Joseph Woods

Triptych (2001)


From the kitchen of mild odours
a simple meal of rice, beans and miso soup.

Each monk has his own set of eating bowls
which he takes care of, pouring hot water

into each bowl to drink the rinse, so as not to waste
a particle of food. In praise for the minute lives

sacrificed, the time and energy expended.

In the kitchen garlic and onions,
flavours that affect the spirit, are forbidden.


Every leaf is heavy here with rain
and a scent of mould rises to muzzle.

Stone lanterns are quenched by the hood of moss . . .

— Stay long enough and the seasons will create
the same vacillations they would at home.


Under a monk’s calm instruction
I light three sticks of incense,

for God, my ancestors and me.

— Things are lost because of my English,
he says.

Because of my Japanese and my English.




‘Triptych’ first appeared in Sailing to Hokkaido and is © Joseph Woods. For a note about Joseph Woods see ‘Sailing to Hokkaido’.





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