These grey days, I hunger for colour. I scavenge
in produce aisles, take home bags overflowing
with orange-skinned mandarins, broccoli, dark
as pines, purple grapes, tri-coloured capsicums.
I sip herbal tea and read your messages.
Mongolia’s as hot as Korea, you say, but drier,
Everywhere is dusty. The vegetable soup is greasy
with mutton fat, and not much fibre in it.
You will pass through Osaka on your way home,
visit temples with gardens of pebbles
and carefully-raked sand. By the time you return
the maples in our garden will be swelling with new buds.
The Japanese have a special name for it.
Shinryoku – the tender new green of spring
I wrote this poem some years ago when my daughter had just finished two years' teaching English in Korea and was about to return to New Zealand. The weather has been so grey and damp over the last few days that it seemed very appropriate to the season.
It was published in the Christchurch Press, and in "The Chook Book: Free Range Organic Poetry", a publication of our small poetry group, the Poetry Chooks.
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