Small Black Notebook Found: Poetry Inside
I don't know who found Kenji Miyazawa's (1896 - 1933) notebook and if they knew that it was untold treasure, but I'm so glad they carefully went through it. For inside this small black pocket notebook is one of most cherished poems by Miyazawa. Here it is beautifully translated by Professor Noah S. Brennan such that the defiance against nature goes beyond mere endurance of the suffering that nature sometimes brings, but to accept it with grace and always with hope.
What’s a little rain
A little wind, a little snow,
A little heat in summer,
If you’re strong?
All I ask is to grow to be
Who doesn’t demand too much,
Never loses his temper,
Always wears a quiet smile,
Eats his three bowls of rice a day,
A little soup, a little vegetable,
And forgets about himself.
Let me look, let me listen,
And never forget what I see and hear.
From my hut in the grove by the field, When I hear from the East,
There’s a child that’s sick,
Let me go and nurse him to health.
When I hear from the West
There’s a weary farm woman,
Let me go and carry her plantings.
When I hear from the South
There’s a man near death,
Let me go and quieten his fears. And If there’s quarreling and feuding in the North, Let me help them to stop their bickering.
In time of drought
Let my tears wet the earth,
And share the anxiety of all
When the summer’s unseasonably cold. They may have no use for me,
Or no word of praise for me,
But at least I won’t get in the way.
Below is a music video where Chinese, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japanese artistes came together to perform a song based on this poem to remember those who died during the 15 March 2011 tsunami.