Elisavietta Ritchie, three poems

We Wake Beside an Invisible River

Fog swishing through Georgia pines

screens our world inside a Japanese dawn,

veils deer among flowering quince.

Yet through the scrim of mists

we see the Buddha at Kamakura,

small deer we fed at Nara,

cormorants with rings

around their throats bringing fish

to skiffs in the Inland Sea.

When mists clear we will see Fujiyama

surrounded by sapphire waves

and crowned with perpetual snows—

No. The tardy sun burns this day

clear over our own graygreen cove

were tide now covers marsh and sand.

Our great blue heron proclaims

longevity over cattails and huge pink

marshmallow flowers edging the cove,

the cormorant only passing through dives

for minnows then, perched on a piling, swallows,

airs his long narrow wings, and dives…

The far river banks are fringed with bent oaks,

fields of soybeans, corn and ebony steers

grazing beside the Patuxent river….

One crane still flies against the misty red sun

over a rice padi, pink petals, skinny reeds,