Sunday, April 18, 2021

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

Almost suddenly, past a railway track, it is like entering another world. People talk in revered tones, no one shouts. There is no litter on the paths, only fallen leaves, no wrappers, no drink cans, no butts. The small stone shrines are coated with moss. You expect a fox spirit to step forward and greet you...

Arashiyama  Bamboo Forest, Kyoto, Japan
Photo by dsnake1

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

coming out of the noise of the train station
and across an old railway track

the bamboo forest

because the bamboos are so tall, so straight
their leaves like spear tips

the early daylight

just creeps quietly through the slats of wood,
whatever tiny spaces of freedom

to fall silently

on the paths we are walking, to monuments
of immortal haiku poets

in buried fire

the bamboo leaves bow in the slight wind
to centuries of poetry

and did down these paths

samurai warriors, katanas drawn and rifles loaded
went to die at Toba-Fushimi?

their dreams silent
as the frozen moon?

but now in this new century

i see this smiling girl with a hijab
photographing a pokemon toy

this is pikachu meeting kitsune

further ahead famous shrines await
under a foggy autumn sky

Adashino Nenbutsuji
and the red maples

written 28/06/2020
revised 26/03/2021

Virtual Japan - Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2021

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Blogger colleen said...

A magical scene. I felt like I was walking in the bamboo forest too. I love that it emobodies poetry.

18 April, 2021 20:39  
Blogger Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

There was a stand of bamboo in the back garden of the house I grew up in. I used to play in it when I was small. So I can fairly easily imagine a bamboo forest. I like your poem very much indeed; also it puts me in mind of Natalie Goldberg's recent book (published this year) Three Simple Lines, about haiku and her journeying through Japan.

18 April, 2021 21:18  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


Thank you!
any place that embodies poetry is beautiful. :)


Thank you!
I had a wonderful time during my tour in Japan. Everywhere i went, i wanted to write a haiku, but only managed a few (and not very good ones). There's just too much to see and feel and eat. :)

18 April, 2021 21:43  
Blogger Priscilla King said...

Lovely images--the bamboo forest, thoughts of its past history, then the modern child with the Pokemon toy. I could see it. Thank you.

18 April, 2021 21:48  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


Thank you!
yes, that modern child with the pokemon toy seems out of place at first, but really i realised later that it was actually in sync with that world. :)

18 April, 2021 22:17  
Blogger Magaly Guerrero said...

This is wonderful, Lee San. First, I love your description of the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest--its cleanliness, how it interacts with environment, what it has inspired and continues to inspire... The line about "pikachu meeting kitsune" made smile from ear to ear. Few things warm my heart more than the sight of the world shifting and growing to fit all its creatures.

19 April, 2021 00:04  
Blogger Helen said...

This is a gorgeous poem ... I had a 'wall of bamboo' separating my property from a neighbor ... years ago in warm, balmy Florida. It was the envy of our neighborhood.

19 April, 2021 01:48  
Blogger Gillena Cox said...

Does look like a place for a nine tail to appear

Luv these lines:
"on the paths we are walking, to monuments
of immortal haiku poets"

Happy you dropped by my blog today Cheong Lee san


19 April, 2021 01:51  
Blogger indybev said...

So lovely. You took us there!

19 April, 2021 04:10  
Blogger Margaret said...

We all need nature - it grounds us and is very spiritual as well. Lovely write. Loved the connection with the souls and nature.

19 April, 2021 04:38  
Blogger Rommy said...

There's a stand of bamboo in the back of my development. I love how it looks, but sadly the ground there is super marshy and often has a lot of mosquitoes hanging around when the weather gets warm enough. I hope to visit Japan someday.

19 April, 2021 06:26  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


yes, it was a very eye-opening trip. i saw centuries old shrines co-existing with modern offices & homes, i see manners that i could only wished for over here.


Thank you!
i bet that 'wall of bamboo' is the envy of your neighbourhood. :)


it was quite aa magical place. :)

19 April, 2021 20:43  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


Thank you! :)


Thank you!
i like what you said about nature! :)


yes, i would like to visit Japan again someday. :)

19 April, 2021 21:06  
Blogger A Cuban In London said...

That was gorgeous. :-) Thanks.

23 April, 2021 03:16  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

Thank you, Mario! :)

23 April, 2021 11:27  
Blogger magiceye said...

This was so beautifully versed!

23 April, 2021 21:03  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

Thank you, magiceye!
so glad to hear from you! :)

23 April, 2021 21:13  

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