Thursday, June 26, 2014

Remember the wheat stalk


Let a stalk of wheat
be your witness
to every difficult day.

Since it was a flame
before it was a plant,
since it was courage
before it was grain,
since it was determination
before it was growth,
and, above all, since it was prayer
before it was fruition,
it has nothing to point to
but the sky.

Remember the incredibly gentle wheat stalk
which holds its countless arrows fixed
to shoot from the bowstring --
you, standing in the same position
where the wind holds it.

Ishihara Yoshiro, Translated by N. Koriyama and E. Lueders, 'Like Underground Water'

Ishihara Yoshiro (1915-1977) A student of German and a Christian convert, he began to write poetry seriously after his experience as a prisoner of war: captured by the Soviet Army in Manchuria, he spent eight years in Siberia, released only by the general amnesty given at Stalin's death. He began to write at that time, he said, because he wanted to examine what it means to be a human being.

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