SBP Blog

Stone Bridge Cafe: "Soaking in the Greenwood/Shinrin-yoku"

Thomas Joel - Monday, October 16, 2017

Stone Bridge Cafe is a bi-weekly online series from Stone Bridge Press devoted to bringing readers short stories, poems, non-fiction pieces, photographs, and artwork from and/or about East Asia. For submission guidelines and info, follow the link at the bottom of this post.

This week's aesthetic appetizer is a two-part poem written by Victoria Crawford, a poet currently living in Chiang Mai. An English response in poetry to a Japanese concept, this piece waxes lyrical about two forests: the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest in the East and the Olympic National Park's Hoh-Rainforest in the West. Meandering through these two forests, Crawford captures the distinct natures of East and West while simultaneously revealing their innate connectedness and harmony.


Soaking in the Greenwood/Shinrin-yoku
(a Japanese word for forest bathing to restore your body, mind, and spirit to health, the green light making everything fresh again )
Stone Bridge Cafe: "Soaking in the Greenwood/Shinrin-yoku"
(Arashiyama Bamboo Forest in Kyoto, Japan)


Grimy sweat on my face
from city overheat,
Kyoto summer and centuries,
shade of Tenryu-ji temple,
polished wood scents
North Gate, bear left,
Arashiyama respite,
bamboo woodland welcome
like a shiny hotel room shower
after a long air flight,                                                                               
green glass bathing,
like old coke bottle tints,
this wanderer relaxes,
Only here, only now,
the cool of Asian jade
as bamboo pipes knock together,
click-clack wind chimes breeze washed.
Soaking in the greenwood,
olive moss pillows worn feet
on a slender trail,
Theseus’ thread through minotaur maze,
in Olympic National Park,
northern rainforest,
cedar and fir fringed
in sea green tatters,
fern lace collars.
My skin opens to damp
tree transpiration, emerald city air,
as the Pacific sighs, “Sh-sh”
through my native groves
red cedar, blue spruce, hemlock,
and I kneel to catch the faint, fresh scent
of ivory trillium climbing through ground cover.
Wash and rinse of forest
like sun-dried clothes
inhaled on laundry day

Stone Bridge Cafe: "Soaking in the Greenwood/Shinrin-yoku"

(Olympic National Park's Hoh-Rainforest in Washington, USA)


Connecting people, nature, cultures, geography, and languages in poetry is a form of creating beauty and sharing joy in the interrelatedness for poet Victoria Crawford. She currently lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand and has been published in a number of journals such as Wildflowers Muse, Peacock Journal, Ekphrastic Review, Eastlit, The Lyric Review, and The Ibis Head Review.
If you would like to submit your own work to Stone Bridge Cafe, follow this link for submission info and guidelines: 

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