Friday 11 March 2011

Nippon, Watashi Wa Anatani Utaimassu

Ichiryusai Hiroshige, 1797-1858,
Chidori over breaking waves
(Japan, I Sing to You)

The willow bloomed just yesterday
in green and yellow plumes;
My father heard their Circe song
and listening, listening, walked on.

The sky opened, all bright and light,
the earth caressed his feet;
In Sendai a tsunami burst
beneath so many fathers' feet.

Such wings we need when our planes fall,
Such wings we need when our earth calls
us to attention;

Listening, listening, to fire and storm,
trying to sing our wingless songs
and make a good impression.

- Shaista, 2011
Hiroshige, from the Tokaido series
"Tsunami", Japanese, meaning "harbor" (tsu, 津) "wave" (nami, 波).
China, Chile, Haiti, New Zealand, Japan...  We are always connected, one way or another.


Bonnie said...

Beautiful tribute to Japan.

Sherry Blue Sky said... very beautiful. "such wings we need....."

Lydia said...

Oh, this is perfect.

Aayushi Mehta said...

Such beautiful writing. the last stanza was amazing.
Loved the two paintings you've put up too.

Steven Cain said...


erin said...

truly this is gorgeous and soft, when the forces have been quite the opposite. and i think the image you've paired it with is wonderful as well, unexpected tenderness and tranquil blue.


Poets United said...

Very beautiful writing - beauty in the face of devastation. So god to have you at Poets United. We look forward to reading your work.
p.s. the verification word is "wingsa". Honestly. It's a sign. We do need wings!

Poets United said...

oops, that was GOOD to have you!

Jeanne-ming Brantingham said...

perfect medicine

* said...

This is striking, the beauty, the heart in this. For every picture that I see of ravaged Japan, my heart breaks again.

Sarah Laurence said...

This is the best tribute I've seen on Japan because it shows how much this kind of horrible tragedy is part of their culture. I admire the poet and artists for finding beauty even in natural disaster, and you for sharing it.

Madeleine Begun Kane said...

That was just beautiful!

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