Hokkaido Word Pictures
the poetry island
We are back in Hokkaido
same hotel as in April
but instead of crisp blue spring skies
and a snow-covered volcano we had then
it’s now October autumnal and the weather has closed in
to drizzle and fog
so we can’t see out the window,
but we could out of the train this morning
and so some word pictures:
Gold and russet leaves of an undulating forest canopy
randomly pierced by conical pines Picea jezoensis,
still, and always, dark green until death;
sonorous rhythms of the limited express
in tune with the flow of the canopy and the lull of autumn.
Then a change in both weather and forest:
Golden larch needles of Larix leptolepis,
(the deciduous conifer)
glisten in bright sun
Then to fall silently
repeating eons of autumns
and silencing forest floors.
The scene changes starkly – autumnal forests
to thin beach edged by crashing waves of Japan’s coastal sea:
protective sea walls
rusty roofs and buildings not the glitz of Tokyo
sea-faring communities of local fishers
left behind from the global commercial fish-kill ships
seemingly not so prosperous here
until further along the coast,
new blue, green, grey and aqua roofs
and cream, vivid yellow, white walls
show community renewal
in Noboribetsu beside
Nupur-pet, the dark-colored river.
Clinton Foster PSM was born and raised in Adelaide and lives in Canberra. He is an Honorary Professor at the Australian National University Research School of Earth Sciences, and was one of Poet’s Corner’s first contributors in its Independent Weekly print days. Clinton and his wife, Maureen McCluskey OAM, are regular travellers to Japan to visit their grandsons.
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