Tsunami: One year anniversary March 11, 2012

This is greatly condensed down from a section of poetry based on the friendship of a Japanese engineer who was transferred by the company who owned the Fukushima power plant to a company in the US. I am posting this for Gillena’s prompt at: http://withrealtoads.blogspot.com/  “Hi toads, today i want you to stretch your imagination; ponder a natural disaster, past or recent, and tell me, what role you think, the gods might be playing, resulting in that particular natural disaster.” This is a small section of a poem I have been working on for several years – The Walk – parts I – VIII. He and I became friends while I was reviewing his application for licensure in the US as a professional engineer. He explained to me that much of the physical documentation was destroyed and people who acted as references and verifiers of his experience were dead.  He was in Tokyo at the time of the tsunami on business.  I am writing in haibun form.

free public domain photo – Japan Tsunami

Tsunami: One year later March 11, 2012. section of The Walk Part IV
Susanoo-no-Mikoto* was in a rage the day of the tsunami. He swept before him adults and children, pets, wild creatures, graves of the beloved dead, altars, homes – all washed away like so much trash into a gutter. My friend and I walked that anniversary to our place by the peaceful pond. I handed him a stick of incense. He lit the incense and wept beneath the cherry trees, far from home and dead family and friends.

the sea inhaled then
exhaled a giant wall of
water – spring was drowned

copyright kanzensakura

*Japanese god of the sea, storms, and snakes

Peggy: Brave Heart

A friend of mine died last May.
She knew she was dying and every breath
she forced from her battered lungs
only brought her closer to the end.

She was always there for her friends
And always willing to talk
And make your tears go away
By replacing the pain in your heart
With some of her joy.

In the end, I think it was her courage to share
That brought her end more quickly.
But being her, she could do no less.
Five feet tall, 86 pounds of wasted body.

I wonder if I would have the courage
To pour myself out so freely.
I wonder if I would hoard my breath
Or use it to laugh and make others laugh.

I wonder if I would ever have such courage.
I wonder if I would have so much love.

Peggie in Better Days taken by a friend

Peggie in Better Days taken by a friend

Happy 2015: Faith of the Heart

copyright kanzensakura

copyright kanzensakura

Happy new year, my friends who have become family. I wish you all the best of everything that is good to be present in your life and the lives of those you love.

I read your posts. Like me, I know you all have had rough patches, sad times, fear, despair….I have read of your struggles but mostly, I have read of your victories.  How you kept going in spite of everything.  You have lost jobs, homes, those you love.  You have been diagnosed with illnesses, had accidents. injuries.  But mostly, I have read of your faith and hope.

And always, I read your comments to me encouraging me.  I hope I have encouraged you all as well.

So….Happy 2015.  I know many of you will relate to this song which has reminded me many times of that “faith of the heart”.  I pray we are all of moving from the cold dark to the warm light.  You all lift me up and I hope on this first day of the new year, I can do the same for you.

My prayers go out for you all daily.  Bless you all.


When life throws you lemons – throw ’em back!

Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.

Nido Qubein

A couple of months ago, I was “retired” from service – like a horse who can no longer pull its load, like  a service animal too old to assist someone, like an outdated trolley.  Signs told me it was coming, but I raged against the machine.  The inevitable hit me.  My lawyer advised me to let it go.  To take this chance to start a new life.  He spoke from experience of many years and clients.  He said, “it will be a long journey and it will be ugly and at the end, you will have gained nothing but some money. What is your priority?  More money or worth of self?  You choose and I will support your decision.”

I decided to let it go.  Worth of self was more important.  I had talked this over with my husband whose heart broke for me.  He agreed.  So, I walked out with my head held high.  I remembered I am onna bugeisha – (女武芸者?): a female warrior or female samurai.  Besides having the typical “housewife” they also diverged from this traditional roles by stepping outside of the housewife role; they were well trained in weapons and fought equally beside their male counterparts.  They protected the honor and safety of their family and others in time of war or time of danger.   My husband reminded me of this in how I had stepped outside of typical female roles and professions associated with women.  That I practiced bushido and no matter what an employer said, there was nothing outmoded, weak, or useless.  He told me I wielded calculus, physics, and engineering with the same expertise I wield my wakizashi to protect not only my family, but the welfare of the people of my state.  My loved one said, so?  They think you are no longer viable as an over 50 infrastructure engineer?  Then dammit, take your money, go back to school, get another certification.  Start a new life.

So…this old warhorse, trolley, watch dog, warrior is starting over.  May 16, I am going back to school.  I find it fortuitous that I start on that date, the date when if my grandmother Ninny had lived, would have been her 104th birthday.  My Ninny was a soft spoken, gentle Southern lady with a spine of pure titanium. My mother, another warrior who stepped outside of the typical female role who worked while my Papa was the “house husband” until I was a teen.  An aunt, another warrior with three  MS degrees and two PhDs.  The middle aunt, a petroleum engineer.  Good examples of doing their dream rather than what society expected.

May 16th – rebirth day!  May 16th – a new start!

Martin Luther said years ago:  “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree”.  Well, I have planted my apple tree.  May 16th, it will blossom.



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