It’s Monday, but I needed to get out of the house. Right now all the parts of our old kitchen are sitting out on the sidewalk. Meanwhile, three guys are busy in the kitchen replacing the insulation and messing with the pipes and wiring. Tonight there will be no kitchen, so we will eat leftovers out of the fridge, which thankfully didn’t need to be moved out of the kitchen.
|Out of focus, but here's what things looked like this morning.|
|When we came home from class, this was in progress. We learned that Japanese houses are built quite differently than American ones. (Keeping the awesome 1970's lamp.)|
It hasn’t rained yet, but it needs to. Not that we are hurting for water, but the air is hazy and kind of stinks like it did a few years ago when there were forest fires on a neighboring island. Rain would be nice, to wash away the haze and maybe cool things off a bit.
A few weeks ago in class, I wrote a poem about waiting for rain. As I wrote, I recalled last summer in Seattle, when haze and stink from the seemingly endless fires in eastern Washington drifted west into the city. We waited and waited, but the rain didn’t come. And yet, at the same time, we knew that in Seattle, there would be no autumn without rain.
My poem, however, didn’t work very well in its original form. The idea of waiting for rain in the summer seemed obvious to one such as myself, having experienced many US west coast summer droughts. In Japan, summer means rain, but that rain doesn’t always bring relief from the heat. “It’s already hot, and you want it to get humid too?” a Japanese reader might think.
Thankfully, my teacher suggested a very descriptive word (炎天下 entenka) which fit both the necessary syllable count and the feeling I was trying to get. It literally means “under the burning sun.” Here are the first and second drafts, for those of you who can read Japanese. Let me know what you think. I’ve had some suggestions from another poetry-writing friend, so I will probably make some more changes later.
浮雲が (Ukigumo ga)
空飾るのに (Sora kazaru no ni)
心、かさかさ (Kokoro, kasakasa)
雨、いつ降るの？(Ame, itsu furu no?)
(A floating cloud decorates the sky, but it’s a fleeting hope. My heart is dry. I wonder when it will rain?)
心かさかさ (Kokoro kasakasa)
浮き雲ひとつ (Ukikumo hitotsu)
雨、いつ降るの？(Ame, itsu furu no?)
(Under the blazing sun, my heart is dry--fleeting hope. There’s a single floating cloud; I wonder when it will rain?)
I think perhaps the second version expresses more hope than the first. I probably felt better after talking through the poem with my teacher, so perhaps that’s why it ended up that way.
I’ve written lots of poems about perseverance and waiting. It would be nice if it rained today, but more than rain, we’ve been waiting for the new kitchen to go in so we can unpack… so we can cook… so we can start inviting people over to eat with us. We’re waiting for a lot of other stuff too. I’m learning (not always gracefully) to be content with where I am while at the same time not giving up on eventually getting to where I want to be.