I WISH:  I wish for people to enjoy this poem. I worked hard on it and it still kind of makes me proud. ^_^

** ** ** **

Lanterns burn over a path of snow,

all that is left of the light.

Shadows writhe dark in the red-orange glow,

paper-shaded flames, losing the fight.

The sun has long melted behind a row

of winter-bare cherry trees, branches white.

Dark moon, only stars risen hours ago,

Vega among them burning bright.


She needs to find him; needs to know,

and has come out searching on this night.


A thousand footprints in his wake,

too protean, his path concealed.

A thousand hems of cotton make

broad strokes across the field.


Remnants of the day remain

now lifeless, silent, hollow:

a kite, a pinwheel, a paper crane,

but nothing of him to follow.

A lonely bridge across the lane:

a place for abandoned lovers to wallow.


A cat howls from Inari's shrine,

almost a cry of mourning.

And lovers who laughed and danced and dined

have shut themselves in till the morning.

She would herself be so inclined

if not for the taste of warning.


She walks past the lanterns and finds one down,

a fallen sentinel in a row of light-guards,

fire-singed on its way to the ground,

torn edges still smoking, black and charred.

It hasn't been long since it came unwound

(was pulled by someone running through the yard,)

and it smolders dark, its fires drowned.


But it's that dark patch of red that catches her regard.


And now she can hear them crying with need,

the winged ones from beyond the veil.

Soon they will fly, and they will want to feed,

so she follows the still-wet trail:

drop after drop like red pomegranate seeds.

She knows the signs; she knows this tale.

To warn him to hide from the dark and their greed:

She will not falter. She will not fail.


A light shape under a tree appears,

the curve of it catches her eye:

crushed and torn and shadow-smeared,

his elegant paper fan lies -

her own brush strokes on it, perfectly clear:

"Meet me when Vega takes the sky."

A handful of hope, a handful of fear.

This is their meeting. This is goodbye.


And there he lies, in snow enshrined,

the mark of a struggle, chaotic,

dark hair splayed, eyes staring blind,

in the light almost strangely hypnotic.

A white sash around his throat is twined,

sprawling limbs somehow exotic.

A kind of beauty redefined,

in death, peculiar, erotic.


In his eyes, is his killer reflected?

His last vision caught in his stare?

In his blindness she sees them reconnected.

The longer she looks, the more she is aware -

the discovery shocks her, unexpected:

It's her own reflection that holds her there.


Now Vega tilts away in a Western direction

under the ink dark moon.

Their burgeoning evening resurrection -

they'll be upon her too, soon.

She toys with his hair in regretful affection

and hums a mournful tune.

How could he know, when it escapes her recollection

in the sweet bright light of noon?

Her sisters close in and she feels their connection

as their sweet, dark, dripping mouths croon.


She pulls the knots and loosens the ties,

unwinding her sash from his throat.

It was nothing but cruelty to strangle his cries.

She covers him with her bloody coat.

Before they converge, the winged ones, her allies,

she kisses the fan on which she wrote

closes his dark staring eyes.

And away on their song she'll float.


Their voices sing that she's their own,

that they are hers, (and they are,)

and into the night on black wings she is flown,

towards the Vega star.



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  • Yoshikot
    Allow me to introduce myself. I’m debit72's mother. I opened my account with HitRECord tonight because I thought you deserved a correct answer to your question. A couple of weeks ago, my daughter asked me, “If you were going to translate "after the festival" would it be matsuri no ato de? Or something else?” My answer was, “It depends on how it is used, but yes, the direct translation would be 'matsuri no ato de’". Last night, I came across your poem titled “Ato no Matsuri – After the Festival”. I knew immediately where her question came from. If the question was put to me as, “Would the translation of “ato no matsuri” be “after the festival?” my answer would have been totally different. The definition of “ato no matsuri” is NOT “after the festival.” It has nothing to do with a festival, although the less known and unused definition is “the day after the festival.” “Ato no matsuri” is a very common Japanese phrase used today as meaning "too late to be of any use: damage has been done and there’s nothing you can do about it." Example: A man left his house and went to work. Then he remembered that he had left a kerosene space heater on in the garage, close to a can of kerosene. He rushed home but the garage had caught fire and the house was burn to the ground. That’s “ato no matsuri”. Another meaning is “te okure” which means to lose the last possible chance, like it being too late to save someone’s life from a serious illness because he was not taken to the hospital in time. “To arrive somewhere too late” is not the definition of “ato no matsuri” in true sense and as I wrote, it does not mean after the festival. However, I think that “Ato no Matsuri – After the Festival” is an appropriate title based on the contents of your poem. I hope I answered your question. By the way, I think your poem is very beautiful! You got my heart!!
    Apr 21, 2014
  • Tesla
    Your mom is, of course, totally correct! But it's meant to be a play on words, meaning to arrive somewhere too late. :D Is that correct?
    Apr 04, 2014
    by JulesKD
  • 20120113-222347_p1100509-lredit
    My mom says that a more accurate title would be "Matsuri no ato de." :)
    Apr 04, 2014
    by debit72
  • Concept_3_final
    Absolutely amazing! I could "see" everything in front of my eyes.
    Apr 04, 2014
  • 398701_3161413672617_1183570614_3499326_1022730150_n
    Wow. This is so well-crafted. It reads like a mournful tune.
    Jan 25, 2011
  • Tesla
    Thank you so much! What a great comment. That means a lot to me. :)
    Jan 25, 2011
    by JulesKD
  • Todd
    Wow (although that's what I said to myself at least five times as I read) doesn't begin to describe how truly awesome this is - in every way possible! Gripping, intense, so filled with realist imagry delivered in beautiful poetic prose. PUBLISH THIS!!!
    Jan 25, 2011
  • Tesla
    Oh my gosh, thank you SO MUCH! Writing is the world to me - a comment like that is so heartening.

    It's published here. This was written for HitRECord. ^_^ Maybe it could make it into the book, who knows! :)
    Jan 25, 2011
    by JulesKD
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