From the Lost Leaves of Shiso

Today the Poetry Society of Virginia again meets, ably guided by Dr. Joanna Lee, who has kept River City Poets going during the pandemic. It makes me think of another gathering of poets.

Inner Circle

Whether the following poems concerned an “Invitation Declined During Pandemic,” as commonly rendered, or related to self-internment during the contentious Sengoko period, is difficult to ascertain—as are most details about this obscure poet.

A Gathering

Streaming stripes, a street

Of new resin from the lips

Of sweet pines: ant lines.

Poets also meet

Like ants, tapping the soft sap:

Sweetness soon hardens.


A message comes.

Roots shimmer.

Gnawing goes on.

Six Seasons

Spring air quivering

Between names and steady facts:

Breathless. Shivering.

General Hu Gnu,

Bovine and semidivine:

“From mud, Abstraction!”

Assumptions daily,

Smoke-rings rise out to propose

Lassoing halos.

Spines of money-tree;

Downed-dead thicket underfoot:

Stanch the runny cut!

Snow-crust underfoot;

Last rose; columnar leaf-cells;

Earth’s Breath; Solemn Dust.

Set to ring at spring,

The heavenly clock is posed;

The pursed word-doors closed.