“Two Poems In Honor Of Japan”

Haiku Sea Wave image

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

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,
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.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2011-2013

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10 Responses to ““Two Poems In Honor Of Japan””

  1. Yousei Hime Says:

    I heard a report this morning that many of the Fukushima refugees were suffering from PTSD on the same scale as those affected by 9/11. The whole thing is still beyond my comprehension–the losses, the destruction, the displacement, the fear. Thank you for sharing your poems again. I missed them the first time.


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Oh! I am so happy that you read these poems. I knew you of all people would know of the suffering.

    That is terrible that the Fukushima refugees were suffering from PTSD on the same scale s 9/11. Truly, the human psyche can’t thrive with these horrific events.

    Yes, and the destruction, the displacement…yes.

    And thank you for reading and your comment. Japan and the Japanese today (and further….) deserve our complete attention, comfort and compassion. They are a people truly suffering from so much natural and man-made issues.

    Lady Nyo


  3. ManicDdaily Says:

    Lovely poems, Jane. I especially liked the second one – the image of the cherry blossoms – and somehow they transmute to ash or possible poison – and yet stay safe and beautiful as cherry blossoms too. Well donw. k.


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Thank you, Karin. Cherry blossoms are so embedded with Japanese aesthetics, history and culture, it’s hard not to stumble over them.

    I was actually able to sit under that lone, dying cherry tree and under a full moon, too, when that poem presented itself. The horror of this disaster was deeply felt amongst many of us who love the history and culture, and also, the Japanese people.

    The term: “Banji wa yume” fits this event….or perhaps it is the only way to get through this event…

    Thank you for reading and your comment.



  5. ManicDdaily Says:

    Thanks, Jane. I did a lot of pictures around the Fukishima tragedy and later a poem you might like. It is a draft poem.

    I don’t quite know how people soldiered on through it all – the Japanese people are pretty stalward. (I grew up in Washington, d.C. by the way – so cherry blossoms a big part of my childhood landscape–)



  6. ladynyo Says:

    K…I wrote you something on your blog about your draft poem. it explains something of what I think you tapped into very effectively.

    As for the Japanese? A people who live sandwiched between mountains and the sea and have almost daily earthquakes somewhere are a very solid people. But this tragedy was just too much to bear. 300,000 still homeless or kept from their homes. Japan isn’t a big country so this amount of disruption in the daily lives of the Japanese will take decades to recover. May all the Shinto Gods and Goddesses give comfort and solace to the people of Japan.

    Lady Nyo


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