the setting sun makes a fireball of a low bank of clouds
saffron-tinged leaves languidly wobble to mimic the dance of flame
walking through a darkened temple, a jagged hole perfectly aligns; the kinked white-light washing inward becomes a shimmering flame, topping a stone pillar, becoming a faux candle in my shimmering mind
The spastic flame that dances fast: too weird to match to drum. The teary eye strays into trance as if deadened by rum. Where will the flame transport us now that smoke has made us cry? Where will the cracking sounds take us as we turn to the sky? The moon is out and casts a glow, a glow of milky white. And each dim point of starlight burns trillions of times as bright as that feeble, little campfire that rules what I now feel: the heat, the smoke, the popping sounds that now make my head reel.
a cottage burns; its owner watches ash swirl in the air
Note: Influenced by an exchange between Bashō and his student Hokushi, the latter’s cabin burning down being the topic of discussion. As told in Yoné Noguchi’s The Spirit of Japanese Poetry.
the fire climbs,
changes shape, and fades
until black remains
flames dance under dark skies; spellbound, i watch