To Basho – a poem by Brian Palmer

To Basho

Birds or leaves?
On this path,
it’s hard to tell
what’s falling down
from bare, cold branches
or what’s flying up to them.

these less-than-concrete
mid-air moments,
Mid-day or mid-night,
these every shadow moments matter.

Bud and flower;
I see my younger
and my older figure
walking on a crystal road,
to a white and freezing river.

source and mouth
exist at once.
And as the water moves
but freezes,
I stand silently perplexed.

I know what you would say, to only watch
my current feet, hold autumn—now this dying
bird—beneath the rising moon where shadow
limbs and scattered leaves and feathered snow
soothe the ailing earth.


Brian Palmer is inspired by the idea that everything lies in beauty along a continuum of emergence and decay and at any given moment has the capacity to inspire. Recently, he’s been published at The Ekphrastic Review, Small Farmer’s Journal, and The Light Ekphrastic.

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