Un-Remembering Banished


I know the angle of the roof
though it’s hidden by the blossoms.
I know the feel of the blossoms
though none have fallen on my sleeve yet.
I know the way the wood will creek under my feet
though I haven’t stepped inside yet.

It is curious
how  I’ve forgotten less than I thought,
even after trying to stop thinking
of a place that was no longer mine
to call home.

In some ways it hurts more
to see what isn’t mine to claim,
ready to welcome others who stop
to seek sanctuary under these trees
that are every inch as much as an expatriate as I am.

Is there space
under the weeping cherry blossom tree
where I can close my eyes
and find out if it smells like home too?


View of Shofuso by Matthew Meyer from his Views of Philadelphia Series
Matthew also runs Yokai.com, one of the best resources of Japanese mythological critter lore that exists out there.

Song Choice: Once Upon a December from Anastasia

This poem was created for Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads' prompt, Kerry Says ~ Human-Landscape Interactions. It is also linked to Poets United's Poetry Pantry 484.

Liner Notes for this Groove: I hope Kerry will be kind enough to forgive me, but I bent the rules a tiny bit. The voice in this poem does not belong to a human, it belongs to a yokai (a blanket term for mythological Japanese creatures that have a lot in common with the tricksie ways of old school Western faerie creatures). The yokai in question is Yuuki, a kitsune (Japanese fox spirit) who has several short stories starring him on this blog, and one in my collection, The Trouble with Wanting and Other Not-Quite Faerie Tales.

I've long been enchanted by Matthew Meyer's Ukiyo-e style Views of Philadelphia, and thought of them immediately when I read Kerry's challenge. Of course, the one of my beloved Shofuso (this is where I take most of my tea lessons) grabbed my eye. I know what I think of Shofuso, but I wanted to explore it from Yuuki's view in poetic form. I suspect I'll be tackling it in prose form too, and he will exchange words with a certain faerie who has been the guardian of this area since her cousin, the Faerie Queen of Philadelphia, granted it to her not too long after the American Revolution. But that summer solstice meeting will have to wait for another time.

38 comments:

  1. Lovely poetry and I fell head over heels in love with your song choice ...

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  2. This is beautiful. I too love your song choice. It's perfectly mystical.

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    1. Isn't it gorgeous? It's one of my favorite songs from an animated movie.

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  3. Loving your poem. Most of the time I was bringing each line to my childhood home. I was born there, my parents were the first to live in it after it was moved on to the farm. They left it empty on their property so animals took over, like your poem said. Raccoons were the most aggressive but others too. Finally in about 2011 my sister and I sold it. The new owner did not wish to live there and bulldozed it down.
    I liked your song too, my dad rode his horse 14 miles in a blizzard to town for my mom some medicine. Rode back too. All the time we were nice and warm by the wood burning stove.
    ..

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    1. I'm so glad it brought back some nice memories of your old home.

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  4. Utterly beautiful. Your words spoke to me of all the places I have called home over the years...always laying under a tree, eyes closed , smelling the sun XXX

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    1. I'm glad my words moved you that way. :)

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  5. A lovely and evocative poem! And I'm definitely going to check out Matthew Meyers' two websites -- thanks for the reference!

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    1. He has some really lovely artwork on there. And some of the yokai art is wildly hysterical too!

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  6. I wanted to reach into the words and hug Yuuki. His longing and love are so real, so relatable. I found myself sighing a lot while reading this one (and remembering my mango tree and my Dominican woods).

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    1. Thanks Magaly! I'll bet your mango tree misses the girl who climbed its branches so many years ago too.

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  7. I can hear the longing of a creature who wants somewhere that feels like home...I lived that state for too many years of my life.

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    1. I remember you writing about it. I'm glad that you did find a place your heart could be content.

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  8. Oh this is incredibly poignant, Rommy!!❤️ I loved the song you chose to accompany the poem too. It's my favorite!!❤️

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    1. I love it too. LOL, I remember when my kids were both really into that movie and it was on heavy rotation here. I never got sick of hearing it.

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  9. Ah yes, this is really poignant. I like the way you have given voice to the yokai! (I learned a new word. Smiles.)

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  10. Such an intimate and beautiful poem

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  11. So nice to hear from Yuuki again! And, the tease for a long awaited story! Wicked Temptress! I so understand the longing in this piece. I have moved so many times in my life, sometimes it is hard to see where home is. But, there always seems to be something inside me that keeps searching.

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    1. There are hints of how a larger Yuuki story will unfold in the short story collection. :) But yes, I'm terrible. :D

      I imagine moving a lot can be very unsettling.

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  12. A beautiful fairy tailish poem. Luv the story, the mystery and the accompaning song choice
    Thanks for dropping by my sumie Sunday today

    Much❤🕊❤love

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  13. Very moving! Before I saw your notes, I read it as being in a human voice and it works perfectly that way too.

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  14. To be a stranger and never welcome in a place you know the best is such a burden to bear... poor Yuuki

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    1. As a reader, I am sad for him. As the author of his stories - well, yeah, you've got to torture your darlings.

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  15. Magical and sad--reading it after reading the notes added a poignancy.

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  16. This is beautiful. My son and I are going to be moving to an old building which has a lot of memories. I think it's a sad thing that the world is forgetting the mystical and coming to believe only in that which is tangible.

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    1. I hope you guys have a wonderful time settling into your new home. It's always good to know some of us still see a little magic curled up here and there. :)

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  17. Rommy, reading this poem, my mind drifted to the prose of Charles de Lint, a Canadian novelist, whose many of his stories are set in the fictional town, Newford (read Ottawa, Ontario: the nation's capital). As his urban myth novels mixed the mythology of various cultures (Indigenous, Celtic, to name a few).

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    1. That's a HUGE compliment. I've read and enjoyed de Lint's work! LOL...yeah Founder's Park (in the Yuuki story that appears in my short story collection) might have a fair bit in common with a small town in Bucks County Pennsylvania. And that tree mentioned in that story might remind Bucks Co natives of the Pooh Tree in Peace Valley Park. :)

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  18. A beautiful evocation of 'home' with a wonderfully rendered tree imaged metaphor throughout. I sense there are 'roots' hidden in there. Just lovely.

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