japonisme: after-flood

27 March 2011



This had happened before: rain that began
as mist — thick and windless, slow to fall.
In the bottomland, bloated spiders
caught fog and bound it; the webs sagged,
white and wet.

The second day, the creek
argued with the rain, grew bolder before
losing itself, overcoming the banks
that had defined it. Its current cut,
the water grew still, intent on rising.
This changed everything.

The third day, skeletal
corn-balk was lost. The trees waded in, waist-deep.
Boundaries drowned — the wire dead. I had
moved the cows to higher ground, and, puzzled,
they looked down on that placid other
that was not lake or pond.

The rain abated
midday, and I knew the next morning
I would see the field reappear as if rising.
I would see the fenceline discovered,
and, more, some ancestral bone, white now
as a root, would appear in the storm-gore
that would gag the creek, sagging in its bed.
I would find crows, those disbelievers, drowned
in their sleep, feathers strewn in the cattails,
their mouths filled with mud.

But long before
dawn, I would be there as before, at the edge
of what could not be sailed or sounded, watching
moonlight move over the body of that
black depthlessness — and I would be lost
as if I were in some distant place.

Claudia Emerson
from Pinion: An Elegy
Louisiana State University Press

i wrote about my friend midori -- which means green --
and the experiences of her and her family,
just 37 miles from the fukushima nuclear power plant.
i am providing her email address here so that
any donations you might want to make
can be sent by paypal. though her own house
was severely damaged, she wishes to use any donations
to help her family, but to also help those she knows
who are in even greater need than they are.

somehow to me, giving to midori, or giving to
the japanese red cross: both vitally important, one,
somehow, more personal.


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Anonymous evan said...

I lived in Hawaii as a kid...there were a few tsunami warnings...& one actual wave...I think it came to within a few blocks of the house. Drives to higher ground were an adventure. But Japan...10,000+ dead, 17,000+ missing...it's beyond fathoming. How does a country rebound from something like that? Still, considering the destruction of WW 2, & the fact that a few decades later Japan is a leading economical power...if any country can re-emerge from a disaster of this scale (even as it unfolds- the nuclear threat is still real, last I heard), Japan can.

28 March, 2011 10:53  
Blogger lotusgreen said...

i pray that you're right, evan, but can't help but recall that the bomber, in their discretion, avoided kyoto, a choice that none of these disasters have the ability to make. when it's all tolled, i worry for the losses.

28 March, 2011 11:38  

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hi, and thanks so much for stopping by. i spend all too much time thinking my own thoughts about this stuff, so please tell me yours. i thrive on the exchange!

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