient river and mountain
selfless flowers and willows

brilliant even in the light mist
the late sun drifting in the sand

where every traveler’s sorrow fades
I’ll stay here again

The transliteration on Chinese-poems.com reads:

Traveling Again – Tu Fu

Temple remember once travel place
Bridge remember again cross time
River mountain like waiting
Flower willow become selfless
Country vivid mist shine thin
Sand soft sun colour late
Traveller sorrow all become decrease
Stay here again what this

file3021341154406

Poem in the Silver Birch Press Self-Portrait Poetry Series

file7131243281016

My poem “Self-Portrait with W” is featured today in the Silver Birch Press Self-Poetry Series:

http://silverbirchpress.wordpress.com/2014/08/10/self-portrait-with-w-poem-by-robert-okaji-self-portrait-poetry-series/

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Jingting Shan Hill (after Li Po)

file9251265082101(1)

Jingting Shan Hill (after Li Po)

Distant birds flying high
the lonely cloud and I drift
watching each other without end
until only the hill remains.

As always, I question my choices. Chinese-Poems.com offered this transliteration of Li Po’s timeless poem:

Crowd birds high fly utmost
Lonely cloud alone go idle
Mutual watch both not tire
Only be Jingting Shan

How to capture the concept of idleness and the meditative quality of the last line (not to mention the piece as a whole)? Ah, decisions, decisions…

Confession: The last line confounded me, so I set the poem aside for a couple of months. Just yesterday I pulled it out and immediately knew what to do. The power of patience…

file000897111473