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Eat Pray Love

On the edge 
of the evacuation zone
Miyuki holds her daughter 
tip-toeing in pink sneakers 
her small hands fragile 
blossoms opening
to the man with the beeping wand 

They were outside in the karesansui 
washing and raking 
rocks, when the school 
heaved, convulsed 
then pressed into silence
voices rising inside

So now they wait with strangers
in ordered lines of sorrow 
for bread and drinking water 
as an adolescent, eyes downcast
sees the small pink laces and
offers up his only ration 
of precious onigiri

Hooded and white masked they walk 
three days and bed-less nights toward 
Ishinomaki by the ocean
to family, friends, and home forever 

The landscape jumbles unfamiliar
with plastic wreckage 
and automobiles 
detritus flooded in a field
where Japonica once grew
while moon-suited men 
and women gather
albums for the living

And after sunset Miyuki moves 
her little girl away 
from a white-taped blue-bagged 
lifeless form 
toward the humming black-robed Monk, his
prayers for light 
and workers burned
exposed to radiation ten 
thousand times too high 

And in the shadows one old man kneels
beside a fetid pool and scoops  
rice to carry back to neighbours 
moved to higher ground, un-opens 
one last bottled spirit
bows his head and offers
Miyuki and her first and only 
everything  he has 

At last they reach the shelter’s glow
beneath the starless robe of night 
not used to wearing 
shoes indoors
Miyuki helps her daughter fold
sheets of painful news into
an origami box to hold
her last and only pair

And in the morning as they face
the stretch of road for home 
to unknown love and losses there 
they turn and gaze toward the east 
awaiting still 
spring’s warming breeze 
to rise with brilliant red once more
new light of wondrous dawn 


'karesansui' is a Japanese rock garden or 'dry landscape'.  Rocks are often washed.
'onigiri' is the emergency rice being distributed to survivors in Japan.
'Japonica' is a type of (short-grained) Japanese rice.

for Debbie Guzzie's contest, 'Tribute to Japan'

by ~Soulfire~ 


Copyright © | Year Posted 2011

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Date: 6/11/2012 5:48:00 AM
This is great... I really enjoyed it. Nice to get such a blessing in such a beautiful monday afternoon.
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Date: 5/28/2011 6:27:00 AM
It is absolutely no wonder yu won top honors with this passionate, empathetic piece of life's literature showing the great honor and humility of a stricken people. My congratulations to you Soulfire .
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Date: 5/21/2011 12:20:00 AM
Many Congrats Soulfire on notvhing top honours in Debbie's contest. Luv & best wishes - Hitendra Mehta
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Date: 5/20/2011 10:03:00 PM
soulfire, how did you know all these details?? It's like you knew exactly what happened to this little girl and her family. Have you lived in Japan? Is this a story of a real girl you heard of?Wow, this is a most deserved first place win. Congratulations.
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Date: 5/20/2011 8:53:00 AM
Congrats on your first place win!
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Date: 5/20/2011 8:47:00 AM
Congrats on your well deserved first position!
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Date: 5/20/2011 3:18:00 AM
congratulations on your 1st place win. A beautiful moving piece of poetry. x
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Date: 5/19/2011 12:30:00 PM
Congratulations on your well deserved win in Debbie Guzzi's contest Soulfire. Love, Carol
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Date: 5/19/2011 11:43:00 AM
Congrats to you in this winning piece.
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Date: 5/19/2011 9:10:00 AM
Beautifully written, Soulfire. Congratulations on your first-place win in Deb's contest! Love, Carolyn
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Date: 5/19/2011 8:01:00 AM
Reading this very touching tribute brought me there, Soulfire-- beautifully written and just deeply moving- and you ended it with so much hope :) Super congratulations on your well-deserved first place win! ^_^
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Date: 5/19/2011 7:29:00 AM
It is a gift to read this incredible poem, no doubt in my mind that you are the winner, and meant to share your stories. Such a educated, and heartfelt piece, this is extraordinary. Just wonderful! glad I had the chance to read this one!
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Date: 5/19/2011 7:24:00 AM
Dear Jen, A testimony to the self-evident truth that you were born to be a writer. This is a breath-takingly beautiful narratie, that totally captures the incredible compassion, soft beauty and strength of the Japaneese people. There is much the world can learn from their example. Many, many congratulations on your FIRSP PLACE WIN!!! Much love, Elaine
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Date: 5/19/2011 5:52:00 AM
Congratulations on the first place win in the contest of debbie.Soulfire
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Date: 5/19/2011 5:19:00 AM
Congrats Soulfire on your first place win in Japan contest.. great write and win ..enjoy luv..
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Date: 5/14/2011 9:01:00 AM
An incredible tribute to the people of Japan. This is absolutely awesome and I hope more soupers read this. A heart gripping story you have penned. God Bless Phyl
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Date: 5/12/2011 8:55:00 PM
I see you worked very hard on this one. It's sure to steal Deb's heart! Awesome writing, Soufire.
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Date: 5/11/2011 9:15:00 PM
Sure to top the winner's circle, Jen. Absolutely heart-wrenching, moving and beautiful all at the same time. An incredible tribute to h an incredible people, by an incredible writer and poet. Love, Elaine
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Date: 5/11/2011 5:47:00 PM
beautiful awe-inspiring write paying tribute to Japan. This is the best tribute I have read, Good luck, Soulfire.
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