In Ancient Japan a year was measured
in 72 microseasons.
April Fifth to the Ninth
was when Swallows Return,
and as the Tenth of May bloomed into the Fourteenth,
one could look down and see Worms Surface.
It was a year, drawn through a fine-tooth comb,
separated into smooth and useful and rhythmic strands––
Wheat Ripens and is Harvested,
Rotten Grass Becomes Fireflies,
Bears Start Hibernating in Their Dens,
Salmon Gather and Swim Upstream.
Even as the Butterburs Bud and Hens Start Laying Eggs
expect still that Ice Thickens on Streams.
My own calendar hangs on a wall, a sea of boxes
arriving empty, seasonless as our eggs.
And for all the usefulness I’ve filled it with,
the infinitely scheduled appointments,
it remains, still, empty
of when Mantises Hatch,
Antlers are Shed,
or when Dew Glistens White on Grass.
Slowly, as our only season has become discontent
and we find ourselves unmoored
from the daily almanac of the earth,
what could be more useful than to know
you can expect the whales to return and feed
as the young raccoons are weaned?
That when the turkey vultures are nesting
the blackberries will begin to sweeten.
That soon, the thickening moon will pull
the ocean again, closer to our hearts.
About the Poet:
Ryan Warren lives with his family by the sea. His poetry has previously appeared in numerous journals, including California Quarterly, Wilderness House Literary Review, Amaryllis, Poetry Breakfast and Your Daily Poem. Find more at facebook.com/ryanwarrenpoetry.
Poetry Breakfast accepts submissions of poetry and poetry related creative non-fiction year-round. See our Submission Guidelines page for details on submitting your work.