Without mentioning the word "tsunami", this poem posted by Norfolk,Viriginia Fil-Am poet Luisa A. Igloria, marks this disaster that struck Japan just hours ago. We are proud to re-post it here even as it begins to symbolize a dreaded memento mori.
AFTER HOKUSAI'S THIRTY SIX VIEWS
Posted on March 11, 2011 by Luisa A. Igloria in Dave Bonta's The Morning Porch literary website(last modified at 7:30 pm, 3/11/11)
Above the tree line, a cloud bank edged in indigo.
Once, a woman unrobed to show the scars she bore as she ran down a road long ago, a child with her mouth open, ash falling from the sky.
Water thunders in every ditch. A freight train wails.
Ships have disappeared into the sea, tugboats, frailer craft. An airport is submerged in water.
So still, as if the world were tensing for another blow.
The ground is mostly bare again. The wind is salted with fine flakes.
And if time is the enemy, what is the name of the wind that blows
fine sand into my eyes?
Poised in the hollow of the wave, the fishermen huddle. You could count their heads, smooth like beads on an abacus or a prayer chain.
And after the blows, the softening.
The gnarled parts often contain water, hardened through the years.
So you say you know the Chinese character for “squander”— but I want to know first what there is to spend.
A hand raised in greeting is a cup, a well, an oasis.
And yes, every poem is about love.
Scientists tell us there are fine tremors in the earth every day that we do not even feel.
Think of so many of these in any given moment, especially the ones that feel completely still.
—Luisa A. Igloria
03 11 2011
A Response to After Hokusai’s Thirty Six Views
Albert B. Casuga says: March 11, 2011 at 8:31 pm
A perfect “tsunami” poem, even the long lines are ideographs of the onrushing waves and unstoppable tide.
Water— which otherwise would be a raised welcome cup or an oasis for the desert — could as wantonly come back from the sea and eat everything up. The wrath of water is from a stillness before the temblor that whips the ocean floors up into this killing frenzy.
As the poem warns: “think of many of these…specially the ones that feel completely still.” Yes, this is a love poem, too. It offers a caveat to man—the love that is squandered in these disasters is that which should have been heaped on an Earth that can only be still so long, before it gets annoyed by the stings of annoying inhabitants who cannot be bothered cleaning up their mess before these become mountains of garbage, billowing wells of toxic fumes, global incineration. Then, the Iceman Cometh.
Think of these at all given moments. The ensuing stillness could become the dreaded whimper.
Hokusai’s tsunami painting prompted Luisa Igloria’s poem powerfully.---ALBERT B. CASUGA
Reposted from Dave Bonta's Via Negativa (http://www.vianegativa.us/) 03-11-11