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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Amenimo Makezu (Unbeaten by Rain)

Heard this from a poetry reading session at work, earlier this year. A colleague, a Japanese national, read this to us in her native tongue and provided printed copies of the English translation. I kept the handout in my in-out tray. Every once in a while, on challenging days, I would read the poem and find comfort and inspiration. I am starting to pack my stuff to move to a new home at work. I am not bringing the sheet of paper with me. Because, "Such a person I want to be." Light, uncluttered, open and true. On my desk and on everything else.

Amenimo Makezu (Unbeaten by Rain)
by Kenji Miyazawa

Unbeaten by rain
Unbeaten by wind
Unbowed by the snow and the summer heat
Strong in body

Free from greed
Without any anger
Always serene 

With a handful of brown rice a day
Miso and a small amount of vegetables suffice

Whatever happens 
Consider yourself last, always put others first
Understand from your observation and experience
Never lose sight of these things

In the shadows of the pine groves in the fields
Live modestly under a thatched roof

In the East, if there is a sick child
Go there and take care of him
In the West, if there is an exhausted mother
Go there and relieve her of her burden
In the South, if there is a man near death
Go there and comfort him, tell him “Don’t be afraid”
In the North, if there is an argument and a legal dispute
Go there and persuade them it’s not worth it

In a drought, shed tears 
In a cold summer, carry on 
Even with a sense of loss

Being called a fool 
Being neither praised nor a burden

Such a person I want to be

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