To make a poem of Japan is blasphemy,
unclothing the eyes of the dead.
It is rushing in,
a media horde overwhelming the land,
an impious parade to echo the news,
the shrill hysteria that shows us the ghosts of the living
in the hope that our emotions will swell.
Stay tuned, stay tuned, is their only litany.
Tour guides at a new Pompeii…
I don’t want stay tuned to be my catchphrase.
But – to say nothing,
and leave the wrack of the land,
the empty faces,
and the matchstick fragments of familiar places,
as if it were too horrific to voice
is an equal wrong.
So, on watching the surging water,
the roar of the sea like no reality or myth,
undoing the lives of thousands,
this must be said.
Your loss makes me weep for you.
If I could be in your land,
I would wipe the mud from your scattered possessions,
and drive in nail after nail to rebuild your homes
and hold your children while you work.
I think of those I know, and hope for them.
You will recover,
and perhaps you will make poems of your own.