I receive an unexpected package in the mail today from my oldest sister. The mail here is on island time, like everything else, and besides, I don’t go check it very often. My birthday is weeks past. That’s odd I think, turning the package over, tearing into the puffy manila envelope. I wonder what she’s sending me? I think of some old family letters, stuff my cousin gave her. Then I reach inside and find a card made from plain brown paper stock with a rough red heart on it. A Valentine I say, Aha. On the card are these words:
The book is Wladen by Haiku, written by Ian Marshall. It’s a most extraordinary book. On the inside flap of the front jacket are these words:
“Although Thoreau would never have encountered the Japanese haiku tradition, the way in which the most important ideas in Walden find expression in haiku-like language suggests that Thoreau at Walden Pond and the haiku master Basho at his “old pond” might have drunk at the same well.”
I smile knowing
Echoes sounding time
As I take my afternoon walk along the old Danish plantation road that hugs the shore of Leinster Bay, I think about gifts. I think about siblings. The word precious comes to mind. I walk looking inward, spot a fragile bleached sea urchin shell the size of a quarter and pick it up. I hold it gently in my palm and walk on. This is precious, I think, remembering the black nubbly spines of tiny living urchins I have seen, nestled among the rocks in the shallows of another bay. I think, not all survive to have spines that speak of elegant ebony chopsticks. And then my mind moves on to context.
I think, without the creature, this object in my hand is just another pretty thing. I think, without my family I would be nothing, my outer shell is so far removed from what’s inside. How would anyone know the woman on the shore could be a poet?
the pond’s fluid edge
© 2010 Jennifer M. Pierce, All Rights Reserved