A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
Donna Vail died last night.
I haven’t heard from her for over
forty years. In fact forty-four
years ago, when we were young
Buddhists and at that temple,
Taiseki-ji at Mount Fuji,
I went for a long walk one day
with Donna Vail. We happened
on the Five Storied Pagoda.
I’ve since traveled the world.
Yet when I think Japan, I first
think Donna Vail beside a pagoda.
What are the years if not a language?
I still listen for what she meant.
I’ve long forgotten what she said.
Copyright 2017 John Samuel Tieman
The Five-Storied Pagoda in Taiseki-ji