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Friday, March 11, 2016

Poetry Friday--A Sad Anniversary

Woodcut print by Hokusai, courtesy Library of Congress.

Today marks the 5th anniversary of the disastrous earthquake and tsunami that took place in Japan. I'm sure we all remember viewing horrific video clips of the incoming waters (there's one on this post from March 14, 2011.)

It's not a anniversary to be celebrated, as more than 24,000 were counted as dead or missing, but, it must be remembered. What better way to share thoughts and memories than through art?

Artists from all over the world responded to the event in the days and years that have followed. The result was music such as "JAPAN: March 11th, 2011 Symphonic Poem," composed and conducted by Claudio Almeida,

Photographs such as those displayed at the MFA last year. Click here.

Poetry like that written by Gretel Ehrlich, who was interviewed in 2013 by PBS News Hour. Click here for the transcript and video.

Poetry lends itself to various interpretations, and this haiku by the Japanese master, Bashō (1644-1694), could very well have been written in the spring of 2011.
Spring going--
birds weeping, tears
in the eyes of fish.

Found in The Essential Haiku: Version of Bashō, Buson, and Issa, edited and with verse translations by Robert Hass [895.6 ESS]

The tears are still being shed. Our thoughts are with the people of Japan today.

Irene at Live Your Poem will be hosting the Poetry Friday Round-Up for today.


  1. So glad you have paused to help us mark this occasion, Diane. Still hard to comprehend. Perfect selection by Basho.

  2. Tears in the eyes of fish, indeed. So sad and terrible and tragic. My heart breaks, still. Thank you for this memorial. xo

  3. Five years already? Thanks for the memorial. The Basho is wonderful.

  4. Thank you for Basho's haiku. I'm grateful you keep the memory alive. As long as we keep saying their names, they live and are alive.

  5. Poetry--helping us heal across centuries. Thank you, Diane.

  6. I have been reflecting on the anniversary today. Basho's haiku is perfect for the occasion.

  7. Diane, I was at the ocean yesterday for the first time this winter. It was a beautiful day but my mind kept thinking of Superstorm Sandy and how it must have looked like a mini tsunami as it roared into the shoreline. The people in the homes overlooking the ocean who stayed must have been in shock. Then, I came to your post recounting a real horror in Japan. The music echoed the surge of the sea. "Sun shines on the lonely," (Gretel) brings a sense of loss. Then, I read Basho's haiku resounding the sadness. Thank you for this experience.

  8. Perfect poem for today, Diane. Thank you for sharing this.

  9. It's important to remember through all that makes us most human -- music and poetry.