Two Poems

During the Second World War, I as a child experienced the air raid by the US airplanes. Since then, I have been huanted by the theme of war and peace. Jesus' "Blessed are the peacemakers" changed ;my life and I have been trying to write from this standpoint.

A Memory

Toward the end of the war,
The navy airbase of our town was often
Bombed by the American airplanes.
But the bombs sometimes missed the target
And fell on the farm, digging large holes.
The water quickly gathered and made a pool,
Good for swimming.
“Don’t swim there. It is dangerous,”
Our parents cautioned us, but
We kids secretly enjoyed swimming.
The water there was always nice and clean,
But one day, when swimming,
An enemy plane suddenly appeared,
Shooting its way and
We fled into tall grasses.
I raised my eyes and quickly saw the face
Of its pilot laughing and shooting us.
And when it was finally gone,
We raised our bodies,
Returned to the pool and there
We found one of our friends
Floating quietly with his face on the water,
And the blood was gushing
Out of his back,
Dyeing the sky on the pool.

Grandpa and Grandson

“Grandpa, did you go to war?”
A grandson who was reading a picture book
On his grandpa’s knees
lifted his face and asked.
Instantly the grandpa’s face hardened
But quickly softened it and
Putting a meek face said gently,
“Yes, I did, my dear.”
“But you didn’t kill your enemy, did you, grandpa?
I bet you didn’t. You are so gentle.”
Grandpa’s face hardened again
But resumed his calmness again, “No, I didn’t.”
“Oh, I’m glad, grandpa,” a boy said with a satisfied face,
Returned again to his reading, but soon
Started to make a soft sound of sleep.
Grandpa put a cover on the boy and gave a deep sigh.

About the Author

Yorifumi Yaguchi

Yorifumi Yaguchi, Professor Emeritus of Hokusei Gakuen University, has published more than a dozen books of poetry and prose, some of which are in English, including The Poetry of Yorifumi Yaguchi, edited by Wilbur J. Birky (Good Books 2006) and The Wing-Beaten Air: My Life and My Writing (Good Books 2008). The former was awarded The Japan Society of Literature and Christianity Prize for Creative Writing. His most recent book of Japanese poetry is This May Not Be a Piece of Poetry, but it is All I Want to Say (2011). From 1962-65 Yorifumi Yaguchi studied at Goshen (Ind.) Biblical Seminary, earning a Bachelor of Divinity degree.