The Peace | Sojourners

The Peace


It was the monk
Most Venerable
shiny head, fat amber
beads like softened sunlight
hung from his neck, opulence
of habit, spirit,
who bowed at the airport gate
hands pressed
toward me
that began again
my eyes to see
honor strong of shook Japan.


"We were
appalled in this rich country
of sunrise so obvious--
we have hills that block and cities' smog
which heavily dis-
colors and dulls--and this land
that rides for miles across
so luscious and waiting to be roamed
appalled to see where we
stayed in new york city near times
square the
poor ones
littering doorways and crowding benches
to sleep
swept by newsrags very
near the tall buildings and
neon lights gloating we
were appalled from our hotel window
in this very rich country
of the waving wheat and large sky.


Fumi ate her egg
amid translating amid the shrinking
stack of toast, too
polite to eat as someone else
spoke the words only she could pass. First
Sati would talk, Fumi
translate, I would speak,
Fumi translate,
eggs turning to rubber I said
please eat you work the hardest
of any. She cut around her egg
yoke, prodded it
by fork onto the knife
cut by cut ate with her
knife turned chopstick,
finally raising the yoke
onto the knife and with another light motion
into her mouth,
again ready to serve her company.


The third of their party
whom I cannot honor by remembrance
of his name--
as the sun rose
from the car window
so taken, so impressed, not

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