Two Poems in Honor of Japan

It is hard to believe it is already a year since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  I composed and posted these last year right after this national disaster, and a year later I post these in memory of the Japanese people who died and for a nation who are still recovering. 

Banji wa yume.

Lady Nyo


Two Poems in Honor of Japan, 2011


Is there a moon viewing party

In Japan tonight?

Destruction, sorrow

Covers the land,

Despair, loss

Regulates the heart.

Perhaps the moon presence

Is of little interest

And less comfort.

Perhaps sorrow goes too deep

To raise eyes above the graves.


Her gleam falls upon all

A compassionate blanketing

Of the Earth,

Softening the soiled,

Ravaged landscape,

A beacon of promise

Of the return to life,

And beauty to nature.




Two weeks and the cherry blossoms

Would have opened in Sendai.

Beautiful clouds of scented prayers

Falling upon upturned faces,

The eternal promise of hope for the earth,

Swept out to sea

With a good part of humanity.


I will sit beneath the moon tonight

Listening to frogs sing,

An owl in the woods

The birds settling in the dark—


My cherry tree is blooming

A small cloud of satin blossom.

I will count falling petals,

And offer these up as prayers.

Banji wa yume.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2011, 2012


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20 Responses to “Two Poems in Honor of Japan”

  1. harvee Says:

    Very beautiful! The cherry blossoms are lovely.


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Harvee. This tragedy is still so much in my mind and of course in so many others around the world, not just in Japan. The devestation is enormous, and I feel such sorrow.

    The trees are in my back yard, and frankly, I am not exactly sure what this large one is…but it’s too early for cherry blossoms. The other one is a young peach. But the big one lasts for weeks and weeks. that is one reason I know it’s not a cherry~!

    Thank you so much for reading these two poems and your kind comment.

    Lady Nyo


  3. Yousei Hime Says:

    I like them both, but I really love the second one.


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Hello Yousei Hime!

    I love the second one, too! My favorite of actually three of these poems…the first one I didn’t post.

    Thank you so much…for reading and your comment.

    A sad anniversary, but the Japanese are a strong and wonderful people and with blessings and hard work… they will come through this together.

    Lady Nyo


  5. Steve E Says:

    Poem # 2 (of the trilogy) in which I love these lines:
    “Her gleam falls upon all
    A compassionate blanketing
    Of the Earth,
    Softening the soiled,
    Ravaged landscape…”

    Poem #3:
    WOW! Jane, you gave/give wonderful tribute to a most sad memory of chaotic human tragedy, a natural disaster. What an example this is of how a People’s endeavors can turn around. In this circumstance, it just takes more time.
    GOOD poems,posting. I really like, so spiritual and heartfelt.
    Thanks, Ma’am.


  6. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Steve!~

    Thank you for reading these two poems and your lovely insight.

    I think this disaster, as with all disasters of nature where people, whole nations are impacted in such enormous ways, the toll of human life and the disruption of human life…well, how can we but be impacted emotionally ourselves? Especially as poets, we are gifted, or propelled to express our chagrin in dramatic or heartfelt ways because we feel so impotent? Wanting to succor but at such a distance….but certainly not at an emotional distance.

    I think this is so natural for poets: we can’t ‘be there’, but we can’t turn away from these things that are so unfortunate, so enormous in their toll, and our words surprise ourselves, neh?

    but they are never enough. Perhaps they help ‘tune in’ the chagrin of others, and perhaps that is all we can, in the end, do as poets, as writers. This disaster will take a lifetime to mend. It is on going, and perhaps all we can do from here, besides the money we send to the different relief organizations, is to soften our hearts to humankind, and not turn away. Other than that, I am at a loss.

    Our poems can concentrate our outrage, our sorrow, and perhaps they can sharpen our awareness of what is important around us. That is about all I can figure out what we, as poets, can do.

    Thank you, dear friend, for reading these small poems. I am still in shock as to the enormity of what has happened just a year ago. It is just so extensive, it is hard to get our minds around.

    Peace, dear friend.



  7. brian miller Says:

    both of these are beautiful…the second one speaks deepest to me…perhaps the natural elements which i find soothing that become prayers as we continue on in the wake…a year later…may new life find them…find us all


  8. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Brian,
    Your sentiments here are appropriate and beautiful. thank you. Yes, may new life find them….find us all.

    Thank you, Brian, I couldn’t have expressed it better.



  9. brian miller Says:

    sure you could. smiles.

    happy openlinknight jane.


  10. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! Brian…your own words spoke deeply and eloquently here.



  11. marousia Says:

    Beautiful – I have been thinking about the restless spirits walking a year on too – your final stanza in the second poem says so very much

    My cherry tree is blooming

    A small cloud of satin blossom.

    I will count falling petals,

    And offer these up as prayers.

    Banji wa yume.


  12. Kellie Elmore Says:

    any poem mentioning cherry blossoms steals my heart! love this!


  13. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Kellie…mine, too.

    Lady Nyo


  14. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Marousia, a sad time still, but a time of hope, too.

    Banji wa yume…translates to: “Life is a dream” which seemed appropriate for some reason.

    Thank you for reading and your comment.

    Lady Nyo


  15. Steve King Says:

    This is composed with such delicacy and precision. The pictures jump out at the reader. Wish it could have gone on. Very nice work.


  16. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Steve!
    If you caught any of the previous “The Nightingale’s Song” (series of poems) you will know that I have a tendency to go on TOOOOOO Long! Sometimes it’s an endurance race where readers have to lie down to read. LOL!

    But thank you. The devestation of Japan, especially around the western coast just is indescribable. I only hope that these patient and courage people will find peace this spring, and the Cherry Blossom season (which has already started in the southern part of Japan, it spreads northward) will be a tribute to those who were lost and those remaining to suffer and rebuild.

    Lady Nyo


  17. Rosemary Nissen-Wade aka SnakyPoet Says:

    Very lovely, in their understatement.


  18. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Rosemary, for reading and your kind comment.

    Lady Nyo


  19. Chazinator Says:

    It is tragic what continues to happen in Japan by way of mother nature. Your poem is very special in honoring their suffering and bringing us closer as well in your vigil. Your words capture the reality in very vivid depth, and so when we reach the prayer section, the reverence required for that is made more effective and communicated that way.


  20. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Charles…one never really knows the effect of a poem on readers, but your sum up is a deep one and I do appreciate your words here.

    Lady Nyo


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