Window to the Sky

(Shikata Ga Nai)

1.) Scattered snowflakes drift through the caved-in roof.

He sits still and aloof.

He has nowhere to be.

In his dust-covered armchair he folds his hands,

thinking of absent friends.

They had lived by the sea.

Then he thinks of the water that gently rippled ‘round his feet,

this far inland he’d faintly wondered why,

and just like the wave he lets his mem’ries surge and retreat

into his old, beloved land of earth and sky.

Crude curtains conceal the strange, uncharted coastward view.

He’s alive, but deems himself a guest.

He is drowning in silence and time, too old to start anew.

So he waits by his window - his window to the west.

Shikata Ga Nai

Shikata Ga Nai

2.) Some cousin has taken him into her care.

She said he’d be safer there.

He didn’t dissent.

Just over the mountains - an alien land,

the townlet is neat and bland

like her sweetish, stale scent.

Still he tries to be grateful, but misses the smells and sounds he knew,

his small garden at dusk, the rain on the streets,

and somewhere inside the news he hears is never true,

he smiles politely and quietly retreats,

always fondling his riches – a ring, three postcards and a comb,

it’s all the ruins have released,

he is ebbing away, a distant bell, a bleached out poem,

while he looks out his window – his window to the east.

But soon he’ll go home,

he’s going home. . .

3.) Pale sunrays steal through the tiles and beams.

Shards of years and dreams

glitter under his feet.

Some speak of a sickness the water brings.

Well, he doesn’t know these things,

and the water tastes sweet.

Though the silence still lingers, there’s a richness to the air,

chrysanthemums blaze in the evening light,

and if it’s a reverie, he doesn’t really care,

the past is hazy, but his heart is all too tight,

for he knows it’s a welcome, though it feels a bit like good-bye,

and he finally finds the strength to cry.

He lies on the floorboards, watching cranes and clouds pass by

over his window – his window to the sky.

Shikata Ga Nai

Shikata Ga Nai

Shikata Ga Nai

Shikata Ga Nai

(April 15th, 2011- for the survivors in Tohoku, Honshu, Japan)

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