Where jade sky joins azure sea

a single boat shines beneath cumuloninbi        (Honolulu)




The ocean blurs behind recurring showers

two rainbows straddle the town




Cleansing the town from the hills then departing off to sea

the showers wash away this old man’s melancholy




All noise surrounding my house dies away

leaves whisper from the window




Awakened by rain pattering the broad leaves

I listen in remembrance to the Ashiya rain from my native country   


(Ashiya is a city in Hyogo prefecture, Japan.)




Enclosed by mountains rising one over another

as though with no way out - my native Hachiman


(Hachiman, in Gifu prefecture, was the city closest to the village called Nishikawa-mura, where Konoshima was born.)





With sweetfish uruka from my niece comes nostalgia

I break a ten-year abstinence


(Uruka is a preparation of the internal organs of ayu, or sweetfish, preserved in salt.)




Outside the hospital window gigantic palm leaves

do a hula dance beneath a downpour




Someone famous must be ill

beautiful flowers and exotic plants surround a sickroom




A tidal wave of Japanese tourists surges in

and everything in the marketplace is swept away




Japanese come to sightsee - and they buy toilet paper

a new expression - “The Sightseeing Animal” - is born


(Both Hawaii and Japan suffered a shortage of toilet paper due to panic buying and hoarding related to the 1973~74 oil crisis.)




Wynnewood - after William Penn’s physician

on the hill thus named an iron sign is old


(Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, is a suburban community outside of Philadelphia named after William Penn’s physician, Dr. Thomas Wynne. Konoshima lived in Wynnewood with his youngest daughter’s family, wintering in Hawaii, from 1972.)


Perhaps William Penn raised his head to gaze at this huge tree

in a Philadelphia suburb the decaying trunk remains




Adorning the forest where spring buds green

dogwood - wisteria - and azalea bloom




My daughter travels five thousand miles to visit

I reward her with choices from my ripe vegetable garden




As evening wears on deer and fox and raccoon

roam about my garden - holding a demonstration




Maybe I’ll plant wild bracken in the corner of my garden

to remind me of my native home




No fish is fine - a catch even better

I sit by my son on the pebbles of Shelter Island


(Shelter Island, New York.)




They live in the world without profit or harm

how grateful I am that my children are ordinary





My children all surpass their parents and rise up in the world

I offer prayers of gratitude with all my heart




Patches on the rear of new pants with torn cuffs

young people’s fashion is beyond me




Young men flaunt shabby worn-out clothes

Are you rebelling against society?




Shabby clothes - unkempt hair - stinking of sweat

we too rebelled in Meiji society


(The Meiji era - 1868 to 1912.)




Profiteering - a conspiracy between government and corporations

some say this is the oil crisis




Mother Nature - the home of wild birds and beasts

violated by man to create a different wilderness




Morality crumbles - financial power alone abounds

the President and Vice President are cut down in scandal





The President’s corruption is exposed and he is forced to resign

praise for the triumph of democratic America




While extolling democratic America it is fair to ask -

Who elected a corrupt President?




To teach the world about government without morality

a perfect example - Watergate




“Be no more than one hour” - my aged wife tells me

forlorn I walk a country path the fine autumn day




I follow a country path the fine autumn day

gun shots - hunting season must have begun




A breeze rustles through woods the fine autumn day

yellow birch leaves fall onto my shoulders




My old friend’s letter cuts off after three lines

and becomes a death notice by airmail




Knowing he would die he tried to say farewell

I read in friendship and raise my head in reverence




Was my friend consciously giving us mementos?

Upon parting last year he gave me a gem




Aware the end was near he designated his own death-name

another remaining friend passes away


(A kaimyou is a name given posthumously to a deceased person in Japanese Buddhist culture.)




I put out the light and my friend’s visage comes back to me

turns into dreams and speaks of our youth




Just two thousand dollars changed into yen

gives me the illusion of having become a rich man    (A visit to Japan)




Because she earnestly devotes every day to poetry

my teacher lives to the ripe old age of ninety


(Mitsuko Shiga, 1885~1976, was married to the poet Mizuho Ota and collaborated with his literary magazine, Cho-on, the quarterly that published Konoshima’s entire opus from 1950 to 1984. Shiga was also a selector of the verses submitted for the New Year's Poetry Reading at the Imperial Palace. Anthologies of her poetry include Fuji no Mi - "Wisteria Beans", Asa Tsuki -"Morning Moon", Asa Ginu -"Linen Silk", and Kamakura Zakki -"Kamakura Miscellany". Shiga also published some instructional guides to the writing of poetry, including Waka dokuhon -"A Guide to Waka Verse", and Dento to Gendai Waka -"Tradition and Modern Waka".)




Scarlet little persimmons densely dangle

as I walk the valley to visit a new shrine




A mountain stream weaves through flaming autumnal colors

rocks jut white and the blue waters swirl




Scattering eulalia strikes my window like swirling snow

and the autumnal kudzu seems to tremble with flames