TW Creatives: Poems By Shiga-Based Author James Woodham

"Emerging from sleep on the Hankyu train, platform a warm dream — suddenly to find oneself inside a poem!"

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Tokyo Weekender’s series TW Creatives feature various works by Japan-based writers, photographers, videographers, illustrators and other creatives in a bid to provide one additional platform for them to exhibit their talent. The works submitted here belong entirely to the creators — Tokyo Weekender only takes pride in being one of their most passionate supporters!

For our November entry, we present poems and photos by author James Woodham from Shiga Prefecture. 


The Wind’s Word

intricate scripture –
each leaf’s quiver the wind’s word
on a page of air

snail on his way
down the rain soaked road
easy grace of line

shadows of bamboo
score a melody of wind
on the old stone wall 

crow carries its cry
to the heights of the pine tree
then on into sky

*****************

cry of the crow pure
and meaningless as the wash
of waves on the shore

cicada insists
till its presence addresses
surfing the silence

woman in full bloom
pregnant with her future joy
swelling summer sun

sunbathing truly
is lying meditation –
breathing ocean

******************

yellow leaves tumbling
on the tail of the typhoon
mountain sighing

under the big blue
laid out in such opulence
hills’ fall brocade

out of the mountains
momentary birdcall
lost in sky

*******************

the deserted shore
heron flaps the lake’s surface
owning shadow

lake the palest blue
the sky listens to itself
spilling birdsong

crested grebe dives
the lake gathering its thoughts
yielding grebe again

the mind’s erasure –
ninja of the poem
stealing into silence


Way Back When

On my doorstep
happy as an utter fool
I gaze at Mount Hira.

Wind in the arms
of the May-leaved trees,
a chill on my skin.

I think of Cid Corman
and a friend who knows Gary Snyder
cloud on the mountain.

Wind soughing the leaves,
a drop of rain now
the voice of my daughter.

Beer bottles empty
on the doorstep,
pistachio nutshells

and Soseki’s
Kusamakura in Japanese
and English

How come
that single daffodil
trumpeting yellow?

*****************

A swallow swoops
first drop of rain on my ear
grey wind from the hills

Even this far out –
omnipresent power lines
ruining rainbows!

The lake so calm
I let the photo take me –
my mind the water


Rainy Season

Emerging from sleep
on the Hankyu train,
platform a warm dream –

suddenly
to find oneself
inside a poem!

Under grey cloud
a spirit-lifting wind –
the imminence of rain.

Drink can gleams in a hedge,
the squeal of bicycle brakes,
leaves in the wind.

Ankle bracelet on a leg –
that golden skin,
fine down of hairs.

Following the ghosts
of beautiful girls
down under Umeda.

***************

voices of birds
coming through the rain
the garden listens

*Photos by James Woodham


About the Author

Photo by Selina Woodham

James Woodham was born in a suburb of London. After graduating from Manchester University, he side-stepped a normal career to travel the world, taking any job that sounded exotic, including zoo keeper in the UK, tobacco picker in Canada and blast furnace laborer in South Australia. He finally settled down in Kyoto, then in Shiga with his family, teaching at Rakunan high school for 32 years. He has been a translator for Omotesenke for 30 years, mainly of the Grand Master’s monthly article in Domon magazine and the book, ‘Japanese Tea Culture The Omotesenke Tradition’. His poems and sketches were published in ‘Encounters with Kyoto: Writers in Kyoto Anthology 3’. Previous postings of poems and photos can also be seen at Writers In Kyoto, of which he is a member. He enjoys swimming and walking the shores of Biwako, iphone camera at the ready. 


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