My Lost Sheep ~ A Poet’s Parable

Little red notebook

Little red notebook (Photo credit: Halans)

 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’~ Luke 15:6

Through shelves and drawers,
under the bed and, with cheeks crimson,
to the Lost and Found,
I searched. You could say
it was just a red-coated gathering of paper,
a gift from my daughter of
a handful of such notebooks.
It wandered from my pocket one day
to the unknown I wished to make known
upon its pages.
Akin to the Shepherd leaving the ninety-nine
to search the wilderness for
that one lost piece of mutton on the hoof,
I disregarded all the others.

Like lambs that must be protected,
a notebook is a newborn thing until
you fill it with your heartbeat,
share secrets, truths, lies, and
draw a map through the darkness,
the journal of your journey,
that voyage of discovery and rediscovery.
The other day, while rummaging
through the dark rough country
at the back of my closet,
I found my literary sheep gone astray.
I carried it back to my desk,
where the remaining flock lie in the lea
and opened to where my journey had left off.

It read:
No sleep again—Each night I press
my eyes closed and all that comes
are tears.

I pulled out my pencil and we stepped
into the darkness again.

Arigato Gozaimashita

Picture from a serie of the 36 immortal poets

Picture from a serie of the 36 immortal poets (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The tired old warrior sits alone
and breathes in shallow sips
as his time grows short.
He has tried his usual wrenching
of tears, spit and sweat to no avail.
Leeches and lancets provided
no relief from his symptomatic shame.
Black-ink tanto in hand,
he opens his blue-lined kimono
before the ones he cannot see,
but feels the presence of that cold
spectatating editor and
judge of his skills with cutting edge
and sometimes cutting word.
Comes seppuku. Again.

From left to right
he guides his blade, exposing
that which should remain within,
never revealed before death.
It is a messy business, this,
and usually a poem is written
before the act.
But today this poet renders
the evisceration and composition
in the same desperate rite.
He bows his head over the keyboard,
awaiting his kaishakunin’s
finish to it all.
Oh, exquisite creative pain,
arigato gozaimashita.