Bamboo Blade



In sweat-summer heat
first the thunder, then lightning
this backward storm strike –

Sharp the rise and fall
this faceless pain inflicted
leaves an evening burn.


It’s some haikus, my old friends. I went to my first and certainly not my last evening of Kendo Club today. Had I known such a thing existed on my campus, I would have gone sooner. I even quizzed half my students about it, but I was clearly asking the wrong questions, the wrong students, or questions too difficult for their level. Two thirds didn’t know – one third said they did kendo at high school, but now don’t. Kendo is Japanese fencing, to sum it up briefly, and I was unprepared for the unrestrained aggression and violence, the pounding of the floor, the echoing bone-like thwack of the sticks – respectively the “thunder” and the “lightning” in the first verse. And it is definitely thunderstorm season here – there’s one every third day, pretty much.

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