A Poet's Story
A Poet's Story by Kerri Lyn Kumasaka
For the poet within every one of us
Written in a style similar to the traditional Japanese literary form of haibun, A Poet’s Story combines poetry and prose. The book is a poetic memoir which contains poems and stories around the poems. It is the author’s attempt to share her love of poetry with others and to encourage and inspire them to express their own poetry.
As the author writes in the “Dear Reader” part of A Poet’s Story: I believe that everyone is a poet and that everyone has poetry stirring around inside of them. It is to this poet within you that I tell my story. I hope this book will encourage and inspire you to acknowledge, affirm and develop your own poet self.
This is a plea for you to write and live your poems whether it is by capturing them on paper, growing them in your garden, painting them on canvas or in the way you love and care for your children. Please, World, write your poems.
Excerpts from A Poet’s Story
The book is divided into four
When the Muse Calls
Muse calls, you’d
will take you by
take you through
shake your fist at
This poem was published in a program for the Montana Artist's Refuge in Basin, Montana. Every year, the Refuge has a jazz brunch as a fundraiser and one year my friend, Nan, asked if they could put one of my poems in the program since the theme of the brunch was "The Word."
I was out of town when they had the brunch. And when I returned, another friend, Carolyn, came up to me and said she had seen my poem in the program and that it totally changed her life. She said she had pinned it up on her bathroom wall and was reading it every day. She had quit her job at the gold mine where she worked as an assayer and decided she would do massage (her passion) full time.
"Oh, no," I thought to myself, "she was making good money at that mine and what happens if this massage thing doesn't work out?" I started to feel responsible for her decision. I told her how I was feeling, and we joked about how I might have to put a disclaimer with the poem saying I was not responsible for people choosing to leave their jobs to follow their creativity. When I see Carolyn, I often ask her, a bit anxiously, how her massage practice is going.
On Pain and Growth
My maternal grandmother, Amy Matsuoka, died over 15 years ago. I loved her and was very close to her. A few years ago, I still had a lot of pain in my heart about her death. One day, I was coming out of the sweat lodge and George who was leading the sweat said, “You see that moon? That is your grandmother.”
After the Sweat
sweat one night
gift this was for me.
I had a
dream once that I
Love and Love and Love
Once when I was around five years old, I heard Grandma Kumasaka say to my dad that she didn’t want to babysit us kids. I was hurt and angry, and I hated her for a long time. After I went to Japan, I was better able to communicate with her and made peace with her on some level. By the time she died, I felt a lot of love for her and enjoyed listening to her stories. Toward the end of her life, her memory was not so good and she would repeat herself. The way she talked was a poem. My cousin, Janet, had shared with me about a Malaysian form of poetry called pantoums where certain lines in one stanza are repeated in the following stanza in a prestcribed order. For me, the way Grandma talked was like a pantoum.
Looking at the Iris
there looking at the iris.
that called? I ask her in Japanese.
Taikutsu, boring. I do the same things every day.
read, I don't garden anymore.
I used to
grow flowers: bara, kiku, ayame.
*roses, chrysanthemum, iris
While Mending A Sock
So much of what we say
We sit and walk in stillness,
If I could, I would live
©Kerri Lyn Kumasaka