Poetry by Seán Griffin
Updated: Aug 2
Hakumei & Mikochi: Tiny Little Life in the Woods
for Takuto Kashiki
Please consider the marigold
whose ripple petals & slight sweet scent
repels pests seeking to feast
on the cucumbers, melons, asters
sharing soil. And if we were merely
nine centimeters tall, would we shrug
off our anthropocentric, and other centrist,
ways like letting out a breath
we didn’t realize we were holding?
If we think smaller, we could be
companions like the marigolds. A blueberry
can be shared, its skin used to dye with acorn
caps, each seed picked and planted. We can
reside in the hollows of trees and not itch
with the urge to fell them. Our labor,
the gliding knife over a wet stone, a towel’s twill
clumped with oil and rust, our tools kept well,
our callouses plucking a harp, our song
making the artifacts dance, won’t be our all. We need
a reminder that we’re small and
reliant like how the growing, swelling
melon, its cupped flowers, wrinkled leaves
are protected by the marigold against
the even smaller aphid.
*Griffin submitted three poems simultaneously: "Poetry Worksheet", "Hakumei & Mikochi", and "Forget Me Not." Here is background information regarding these three poems: These poems address themes of alienation, separation, and belonging. These themes, to me, are necessary as our growing digital connectivity and global awareness creates a longing and loneliness. Such feelings are captured in this work, and my writing in general, as I find I'm not so substantially in one box or another. As my surname might suggest, I'm a creature of dichotomies. This informs my writing as I use high and low language to connect the different cultures within myself such as the blue collar, literary, genderfluid, and queer cultures which are all vying for voice within the work, and I believe through my use of language, I’m accomplishing this. My approach to poetry can be described as Romantic poetic sensibilities in the style of the Confessional poets, while approaching the Nihilistic absurdity of our age.
Note: "Hakumei & Mikochi" is an ekphrastic poem responding to manga series of the same names, and I note the manga creator just under the title.
Seán Griffin (he/her) received an MFA in Creative Writing from Manhattanville College. Seán's writing has appeared in The Southampton Review, Selcouth Station Press, Impossible Archetype, Dust Poetry Magazine, Non.Plus Lit, Sonic Boom, TERSE. Journal, The Daily Drunk, Electric Town Lit, and elsewhere, with poetry in [PANK] Magazine, The Mud Season Review, Mineral Lit Magazine, Ghost City Review, and The Hellebore forthcoming. Seán teaches writing at Concordia College of New York, is an editor for Inkwell Literary Journal, and lives in New York with three dogs.