A Kyoto Spring

a yurei


The night grows too quiet, dark.

My loom shudders

at the loss of stars and you. .

             An unfinished poem by Lady Shigama,

who died suddenly, May, 871 A.D.


The walls are papered with sea grass

and sliding screens lend privacy

to each room.


Open then shut, open then shut, each shift

feels like someone’s breath

is being forced out of me.


A fear or sigh

from another time. A House

under this house. Centuries old.


I stand on the balcony

overlooking a wet park

where cherry blossoms splatter

the wide sash of dusk.


A wren sings in the branches

then a woman cries . I utter a poem

I’ve never read or spoken before —


a body of words

begging to end, to cast her long

shadow of goodbye.




  1. Wendy,

    I was so caught up in the physical scene, the ending really
    knocked my socks off. How skillfully you led up to that final
    moment and how gently. So Eastern in its atmosphere. You
    aced it again!



  2. Hi Sarah

    New places built on old grounds, whether tribal or royal palaces/courtyards fascinate me! I believe a place has a spirit from another time and world that in certain circumstances lives on. And we as part of the living when me move in are sometimes haunted by that person, dream, or experience that came centuries or years before. Such as in this scene where the modern woman is haunted by the ghost of a royal lady of the court, a poet who passed before she could finish her lament, and that was a need that still needed to be fulfilled. The speaker becomes absorbed by this past woman’s need, loneliness and desire to finish the unfinished. Sometimes emotions and unfilled dreams transcend time. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and as always, I so deeply appreciate them!!

    Take care


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