japonisme: 3/20/11 - 3/27/11

25 March 2011



In the cards and at the bend in the road
we never saw you

in the womb and in the crossfire
in the numbers
whatever you had your hand in

which was everything
we were told never to put
our faith in you
to bow to you humbly after all
because in the end there was nothing

else we could do
but not to believe in you

still we might coax you with pebbles
kept warm in the hand

or coins or the relics
of vanished animals
observances rituals
not binding upon you
who make no promises

we might do such things only
not to neglect you
and risk your disfavor
oh you who are never the same
who are secret as the day when it comes

you whom we explain
as often as we can
without understanding

W. S. Merwin

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21 March 2011

for my green friend


kôzui wa kozo no kyô nari sayo-ginuta

the flood was exactly
a year ago...
pounding cloth at night



yûzuki ya nagare nokori no kirigirisu

evening moon--
surviving the flood
a katydid


floods are not new to the japanese,
but the possibilities for destruction
we're seeing today have been unimaginable.

my friend midori, i learn,
is but 60 kilometers, 37 miles,
from fukushima.

she says, "First, I thought that my house suffered big damage.
However, the people of the seaside
that suffered damage for the tsunami
were more tragedy."

(below is a tiny bit of what you see.
at the link she sent me with that comment.
color codes reflect tsunami incursion
as fully explained in the article.)

"Seven relatives took refuge in my house
from the neighborhood of the shore
and stayed for a few days.
Then, the water service did not function.
We lined up and got water every day.
The aftershock still continues each place of japan.
It's strange, but the epicenter does not seem to be one place.

"And fear of the radioactivity continues."

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