Prayer Hands

Through bright maple cliffs
we hear the white water rush;
Mist hides those dark falls.

Kegon Falls Mountainside

I decided this month that attempting the NaNoWriMo while working a full day and a full week would be a little bit too hard for me, not to mention cutting into valuable recuperation / exploration time. Instead, I’ve set a more reasonable goal – 4 posts minimum in this fine month of November. And each post must have at least one haiku as well as its other content. Hence the above haiku, constructed (I believe that’s the correct verb) while visiting Nikko last weekend. I did eventually see the waterfalls (one of Japan’s Top Three, like almost everything in Japan) when the clouds parted, but while that’s poetic, it wouldn’t fit into 3 lines.

Of course, now that I’ve decided not to do NaNoWriMo, I’ve actually had a great story idea, so I’m going to try and plod along with it (currently in deep research and plot phase) without checking the word count at any point.

I’ve got some flash fiction coming up in a week or two, but first here’s a semi-religious poem. Now, don’t groan and stop reading, you atheists. I’m not about to get preachy. In fact, this poem was designed to try and speak to people who had religious upbringings like my own but are now either struggling with religion or who have given up on it. These people can’t deny their memories, and really it’s a poem about memories. If you grew up in an atheist environment, well, I’m sorry, but I can’t speak to everyone with every poem.

Prayer Hands

a

I let my hands sink into prayer
each interlocking finger clasps

a memory of chapelled youth.
Hands close into a slow embrace;

palms form a comforting cocoon,
fingers stretch to console the back.

Worn and scarred, pocked and ridged; callous
they still recall a young, soft time –

then, by some chemical response
an inner hardness softens too

the old doors open, to go out
or welcome a guest.
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAnd I wait…


I realised after finishing this that visually it would have been PERFECT if it had been 5 stanzas of two, then the poem itself would be two linking hands in 5 couplets. However, I’ve yet to find 2 lines to cut from this poem. Guess this is just another case of ‘nearly there’.

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