Along the Columbia

by | Jan 31, 2021 | Poetry

sunset colors darken –
out of nowhere
a crescent moon

11/10/2018 – Published in the Haiku Society of America anthology 2019

first trip south –
mama bird flies behind
protecting her wing


Columbia River 1 | Shimenawa | Along the Columbiageese going south
others heading north
who’s in charge here?


whipping offshore winds
freezing waters, instant death
warming the blood


tanker painted white
camouflaging black insides
hiding in the snow


channel marker there
stationary as the wavelets
wash against its sides


barely perceptible
light blue mist
gauze over green water


pale silhouette
on a purple sky —
night flight heading home


Columbia River 2 | Shimenawa | Along the Columbia

dark of the solstice —
we beg
for the coming of light


deep in the shrubbery
tiny mating cries
— try me! no me! no me!


empty runways –
lone plane ascending
up through the clouds


ten thousand maple seeds
carpeting the river walk
— which one stands a chance?


About Mike Freiling

Mike’s interest in the connections between different cultures and their philosophies began during his year as a Luce Scholar (1977-1978) at Kyoto University, when he first learned the meaning of the shimenawa and translated the Heian Period poems of the Hyaku Nin Isshu into English. In 2020, he founded Shimenawa no Michi to leverage his experience as an investment advisor into a broader initiative to help people navigate the challenges of life, love, and the search for transcendence. Mike also holds a PhD in artificial intelligence from MIT and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) designation from the CFA Institute.