The poems of Mark Richardson have featured on this website before (here, or here for instance).  This time Mark has agreed to allow us to publish two of his poems from the first WiK Anthology, Echoes.
As well as writing poetry, Mark is also a scholar specialising in Robert Frost. He has written a book about the poet called The Ordeal of Robert Frost (Illinois, 1997), worked on different editions of his writings, and edited ongoing volumes of The Letters of Robert Frost (pub. by Harvard).  Here then, for your delectation, are two Kyoto poems with a distinctly contemporary feel.


Kyoto is an Italian cafe in a Burberry coat.

Kyoto’s a city that beeps, an Egyptian-cotton

T-shirt. It’s a warren of rabbits pounding rice

on the moon, gazing up at itself each autumn.

Kyoto’s an obsessive-compulsive disorder

with a smartphone. Ten thousand children sit

on its station floors. Kyoto’s a safety mechanism,

a forty-dollar melon, a better place to get divorced in

than Tampa Bay. Kyoto’s a pub on a planet,

a light-up, a turn-down. Kyoto’s a salad bowl

fashioned in 794, dressed in vinegar and silk.

It’s a gold medal sleeper, a white-gloved circuit rider––

and an upholstered cop with his hanko sine qua non.


The Day The World Became Explicable

Well, on my first day at the shrine, of course.

Such a shame. Even the curtains loitered with intent.

There are ten thousand ways to endure the world.

I developed legs and walked out to the cape;

the sea was a pea-green, “unrhymed sonnet”––

which made about as much sense to me

as road rage. The trains depart at daybreak.

No one asks what the destination is.

We had it all––music, funny cuisine, hats,

boys and girls studying philology at night school,

and an enclave of Spanish cats in Palmyra.

After so long, so long traveling alone together

on God’s green earth, only Satan has his champion.

Anyhow, it’s a good day for laundry in Kyoto.