TOPTW COMMUNITYTW Creatives: One Villanelle, Six Limericks by Preston Keido Houser

TW Creatives: One Villanelle, Six Limericks by Preston Keido Houser

"When is a cloud not a cloud?"

By Weekender Editor

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 latest entry, we present one villanelle and six limericks of Kyoto-based author Preston Keido Houser.  


Villanelle

Thus undoing the damage that doing has done
Zhuangzi and Laozi never cease to astound
And trigger the recovery of none from the one

Impossible to stop a chain of causality once begun
Original sources of good and evil remain unfound
Thus undoing the damage that doing has done

No exemption from agonies which afflict everyone
The march from merry-go-round to burial mound
And trigger the recovery of none from the one

Noxious notoriety for deeds dispatched in rage or fun
Forgoing fatuous fame to plainness honor’s bound
Thus undoing the damage that doing has done

Miming the motionless movement of monk and nun
Resisting tyrannies that force covenant underground
And trigger the recovery of none from the one

While here disregard petty wagers lost and won
Shun what goes around and comes around
Thus undoing the damage that doing has done
And trigger the recovery of none from the one


Limericks

There once was a monk from Tingaling
Whose dream was complete awakening.
He knew not what to do
To make it come true
Since nothing is better than anything.

There once was a monk from Nanking
Who was convinced he amounted to nothing.
This nihilistic law
Was hell till he saw
Himself in the midst of everything.

There once was a monk from Irvine
Whose life was light to the blind.
Like a snake in a river
Or a fish in the ether
A saint leaves no high sign behind.

There once was a monk from Stroud
Who questioned a priest who was proud.
“To confirm my bliss,
Can you answer me this:
When is a cloud not a cloud?”

There once was a monk from Dover
Who travelled the wide world over.
The middle of nowhere
Is the best somewhere
Which is why he’s a stopover rover.

There once was a monk from Mt. Byrd
Whose reason rendered sermons absurd.
“I find it profound
That a word is a sound,
But why is a sound not a word?”


About the Author

Preston Keido Houser is a writer based in Kyoto and is author of five books of poetry: Twenty Villanelles, Headlines: Twenty Four Villanelles, Skylines: Twenty Seven Villanelles, Ridgelines: Twenty Seven Villanelles and Tidelines: Twenty Five Villanelles. A collection of verse, 100 Mad Monk Limericks, forthcoming in 2021.

Preston came to Kyoto in 1981 to pursue his interests in Zen Buddhism and traditional Japanese music, specifically the zen repertoire for the shakuhachi bamboo flute as played by the komuso monks of the the Fuke-shu sect. He earned his shihan, master’s license, took the name Keido, and performs frequently in Japan and America. In addition to Asian studies, Preston holds a Ph.D. in English Literature (Shakespeare Studies) from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). Preston is a member of Writers in Kyoto, a Kyoto-based community for English-language writers. He also recently started a weekly podcast, “Lines from Kyoto,” where he plans to read one villanelle a week for the year 2021.

Find books by Preston Keido Houser here.


 

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