Welcome Reiwa: The Era of Beautiful Harmony


“Westerners like to conquer mountains; Orientals like to contemplate them. As for me, I like to taste the mountains.”
—Santoka Taneda

Ocean Tasting is a group of poems inspired by Mountain Tasting, Haiku and Journals of Santoka Taneda. Santoka Taneda (1882-1940) was a Zen poet in the wandering hermit tradition of Japan. I have been inspired by his journals as much as his haiku. In place of “Tasting Mountains” I have written two sonnet trilogies, which I call “Ocean Tasting.” The first trilogy is dedicated to Reiwa, which began on May 1, 2019 when Emperor Naruhito ascended to the throne, beginning the era of Beautiful Harmony.

Three friends, Simplicity, Solitude, and Impermanence, find a means to their ends.

Wabi liked oatmeal with brown sugar and milk
a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch
he always wore wool or cotton never wore silk
tied up his troubles in a little throwaway bunch

Sabi was kind of a loner liked to read in his room
spoke very seldom and softly some thought him rude
he was really quite pleasant when in a good mood
and happened to enjoy plenty of quality solitude

Miyu was in a military family that always moved
she was lucky for a while it wasn’t really too far
her genuine friendship for many years she proved
after she could drive she went see her friends by car

Though they all ultimately went their own separate ways
Wabi, Sabi, and Miyu stayed close and they still are today

Jiyu, Jiko, and Shizen
Three friends, Freedom, Self, and Naturalness, enjoy a hike.

Jiyo, “so good that together we could finally all take a hike
along the cliff line road high above the stormy sea
taking time to find out and know what each of us like
learning how to be good friends and the meaning of free”

Jiko, “Eeach one of us has problems with others and our selves
getting to know and understand them is a lifelong chore
today we are putting those problems away on a shelf
listening to the roar of the ocean surf as it hits the shore

Shizen, “a trade wind blows through the coconut trees
red birds call each other kingfishers fly by
as we walk and talk and shoot the breeze
laughing telling jokes and sometimes a lie

Sanpo, “our walk has helped us get to know each other
helped friendship grow between sister and brother

Chikara and Hikari
Two lovers, Strength and Brightness, surprise each other.

Chikara showed how to compromise and yet somehow win
continuing to go on no matter how much she was resisted
some green go lights a bright red face from forehead to chin
almost completely losing it but ‘nevertheless she persisted’

Hikari was almost always cheery and pleasant to be around
lighthearted loving and caring for others most of the time
a supportive friend and lover like Hikari is hard to be found
his happiness comforts many others and it is truly sublime

It turns out that Chikara was indeed the stronger of the two
she held the relationship together got them out of the blue
Hikari’s buoyancy and brightness was almost diminished
Chikara’s strength pulled him up before they were finished

By their respective qualities the two lovers were surprised
they helped and needed each other more than they surmised.

Joey 'Pepe Batbon' Connolly
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