This years WiK Competition closes in just over a week on March 1, and with time running out for entries we look back on some of the best runners-up from our previous competition in 2016. Our thanks to all those who submitted, and we hope that their ideas will stimulate new submissions in these closing days for the 2017 Competition. (For details please see the top righthand column under News.)
Maps of Kyoto’s Water:
by Kate Garnett
Eastward, rivers inked
with sakura flow throughout
time. For centuries
they move through ancient
city streets, cleaning deep wounds
of war, dousing shrines
that are asunder,
while tea water, equally
as vital, is poured
This simple act will never
change. Whether whisked by
hands or encapsulated
in vending machines,
even one hurrying
out will always stop to drink—
just as one is stopped
by autumn’s first snow
as it laces the ponds where
koi fish liquesce, just
as spring’s warm rainfall
dissolves into garden lakes
castles where even
ancient samurai take brief
reprieve to quench throats—
because that same vein
of water, reflecting glass-
faced towers, scarlet
tori, and sky , are
both the surface and the rain
that inspires it.
STORY SUBMISSION by Mark Schumacher
A sudden downpour stops soon after starting. The water-laden trees shimmer in the radiance of the resurrected sun. The wind caresses the trees, shedding them of their tears. The camellia flower cries in joy, dropping its red petals to adorn the lonely stone path. I descend, not knowing if I remember or forget. Kyoto is such a place. Every stone, every tree, every inch of soil has a story.
Snow in Kyoto 2015 by Kiyoko Ogawa
this snowless town turning
into a silver world overnight
the yurikamomes are departed
the old river, run slowly, till we end our time
a dingy tiny snowman
standing in the narrow alley
no children in sight fighting snowball
but the ojizo-san is surely watching them
bamboos and aoki trees bent by the snow
sasanquas silent in the garden of a deserted house
afternoon brings the bright sun
melting everything at ultra-high speed
from snow dream
to our Kyoto routine
with splash & bang
TWO POEMS by Travis Roy Venters jr
First poem: Ikkyu Under Shijo Bashi
Every waking, moving moment
His shadow cries. Death. Death is near.
Ikkyu fills anther cup and laughs.
Too bad shadow; I can’t take you with me.
Second poem: Kyoto 2015 AD
Getting into temples costs more
But incense burning is the same.
At Koryuji temple gardeners tel you
The temple moss is also sacred
But there is no clear evidence why.
Tourists from around the world,
Realize all the Buddhas thought
The world of illusion and all that
Unrolled flat like a scroll with the
Center the center of a square.
California was not even a remote
Possibility. Every photo you take of
Kiyomizu-Dera or the tigers in Nanzen-jiI
Is imbued with many, many false memories.
You want Eastern Wisdom to show
The folks back home? Photograph
The ribbons of silk dye rushing by
In the river under Sanjo Bashi.
Kyoto Botanical Gardens in Late October
by Branko Manojlovic
It is the season of high camp:
a monster triptych, anchored
in the lotus pond. A plastic
sylph both smiling and sad,
both looking and staring
at Mount Hiei. To her right
a fifty-foot globe: spike-
To the left, a grossness
with electric ruby eyes
vomiting gallons of pond
water back into the pond.
Nearby woods, cameras
with preposterous lenses
waiting in ambush for
an elusive songbird.
They miss a pastiche of ghost
-white: a wedding dress gliding
past nude cherry trees,
the groom ten yards behind.
And by the crocus path
a slender bronze reclining,
worthy of Rodin (no more
than yet another oddity),
four bite-sized dogs scamper
around obā-chan’s legs.
Even the water mill spins
faster than it ought to.