On Reflection


The Screech Owl

screetch_owl The Screech Owl

My eyes awoke to a screech owl’s cry
or was it to my late cups of wine?
So I joined her from the porch outside
as a falling star scratched our dark black sky.


Screaming for Change

hawk_circlingScreaming for Change

I watched a hawk circle the chicken pen
as the fiery combed cock watched without alarm.
The hens huddled under a bush
and my talon-naive dog barked reflexively.

The sun was setting
as everyone’s dreams and fears faded
into a routine
screaming for change.


Our Rooster’s Wattle

roosterOur Rooster’s Wattle

We bring our rooster in
on cold winter nights,
after watching his proud red wattle
burn and shrivel from frostbite.

When I carry him back outside
to his women in waiting
this otherwise boisterous bird
rests in my arms without complaining.

Though now his dapper is a bit bland
he still struts with a glorious stand
among his gals in the morning sun
calling them for food and a little fun.

Today’s inspiring poem:Yeah-Yeah the Big Bang by Maria Barnas
Some Roster Info: Smithsonian article

I never knew that Shakespeare’s “The Witches’ Spell” was the source of such witchy expressions. Listen to this reading by Tom O-Bedlam posted on 3 Quarks Daily.

In the comments, a reader says, “LIKE! Except the part about the blasphemer Jew. Thanks.”

To which (pun!) I replied:

Blaspheming Jews should we protect?
Yet Turk and Tart quickly forget?
Does strangled child not from you get,
Equal weight of moral debt?

And only humans should deserve not
to end up in the boiling pot?
What of snake, newt, frog and dog?
Of adder, lizard, owlet and hog?

Tis amazing how reading/hearing poetry turns one’s mind poetic, eh?  Even if only badly poetic!  :-)

Mad am I?

Mad am I?
I was merely living my life
waiting for spring.

The “poem” above is a quote from Tsugumo Hanshiro at the end of Miike’s film “Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai” (a remake of Kobayashi’s 1962 film). Writers of movies, novels and short stories write lines that even self-proclaimed poets could consider a poem in their own right.  And this quote was amazing — coming at the end of the film, it captured more than you can imagine.


Colors_angle_curveFinding an image from the film that captured my deep impressions was impossible — but I have included this one to give you and idea.

This was a very melancholic film and affected me for hours. Suicide, in Japan, is a very different concept from what I grew up with in the West. When I first went to Japan I remember being appalled by the idea of ‘noble suicide’. Several years later, fluent both in both the language and culture, while watching a classic film on Kami-Kaze pilots, I had a tear in my eye. My Japanese friend noticed and said to me, “You have been here too long.”

Whether with words, drawings or films, capturing a feeling is difficult but a joy to attempt. The picture to the right is a blend of two belated attempts to capture my feelings for my last poem, “Chuckling at Curves“.  The top version is hand-drawn, the bottom version was done with computer graphics.

Much like trying to capture my feelings about the samurai film, neither drawing here satisfactorily captures my feelings on curves and straight lines.  We can only try!

Chuckling at Angles

Colors_angle_curveChuckling at Angles

A river, soft and sinuous,
chuckles at my sharp-cornered desk.

The window watches waving fields
spread pollen on hard-lined concrete.

And bird songs roll over round trees
shadowing our hard-angled house.

– by Sabio Lantz,
April 2013

Process:  Over the last weeks I have been possessed by the contrast of my angular world and the curved world of nature.  This is an attempt to paint my possession using a Korean poetic form called “Sijo” which Samuel, at d’Verse Poets has challenged us to write.

I am not yet clear on exactly what qualifies a Sijo, but the constraints I have tried to follow are:

  1. 3 sentences: each which may be broken into two lines.
  2. Each line is divide rather naturally into 3-5 syllable patterns.
  3. “What counts is the musical quality”: I worked at that.
  4. The theme is philosophic and expressive.


  •  The day I wrote this poem, I jotted down some amateur sketches to try and capture some of my feelings.  The above one is by hand, the lower one by computer.  It took me a while to finish them, but here they are, a few days late.  The poem capture my feelings far better, but even the poem is inadequate.
  • For more on Sijo, see here, wiki, sejong society .

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 58 other followers