Grasshopper by Kono Bairei

While the Cold Winter Waits

September 26, 2016


While the cold winter waits

Far off

In the high arc

Of calendar days

I can hear her whisper 



As the leaves start gilding their edges

And the birds change their tune

To quiet softness


Rare droplets

Of autumn rain

Come after summer

As if to close the last act

Of berries and fig

Let's have one more ovation

Before the apples and persimmons

Take the stage

And the squash yield orange flesh

Beneath their hardened skin

Before we begin to dig for roots and bulbs


The Indian corn has come already

And the brown stalks wait too

Too dry to soak up any of this rain


The frogs and cicadas

Have grown silent

And the wind speaks up

To take their place


Just weeks ago moving like cells through a great body

Sit in silent meditation on the fountain's moss

Contemplating the softer light

From a hidden sun


And seeds

Seeds are everywhere

Falling on the sidewalks and the dirt

Scattered without thought

First by dried up fists of flowers

And then

By all the things that eat

Then let them go


But still

Some brave flowers hold on

The pomegranate airs its fleshy blooms

Beneath each crimson carapace

As if summer will never end

And all the herbs in my garden

Send out stems

Grasping for the last of the lingering bees

To have one more meal

Before turning in for the long night


The grasshopper

Who only lives a few months

Prepares to die

Without even knowing

Such concepts as seasons exist

Having lived its entire life

In the warmest days


And he offers us his lesson


What do you not know

That you do not know?

What senses lie dormant

Just beneath the surface

Of your experience

Beyond the limits

Of your life?

And most of all

Can you enjoy the coming dark

On my behalf?