A Poem Written for Setsuko Takechi on September 11, 2011

When I look at you,

I see a map of history –

the Silk Road, Japan,

your genes a love song

to the riddle of human discord.

I see you as a girl hiding amid

persimmon trees as war loomed

in your father’s heart

and in the heart of your country.

I see you running from fire bombs

cascading over Shikoku

in a war that was not of your making,

your friends dying in the river,

the world you knew splintering.

I see you falling in love

with a man formerly your enemy,

wondering what the future held

for you and for your country,

a nation gasping for its breath,

the world watching with anticipation.

I see you in Kansas,

all the years of caring for children,

the struggles, the joys, the fears,

spoken and unspoken,

wondering if anybody heard you.

The long nights worrying

about the impact of war

on the soul of a husband lost to drink,

the questioning years of children

growing to leave and fight their own wars,

the living in a country

you had come to accept

but was never really a part of.

You were too different,

your husband too different,

your children too different

for the conceit of the times.

Let me sit with you and have tea.

We will contemplate

the blue, cloudless sky

and the clear green tea

that soaks into us like medicine.

You are my mother

and I am your daughter,

and we will carry on.

We will be resilient and endure.

Setsuko Takechi Perry as a teenager and as an elder.

2 thoughts on “A Poem Written for Setsuko Takechi on September 11, 2011

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s