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Thursday, April 09, 2009

Waka Fest

Welcome to The Reiki Digest's first annual Waka Fest, a celebration of the ancient Japanese poetic art that is an unheralded part of the system of Reiki.

For more than a year now, we've been publishing a weekly waka, usually written by one of two Reiki practitioners: Michael Dagley or Beth Lowell. Both of them have particularly enjoyed working, and playing, with the waka form, and I've contributed a few of my own as well. Now we're hoping to get some more poetic voices into the mix. We've issued a few low-key invitations to our readers from time to time, but we haven't gotten much response. So we've decided to celebrate the art of waka writing as part of our Cherry Blossom Festival.

Here's how it works: We invite you to write a waka (or several) and post it as a comment on our web site. We invite other readers to respond to any waka they wish with one or more other waka. Or if you prefer, write the first three lines of a waka, and let someone else finish it. We hope to get a waka conversation going -- not as it was done in ancient Japan, of course (they didn't have computers back then) but in the spirit of those evening gatherings hundreds of years ago in which all conversation was literally poetic.

And since, with all types of poems, delivery can make a huge difference, we've set up a special waka hotline so that you can read your waka aloud and let us post the audio on our web site.

So, what's a waka, and what does it have to do with Reiki? Structurally, a waka is a 31-syllable poem, divided into 5 lines in a 5/7/5/7/7 pattern of syllables.

Reiki founder Mikao Usui included 125 poems by Japan's Meiji emperor in the original Reiki manual, to be used as focal points in meditation. But since the manual was unknown in the west until the 1990s, Reiki practitioners who trained before then (and their students) may not know about the waka.

For more about waka, we turn to our waka writers. First up is Beth Lowell with "Waka Rules!"
followed by Michael Dagley with "Following the waka into Japanese history."


Anonymous Colin Powell said...

I have written several Reiki Waka on my website (see below for URL and click My Reiki Waka button)

Here is an example:


Reiki energy:
Atmosphere of the Divine.
How I wish I could
Experience its Great Light
In all aspects of my life.

Janet, you are welcome to use any of these if you like, as long as you keep me attributed as the author.

8:23 AM  
Anonymous Beth Lowell said...

drifting in the bay
I got a call long distance
a clear connection
my dog told me a story
happily ever after

on my way to work
one stormy April morning
walking through the snow
of fallen blossom petals
I remembered winter’s chill

under weeping trees
the river kept on running
carving into stone
the differences between us
and what drew us to its banks

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Beth Lowell said...

tumbling on the trackbed
and singing rails
the wind, it blew them home

full moon
an empty sky
I stir my coffee
and hope for waka

7:30 AM  
Anonymous Beth Lowell said...

and chilly breezes
and I'm contemplating:
ashes...or dust?

a weedy lawn
and a sink full of dishes
my life
what better way to spend it
than with poetry and dogs?

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Beth Lowell said...

another day
another waka
life's too short
to worry about perfection
won't you join the party?

7:45 AM  
Anonymous Beth Lowell said...

smudge on the doorjamb
where the cat rubbed against it
and when the light hits
just right in the afternoon
you can almost see her there

8:10 AM  
Anonymous Beth Lowell said...

a neglected patch -
its fruit, fallen and rotten
throw it on the heap
choking on bitter nettles
the argument, unresolved

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Beth Lowell said...

hurrying Spring
I bought a flat of pansies
their cheerful faces
were promising better days -
the deer enjoyed them too

crazy mutterings
hackneyed phrases and cliches
a one woman show
I want to be a poet
I'll never be a poet

8:11 AM  
Anonymous beth lowell said...

under tangled roots
and moss, down at the bottom
where no one can see
is both the scariest place
and the most beautiful one

I woke up today
and saw the sky filled with clouds
an interesting reflection
of dogwood petals and cement
cotton, bones, grubs, angora

3:51 PM  
Blogger michael swerdloff said...

I am alone here
Alone need not be lonely
Trees stand tall rooted
Compost takes hold of Earth’s breath
The force of love is relentless

A vision with eyes
Staring like the owl at dusk
Full moon sighs tides rise
Reflections of love and desire
Nothing quells The Golden Mind

The sand bleeds parched soles
Emptying clamshells at midnight
The shoreline is full

Hermit crabs at home anywhere
Moments wash away forever

Camel humps desert
The cactus knows no limit
Needles poke through flesh
The answer is not questioned
The question is not answered

The night sleeps again
Sunrise lifts human blindness
Hands stretch across time
Seeing is not believing
Rumi speaks sunset arrives

River almost still
A heart beating quickly
Mind needs to slow down
A breeze tickles the tall grass
The grass returns to its post

I breathe a half breath
Confusion breeds illusion
Dry tears shake my grip
The river does snot know lies
Cool tranquil waters refresh

What is the next step?
I can’t wait and do nothing
Tadpoles scurry about
The frog sits home unmoving
Speed takes much time and effort

10:35 AM  

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