Say the Mornings Are the Hardest

Lie in bed as the night fades in; red to purple

to blue. Not the nights

but the mornings when you decide

again, after the night, to go on.

It is not discontent but sadness – a stagnant

sense of impermanence sits like a stomach ache

after your mother scolds you for eating seeds;

you can feel the leaves growing.

Discover that a word for this exists

in a calligraphy class. Guide your hand –

deep black ink piercing thin rice paper

and seeping, defeated, into harsh lines.  

Let it stumble over your tongue.

Mono no aware, the beauty of impermanence.

Feel the afternoon sun seep through

windows of a Kobe University

built from the ruins

of an earthquake’s devastation.

Sit with those you call classmates in front

of a screen showing the train you catch at 9:15

plunge into the streets

as its tracks collapse.

Understand all too well

life’s brevity.

Walk streets lined with hydrangeas

fading red to purple to blue


after rounds of sake with those

you now call friends. Know


your position in life is unquestioned. Play as though

you are all children in an emptied playground;

smile unconditionally. Humans will

always rise to be human again.

The color of hydrangeas is determined

by the pH balance of the soil.

They will change color when replanted

in different soil.

Come to see hydrangeas

as moving on.


“SAY THE MORNINGS ARE THE HARDEST” is a poem I wrote in 2017. It was published in ROYAL ROSE MAGAZINE, which you can read online.