Three Ikebana Lessons
(Japanese flower arrangement)

Lesson # 1

From sensei ( teacher):

“Conceal the front rim of the vase
With fern or flowers.
The front is not seen
Just as a woman
Keeps the front of her kimono
Closed, by taking tiny steps.”

“Yes, Sensei.”
I bow to the sensei.
I am obedient.

Lesson # 2

“We do not worry about the back of the vase.
Ikebana is placed against the wall.
Only front matters. “

Hmmm. . . was I raised to be an Ikebana?
Always show saved face?
Do not expose what is not seen?
This is being Japanese?

Yes, smile?
Bow, be nice?
Let no one know
What weeps deep inside?
Desires, needs, dreams?
No, only front matters?
Keep buried, like Samurai swords
And Japanese porcelain dolls
After Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima?
Yes, smile, be nice?
Only front matters?

Lesson # 3

“Ah, maybe put orange flower
In the back, behind yellow protea.
Good to see little color from back.”

No! No more shadowing.
Let my voice entombed
For generations break the silence
Of the Buddhist hall.
I am not Ikebana.
I am not mere heaven, man and earth
Rooted by cultural hands.
Sift those sands. Yes!
I am free!
I am tossed into the winds.
I shed my kimono.
I spread my legs.
I am free.

I am expelled.

frances h kakuawa menu