Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A beautiful poem

Recently I read a Japanese book, "Five Stories That Echo In The Heart" by Hideaki Fujio. They were moving stories and easy to read, so I asked one of my daughters to translate it into English. And she did. I would like to introduce one of the stories. A 15-year old boy, Yasufumi Yamada, with severe cerebral palsy wrote the following poem. It is the only poem he worked his whole life on to leave behind.

"I'm sorry Mom.

I'm sorry Mom.

I'm sorry that I was born.

I say to the thin scruff on the back of your neck

When you carry me.

If I hadn't been born,

You wouldn't have had the gray hairs on your head,

The sadness on your face and carrying a grown-up me on your back,

And the tears you cried at the cold looks on people

When they look at me and say "That is trap child."

Wouldn't have happened if I was never born.

Thank you Mom.

Thank you Mom.

As long as you are there

I will keep living

With my cerebral palsy, I will keep living.

Kindness is significant

And sadness is beautiful.

You taught me how to live my life

Mom, as long as you are there..."

According to Mr. Fujio, Ms. Kono, a teacher from the school for disabled children, was with Yasufumi and listened to his thoughts and wrote it for him. Yasufumi couldn't speak, so it took long time to write it. She hugged him and listened to his words wholeheartedly. Mr. Fujino wrote, "If a word that Ms. Kono said was the word that Yasufumi wanted to say, he would wink at her as a 'yes' and stuck his tongue out as a 'no.' Through all the steps and hard work, this poem was born. And two months later, the boy passed away." (p. 54)

Reading Yasufumi's poem and the explanation by the author of this book, I couldn't stop tearing. The poem was sorrowful but full of gratitude toward his mother. This poem was not only the greatest joyous memory of his mother but also an encouraging poem for everyone to be grateful to one's parents. The ending part was very difficult for my daughter and even for m to translate because Mr. Fujino quoted and explained the sentences from Infinite Life Sutra of Buddhism. I cannot introduce author's thoughts, but if you are learning Japanese in high school, it would be good reading material for you.

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