David Landis Barnhill
Hazelhurst, Wisconsin, USA
Ten Foot Square Hut
I walk into the heart of Yoshino, in the final slipping of summer. From down valley comes the occasional sound of a chainsaw. Somewhere uphill a woodpecker is at work. Through the brown of the conifer trunks and the clusters of needles, across the valley haze, a line of pure white clouds rests on the ridges. At the sound of branchfall, the crowns of cedars are swaying in blue sky.
I turn down the maple-arced stone path to Saigyo's hut. Inside in the darkness, the monk-poet meditates in statue. A few coins are tossed near the front, and below is an offering of a shiny can of sake. Across the ravine an ancient sugi reaches into sky. A cloud floats out from behind the slope as the wind flushes the cherries and maples around the hut. A grasshopper bounds over a rock.
into the stream below:
Editor's Note: Dr. Barnhill has kindly offered a commentary on his haibun.