It was on the day they told me that the country was closing, that the flights were being stopped, and that I couldn't go to Japan, that I found a little token of Destiny.
Underneath a fig tree branch overhanging a fence, through the setting sun, something was shining like a tiny piercing ray of hope. I bent down to pick it up and examined it in the palm of my hand. A little gold heart.
I don't know how many years it might have been there... But now it sits as an offering in front of my ceramic Goddess of Mercy, on the bookshelf of Japanese poetry. When I have the time, I find a red silk cord, thin enough to pass through its tight keyhole, and wear it around my neck, for good luck. The tress are the same changing colours now in Adelaide that they were in Oxford when I was at OCLW for the precious six weeks of an English Autumn. The red and gold and fawn coloured ever-changing panorama, like the fragment of brocade I keep from Kyoto, only opening the box sometimes, to keep the scent of the past safe. I will miss the cherry blossoms over there, but I am glad they are blooming for everyone, the way they have for thousands of years now, through the triumphs and heart breaks of the love stories around them, illuminated at night by the red lanterns...I wonder what poetry will emerge from across the seas, during this strange year to come? It is something to live for surely.
Wendy Ella Wright.