Thursday, March 31, 2011

Seiko Taira in Ayukawahama

Forage for firewood
Lug water from the marshes
Claim a flotsam pot
Is it looting? she wonders
Or gaman – her endurance. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

“Our vegetables are no good anymore,” said a 64-year-old farmer before he hanged himself.

Under the wasteland
The invisible made known
A farmer and iodine
Half-lives hanging in balance.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Numbers Game

The sea is poisoned
Plutonium trace
Radiation-taint water
Time clicking, a Geiger beat.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The survivors of Odachi

The three houses stand
A village’s last remains
Men scavenge the ruins
Women cook on open fires
Lay the futons head to toe.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Injured Coast

On white stone islands
Reikyo called paradise
Shore of purest land
Sanriku’s sacred beauty
Where valleys channel the sea.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wins and losses

Japan is old news
Libya and Ottawa
Jerusalem’s woes
And Elizabeth Taylor
Whispering yes more than no.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The wrongful burial

Not enough coffins
Or fuel for the cremations
So sheets and ditches
Bodies back to the dark earth
Instead of ash into air.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Wabi sabi

There is a beauty
Without the need of splendor
Longings and hauntings
Melancholia of soul
Impermanent and fragile.

National Post Headline

Grandmother and teen
Rescued from rubble, day nine.
Number nine brings hope
And counts the missing: twelve thou/
sand, nine hundred, thirty-one.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

March 20th Tanka

I know something of
How the sea keeps for itself
Our love's flesh and heart.
Pleading, dragging the shoreline
We salt the water with tears.

Based on the words of Prime Minister Naoto Kan in his address to the nation on March 18, 2011

We do not have room
To be pessimistic, nor
Discouraged, for we
Will create Japan again
From scratch, out of ash, rising.

Another Tanka for Japan

The photographs lie
Under crushed rubble and fear
Dare us to remind
Life is a moment, a breath
Falling like snow falls like tears

Friday, March 18, 2011

Here is today’s tanka:

Tanka literally means “short poem” and consists of 31 syllables in a pattern of five lines (5 -7 - 5 - 7 – 7).  The Tanka was the dominant form of classic Japanese poetry from the seventh to twentieth century. – according to Elements of Japanese Design by Boye Lafayette De Mente.
Here is today’s tanka:
The men have no names
Only Fukushima fifty
Suited, gloved by threes
Canaries in a cage-match
Gamma heroes, radiate

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I am going to try and write a Japanese tanka poem every day.  My way of honouring the very beautiful people of Japan.

The quiet beauty
Soft serene and rippled blue
We heard the waking, Spring’s dream
Mountain quivering silver
No, the sea biting our land.