Colin Will is a retired scientific librarian now writing full-time,
leading workshops and writing groups, and being website
designer and Webmaster for Poetry Scotland magazine and
the StAnza Poetry Festival.. He has had three collections
published, and many poems in magazines. He is experienced
in writing Japanese forms - haiku, tanka, haibun and renga -
but also writes in other styles. He lives in Dunbar, Scotland.
In the high thins
I take more care
but just below the leaves it's easy.
Eyes judge, arms stretch,
body swings under
and pendulums to the next branch,
head already steadying
for the next three moves.
These arm-thick boughs are best for gripping
with finger-pads adapted to adhere and release.
There are no paths here - only directions;
landmarks are memories of gaps,
fruiting seasons for each fig's bounty
and the durian's dung-and-custard stench.
Under, where babies fall,
is the slow world of walking.
Here we use our under-hands
to stand, splayed and stiff,
and stagger, legs akimbo,
to the next highway tree.
Home is always up,
where I howl my name
for the sake of my family.
Kidney donor weather
Summer shine, warm air, dry roads,
and the leathers come out.
Wintered bikes are serviced,
commuter car garaged for the weekend.
Time to zip past slow lines
of the drab, looking good,
feeling better, weightless on the crests,
forks telescoped heavy in the dips,
on the bends and bays beside Loch Lubnaig.
The line of today is endless and easy;
hands, feet, body, eyes, machine,
all one system for going forward,
for changing time into now,
mountains and water into scenery.
Twin lights are on, to be seen, to be sure,
and all other drivers are stupid, certain
to do the crazy, to miss the obvious,
to turn without signals, brake
from confusion, cross your line.
Helmet turns head into a bug's eye,
but you remember how it sounded
scraping the road, how your elbow hit,
snapping clavicle. It won't happen again,
not to you, not ever to you, not this sunny day.
From the edge of a golden cloud
light lances to the listener.
In the tree's top a sunbird
delivers his breakfast surprise.
Dust rises in a cloudy trail
behind the early water-seeker.
Veiling mist cools the colours
of opening buds on shrouded bushes.
The master's notes demand respect
in the hushed hall - he clears his throat
and is not heard. The sitar's sound
dominates, enforcing peace, devotion.
When strings slacken a drone sustains
and retuned melodies continue questing.
Each scale has sub-scales for ascent
and decline; exploration is measured.
From low tones to high pulled notes,
vibrations of tranquillity
permeate the space
between audience and player.
We become the circle of friends
beneath the bo tree, we know the thoughts
around the last supper table;
the evening before the morning after.
Ginkaku-ji garden, Kyoto
Earth mound made pillow
by green starry moss;
the maple leaves
are swept off daily,
only the latest litter layer
is seen - gold, russet, red -
an origami of autumn.
Gravely raked gravel
mimics lunate dunes, a conic section;
severe lines map the contours
of a moonlit ocean's waves
where rock continents float.
Wide and narrow, thick and thin,
immaculate grey lanes, untrodden,
overhung by an obedient pine,
trained arms stretching out needle fingers.
A trickle bounds downhill,
splashes on a stone,
bubbles a coin-bottomed pool
beside a red-bibbed shrine
where I fold my hands.
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