Taro Aizu’s Fukushima Gogyoshi

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In honor of the continuing victims of the Japanese national tragedy in Fukushima (3/11/11), and on the occasion of National Poetry Month, here is a moving and sobering poem about those whose lives continue to erode daily from the effects of radioactive pollution.

Videos from Gogyoshi Art Project: My Hometown Fukushima
Read more about the Gogyoshi, a poetic form invented by Taro Aizu.

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outdoor backstroke

From Under the Pages

Clouds
seasonless california february:
almost warm, but
a grizzled hint of chill ingratiates
the lukewarm clear water.
still, you quiver once on immersion.

backstroking
gliding like a fish,
effortless arcs,
one sinewy arm
rotating
after the other,
feet ripple like happy mermaid fins

gray-washed, above
airplane height
a dance of crows and sparrows
black against bright billows
swoop and hover

the air and water welcome you
as family
as you breathe
and you are free

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Tree

Windswept Tree 

I think that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.

Joyce Kilmer. 1886–1918