–the Harie district in Takashima, Shiga Prefecture, Japan
Hira mountain water joins Lake Biwa, finds a path
to Harie village.
Many homes have Kabata rooms, where carp in deep
basins eat scraps
of rice, tofu, from plates and bowls. There are more
basins where villagers
rinse vegetables, cook food, and savor clean water.
Carp go where they please –
canals, streams, and back to homes, all part of “shozu,”
the living water culture
meant to nourish both villagers and rice fields. All
community and harmony
a desire to conserve, keep precious water pure. Clear
water has a unique flavor
in each household, but is always savory, always fresh.
Curious visitors receive
one hand-made bamboo cup to taste water drawn
from Harie springs. One reminder
it is sweet to drink from your source.
You can keep that cup forever.
Michael Carrino holds an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College. He is a retired English lecturer at the State University College at Plattsburgh, New York, where he was co-founder/poetry editor and is currently an associate editor of the Saranac Review. His publications include Some Rescues, (New Poets Series, Inc.) Under This Combustible Sky, (Mellen Poetry Press), Café Sonata, (Brown Pepper Press), Autumn’s Return to the Maple Pavilion (Conestoga Press), By Available Light (Guernica Editions), and Always Close, Forever Careless (Kelsay Books), as well as individual poems in numerous journals and reviews.
Art: “moon river,” acrylic, charcoal, and handmade paper on archival paper 7×5 inches
Artist Statement: When I think of the images in this poem — mountain, carpe, rice, vegetables, water, bamboo cup — I think of texture, of the layers of life. I was drawn to using this piece because it is also an assemblage of diverse parts acrylic paint, charcoal, and handmade Japanese paper, and because when I look at it, I see a cycle, a “reminder/ it is sweet to drink from your source.