with his ivory foot resting

on a polished rock

the great wave off Kanagawa

breaks over his toes


one knee bent

a look of serene intention

greets us


his cormorant

with roped neck

and fish filled bill

sits in the crook of his arm

wings etched in black


he cannot swallow

his master’s livelihood

not now, not yet

not the big ones


but where is his boat?

his lantern, glass river?

Nishiki, Mikuma

Takatsu, Nagara


he stands

gracefully bent forward

right hand clasping the rope

that leashes the bird

to his will


a playful smile

accentuates his cheeks

we can almost see

his beard twitch


the wave crash

the night closing in

the burning lantern

there to attract fish

cast rippling reflections

as it dives beneath


and all within

the mock Tudor walls

of this suburban bungalow


the cormorant fisherman

has found a home

and stands alone

a lost tourist amongst

the royal wedding tea set

and Sylvac shire horses


in a mahogany alcove

Nan’s nik-nak shrine

where us children looked

but never touched

his imagined past


words ©Colin Hill 2017


🌷 (2)

◄ To the father and son

Wind from the Sea ►


Profile image

Colin Hill

Wed 21st Jun 2017 08:19

thanks for all the comments.

Rose, 喜んで means 'with pleasure' according to Google translate. Well you did tell me to get on me bike and knock out another poem. So it was 喜んで that I did. Of course Google translate could be wrong and those squiggles could mean anything!

Martin, to quote Wikipedia, an okimono 'is a Japanese term meaning "ornament for display; objet d'art; decorative object", typically displayed in a tokonoma alcove or butsudan altar'. Originally I set out to write about a Japanese cormorant fisherman but came across a picture of an ivory okimono depicting the scene described in the poem. I thought it would be fun to place it within the context of my late nan's mahogany display cabinet as if it had found its way into some modern day Western suburban 'tokonoma'. I decided against adding the picture as I felt it would have spoiled the effect of the first 8 verses. But if you search Google images it's the 8th one along on the first line.

thanks again

Martin Elder

Tue 20th Jun 2017 23:12

I assume this is based on a picture in your nans house. But I have a real sense of the picture either way. I love Japanese art. Nice one Colin

Profile image

Cynthia Buell Thomas

Mon 19th Jun 2017 15:30

Much enjoyed! Insightful and well-constructed.

Profile image

Colin Hill

Mon 19th Jun 2017 12:05

Profile image

Graham Sherwood

Mon 19th Jun 2017 12:01


Profile image

Rose Casserley

Mon 19th Jun 2017 10:37

dear sensei Hill,is this reasonably fair maiden,in not being familiar with the Japanese language,correct in assuming that these oriental lettering's are a calligraphic message of goodwill,

or are they a suggesting something more....💘?

tis jesting,I am,as I get my kimono!

great poem-as per,as defo!

sayonara sweetie

Rose 😈

Profile image

Colin Hill

Mon 19th Jun 2017 10:24

喜んで Rose 😉

If you wish to post a comment you must login.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more Hide this message