AN ICEY JOKE

My dear fellow staff members : Our school is already inside a desert!
The cedar tree forest is now a wood of Persian date palms
Our fields are gone as are our dense thickets
The entire area is but an ice cloud of fine frozen sand
Mr. Shirabuchi, seeing as the Arabian genie has made his way
Straight up to about 39 degrees north latitude
Why wasn't there official notification from temple headquarters?
The air about the place was one of jolly celebration
When we returned from class a while ago
Flowers on the silk tree and down off the goose's breast
Snowed from the blue round of a brilliant sky
And while you were doing the binding on our term schedule
And I was building a fire
That bewitching lake of ours
Stagnated in a garish display of light
That's right...no doubt about it
If I were the chief abbot at your temple
It would be high time, I'd think, to put all your proselytizers
Atop an enormous camel
And send them to the ends of the earth
Through opal smoke
A milky-white willow-fog of iridescence
I'd connect that massive virtual-image drifting desert
To either a lone traveller
Or to a troop of soldiers or a caravan
I'd order them to stuff the pains of the world into the waterskins
Hanging off the back of the camel, stifled, gasping
And sink them, tightly sealed, in the polar sea
And if that happened, you'd see...it would turn into a mighty dragon
And send furious hail storms to every corner of the globe
And at such time I, as your chief abbot
Would don a nine-stripe surplice and appear
On the Crystal Dais of temple headquarters in Tokyo
The top of my skull shaved bone-shiny
I'd have two attendants hold an incense burner and a white lily
And with eyes raised to the sky deliberately, serenely
I'd create a couplet of the gatha to pacify the dragon
Well, wouldn't you know it...
The journalists have finally arrived on the scene


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