Tuesday, 15 March 2011

(4) Boreray

*
we must find other kinds of happiness

– Tomohiko Ogawa

Our Konohana Sakuya Hime, fire goddess is the nuclear power station, Fukushima, particles of radiation blown to land on Glasgow.

Our fire burns on the waves

Our story is not common knowledge, but one Ian Stephen tells, of the beacons on Boreray

Our konoshi-ro, prohibited fish, are in the sea


4 Reflection: Mt Fuji
Alec Finlay, 2011

Boreray | Sendai

'fires are still burning'

When I used to give talks about poetics I was fond of reading a love poem of Ian Stephen’s, ‘Providence’, pointing out that the text also functions as a reliable guide if you were looking to steer your way, lining up specific named landmarks with their lights of red and green, to the safety of Stornoway harbour.

Providence, Strathgarry, Fiery Cross.
The Arnish light and the beacon.

Nadokoro, the art of names, stasis and change. A hill or moor keeps the same name long after the wood that covered it has gone. Oftentimes a name recovers or memorializes an ecology now radically altered, The Crag of the Wolf, Goat Island, The Forest of Harris.

Ian sometimes has the oddest turns of phrase in his emails; the same knots of meaning course thru his poems – as if the ways we have of talking to one another were intense intimacies delivered in a stranger’s tongue. Names anchor the poems, tidal emotions rip and swell around them.

Tensions of wind-drift and keel
in the tracings of wakes

But he was schooled in the spare exact speech of the coastguard, where words are lifesavers, and his spoken tales spook phrases together, coming to you as if they’d been on a wet rope flung over through a sheet of wind.

Our story is Ian’s story, of Boreray, Boraraigh that is, 5 nautical miles from Village Bay, Hirta, one of the St Kildas. The beacons burn for Sendai, Fukushima, names now felt in new ways, images of a wave bigger than any wave should be.


4 Stac Lee, Stac an Armin, Boreray, St Kilda

Seton Gordon, 1928


4 audio, Ian Stephen
Alec Finlay, 2010

4 'Is a thing lost…'
Michael Skelly, 2010

And this link, sent by our friend Stephen Gill, is for a short renga composed by the hailstones collaborative group in Kansai on the day after the tsunami, in a state of shock.

(AF)


Basho’s Oku and the Tsunami

The texts below featuring place-names mentioned in Oku-no-hosomichi are taken from the Guardian’s recent reporting of the Japanese earthquake. The relevant chapter (and corresponding blog) numbers are given in brackets.

'In Nihonmatsu (16), which is already housing 2,900 people who fled homes close to the reactor, officials said they were advised to prepare 10 new shelters for the next wave of nuclear evacuees.'

'Other footage showed the letters SOS spelled out on the roof of a hospital in Iwanuma (20), Miyagi prefecture.'

'Photographs from Sendai (22)– one of the worst hit cities – showed families crammed into schools. “The flood came in from behind the store and swept around both sides. Cars were flowing right by," said Wakio Fushima, who owns a convenience store in Sendai, which has around 1 million inhabitants and is 80 miles from the quake's epicentre. In the city of Shiogama (24 & 25), oil was leaking from a refinery into the harbour.'

'[Our family friend] lives in Shiogama (24 & 25) near the coast and had to be airlifted out by the army to hospital. his house is still standing, but his sister and her family are still without electricity, water, gas and petrol.'

'"We evacuated to high ground and a strong modern building so we are safe, but we haven't had water or electricity since the quake," said Yuta Kimura as she waited for her turn to use a well at a shrine in Matsushima (26 & 27).'

'The deputy mayor of Ishinomaki (29), another devastated coastal community, lying within Miyagi prefecture, said that he was coping with the same food shortages as the hundreds of refugees now sheltering in the city hall. "I eat one rice ball a day. Of course, I am hungry, but when I think what the other citizens have been through, it's nothing. I believe food is coming. I will be grateful for that," he said.'

'Ian Woolverton, who led the [Save the Children] mission, [said] “in other places like Ishinomaki (29) we found children in evacuation centres huddled around kerosene lamps."'

(KC)


Gerry’s Sendai

4 audio, Gerry & Morven’s memories of Sendai, Carbeth (26.III.11)
Alec Finlay, 2011

For Eck: Sendai moments and others since time’s not linear.

just sitting
listening to rain sounds
cicadas too

Poems K & I have discussed:

Santoka’s wakeitte mo:

the deeper I go
the deeper I go
green mountains

and Basho’s

stillness
penetrating the rock
cicadas’ sound

Basho’s poem taught K – after three years’ thought – the difference between silence and calmness.

Cicadas constantly moving. They land, shuffle like a dog on a blanket and sing for a while, muted colours until they move on: opening wing cases and spreading wings in flight, red and powder blue sing louder and more vibrant than their songs.

Off to the studio with K, past the side walls of the Gardens to hear the cicadas – louder than the traffic – thousand upon thousand in full voice. K says he likes to think this is how Basho heard them. K listens every morning.

Basho again:

Sendai. Day of plaiting eaves with blue flags. . . . Painter here called Kaemon . . . he gave us sketches of parts of Matsushima and Shiogama. And added two pairs of straw sandals, cords dyed dark-blue . . .

ah to have blue flags
bound to one’s feet
straw sandal cords

Back at home and some years before I had written

three hundred years ago the poet Basho was walking steadily north
from the capital......pausing at Sendai he met the painter Kaemon
when they parted the artist gave the poet a pair of sandals......a useful gift for a walker......laces dyed that exact & unfathomed blue......of an iris
about which Basho makes a poem

reading the poem......I walk from my house under blown cloud to the Botanic Gardens......passing where Muslim sells flowers
in a tub he has iris for sale the precise colour of Basho’s laces
I greet Muslim & for less than the price of a loaf buy ten violet flags
equal parts bruised cloud & sunshaft


and now I found myself in Sendai keeping Basho company.


Basho also wrote the following day: Many old places brought down to us through poetry, but landslides and floods have altered paths and covered markers with earth . . . and hard to locate anything now . . .

The news of earthquake, tsunami, nuclear fall out.

I had written of survivors at the end of my first nuclear walk, after the words of a hibakusha; where two survivors pass each other on a bridge, tragedy eases as they pass, the unbearable borne:

They. were. helping. each. other.. But
they were barely making their .way. I
cried [ ]
these were mounds.. If I tried to .find
my. beloved. ones,. I. would. have.. to
remove the bodies one by one.. There
were.. all.- kinds.. of.. bodies.. in.. the
mounds.. Not only human bodies but
bodies. of. birds,. cats. and. dogs. and
even that of a cow.. I can't find words
to describe it. They were burned, just
like human bodies, and some of them
were. half. burnt.. There. was. even. a
swollen. horse.- Just. everything. was
there, everything.

How, how can I say it?












..................................................................dafa dafa dafa


..................................................................dahfoo dahfoo dahfoo
..................................................................she names each stone
..................................................................on the bridge with her
..................................................................small girl hand
..................................................................himself going
..................................................................opposite direction
..................................................................long nose pretty
..................................................................fierce teeth not
..................................................................kempt smiles
..................................................................inclines head

..................................................................dahfoo smiles back
..................................................................passes by
..................................................................neither going
..................................................................with dahfoo
..................................................................’s mother
..................................................................three more people who
..................................................................do not go

..................................................................between coming &
..................................................................going
..................................................................a fully awake world
..................................................................’s native land
..................................................................mntns & waters here
..................................................................to here
..................................................................sweet in
..................................................................belly
..............



..................................................................Inasa mountain
..................................................................Nishizake mountain
..................................................................Unzen
..................................................................Fugen mountain
..................................................................Heisei Shinzan
..................................................................further in
..................................................................eagles wheeling
..................................................................birds outsing cicadas

(GL)


Landings




Landings
Luke Allan, 2011

coda: email from Tomohiko


Hello Alec,

I don't have images of the earthquake.
But I like to tell you some,

I went to Hiroshima last week to visit an exhibition
by Simon Starling and I also went to Nuclear bomb museum.

All exhibits are very intense I couldn't say anything.

I lost words.

In that museum I saw many photos of town after nuclear bombing.
I thought both are very similar (Hiroshima and North eastern Japan).

Both are fields of total scrap, Hiroshima was blown away and burnt out and pacific coast of Touhoku was washed out.

You can't believe how Hiroshima recover after nuclear bombing if you see that photos. But they did.

Life of human being is very weak in front of huge disaster but human being ourself are very strong on our hope.

And another thing,

Earthquake is by natural disaster but accidents of nuclear power plant is human error.

People from company of electricity says that this earthquake was out of estimation of them and that's why they are not in charge for this accident.

But all people are aware that that is not true. Truth is that they did dare to ignore the possibility of such big strength of earthquake. Reason is very simple. The reason is they wanted to build it.

Government and company kept to tell that we need nuclear power plant to keep this our wealthy life. And they built it at north east for Tokyo not for north east. They kept to tell it is totally safe that's why people of North east don't have to worry. If it was so, why didn't they build it at near Tokyo?

Now I really doubt our government. Japanese have known the fear of nuclear. But we have many nuclear power plants and it might be for our microwave oven.

This is really bad sad joke.

We must think about true wealth. We must graduate from philosophy on economy. We must find other kind of Happiness.

I am very looking forward to see you in may. I feel needs a workshop for season words for Haiku for each place and each environment.

Send best wishes to Mr.Ken and his Japanese friend.


4 hokku-label, for & after Tomohiko
(‘we must find / new kinds / of happiness’, after & for Tomohiko, AF)
photograph Alec Finlay, 2011

coda: tea

The tea for this station was 'Wuyi Red Robe Oolong', enough for one cup sent to Ian Stephen in Stornoway and Tomohiko Ogawa in Beppu.


tea for two
Luke Allan, 2011

intimations

Ian Stephen is a writer and artist from the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. After 15 years in the coastguard, he became a full-time writer of poetry, prose and drama in 1995. Since the late 70s his wide-ranging work has been published in numerous UK journals, as well as internationally, in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Switzerland and the USA

Gerry Loose is poet, playwright, horticulturist, and garden-designer. His most recent book-length poem that person himself was published by Shearsman, 2009. You can also follow Gerry's blogs, Saari seasons & Carbeth: the unfinished hut.

Morven Gregor is an artist and photographer whose work distills those intimate, overlooked spaces around us, reconnecting them to those within us. She is the artistic director of the Birds of Paradise theatre company

You can read Gerry's, Morven's and Peter Manson's contribution for our station 38 - Glen Fruin - here.

A short renga composed by the Hailstone collaborative group in Kansai, the day after the tsunami

Colin Will is a poet and publisher. You can read his blog here

Pat Law's project 7 Sails was created in collaboration with, among others, Ian Stephen

Tomhiko Ogawa is a Japanese visual artist. Much of his work is concerned with landscape and montage

The UK Japan Society has created a disaster relief fund to aid victims of the Tohoku earthquake


No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment