Ohara Fields, North Kyoto, September 2014

Posted on Monday, October 06, 2014, under ,

A Day in the Country

Reap us! Reap us! plead the rice ears
on the golden fields of Oharu.
A man with a determined face
is showing us the ropes:
how to cut stalk with a hand sickle,
his own ink-marked with a kanji.

A short woman who could be his mum
is bundling the rice straw into sheaves,
smiling authoritatively.
      A single sentence
and you know who is in charge here
and who you won’t be introduced to.
Then you are on your own. You saw
her hands tie the sheaf in a triple knot.
You follow suit, the sun on your back,
crickets buzzing in your ears.

You and half a dozen others
are holding a long bamboo trunk
overloaded with sheaves. Women chuckle.
Someone takes a photo, quips
‘Like you’ve just caught a giant fish!’
You could stand like this for weeks
until the rice is dry!

That evening you start yawning
by dinnertime. Your whole body aches,
yet does not weigh you down.
You think in greens and browns,
recall the children playing God
to grasshoppers and small frogs.

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