A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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June 2005, vol 1 no 1

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Thomas Heffernan, Japan

Coloring Christmas

The Sakurajima volcano changes color by the hour, by season, year, even by decade. In less than a minute cloudshadow pours deeper purple over lavendergray slopes. A year or two before I came to Kagoshima, hot ash and rocks blew from the vent in the south peak night and day. Sky and slope blazed with burning rock and ash. The day I arrived, I saw no red. A gray blizzard was falling. Seasons came and went. Plumes of ash rose high above Kagoshima Bay. People passed by, umbrellas hoisted overhead. Shovels scraped gray powder into yellow plastic bags. No ash the past few years has meant a different order of sights; like everything else, never quite repeated. I have seen wreaths of fog white as paper floating around the mountain mid-level, the peaks in view. And have seen pale maroon light bathe the mountain climbing up out of the Bay . . .

becalmed volcano colored
with Christmas dawn


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