Hiroko - Poem by Yen Cress
Hiroko lives in far-away Japan,
Across the ocean toward the setting sun.
She holds before her face a painted fan
And humbly bows when meeting anyone.
Hiroko has dark eyes set at a slant.
Her skin is lovely, gold, and smooth as cream.
Her lilting voice can easily enchant-
It bubbles like a little forest stream.
Hiroko looks as graceful as a doe,
And dresses with the most exquisite taste.
She wraps herself in silken kimono,
Then ties an obi 'round her tiny waist.
Hiroko combs her long and straight black hair
Into a tall and shiny laquered mound.
She slips some pretty pins in front with care
And then with fragrant blossoms she is crowned.
Hiroko walks in shoes three inches tall
To keep her feet above the dirt and rocks.
When she goes home, she pauses in the hall,
Removes her shoes, and walks around in socks.
Hiroko has a house with paper walls,
And wooden floors, and futons rolled away.
Her home is peaceful when the evening falls,
Serenely cheerful in the light of day.
Hiroko offers tiny cups of tea
While kneeling by a table near the floor.
She pours and says her honored guests will be
Most welcome when they come inside her door.
Hiroko favors little bowls of rice,
With seaweed sheets and bits of salty fish.
The flicking of her chopsticks is precise-
She quickly empties out the china dish.
Hiroko has a pond of golden koi.
She calls them every morning, and they come.
They swim right to the edge and then enjoy
The food she gives them, eating every crumb.
Hiroko prays before a little shrine,
Remembering ancestors long since dead.
She burns a stick of incense as a sign
Her prayers are carried upward, overhead.
Hiroko places flowers in a vase,
Identifying Earth and Man and Sky.
Curved branches swirl around the simple base;
Their beauty pleases heart and mind and eye.
Hiroko folds bright paper into shapes
Like pretty boxes, fish, or elephants.
Her fingers fly until a bird escapes-
The origami charms her audience.
Hiroko sweetly plays a bamboo flute.
The music sounds mysterious and rare.
Some notes are low, and others more acute:
Harmonic echoes fill the quiet air.
Hiroko writes small verses called haiku
To tell about the lovely things she sees.
She writes about her garden, bright with dew,
And how the birds build nests high in the trees.;
Hiroko signs her name with brush and ink
On parchment, in tradition's ancient style.
She forms each character quick as a wink
And finishes her writing with a smile.
Hiroko loves to see the cherries bloom,
A pink and white parade to welcome spring.
Her home is scented with the sweet perfume,
A gentle presence touching everything.
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