Saturday, 24 April 2010
here and there
Our son fell in love with Japan after visiting there as a fifteen-year old on a school trip. When he returned home he said, "I 'm going back." And he did, about 6 years later. "Don't worry Mum", he said at the airport, "It's only for a year." That was 6 or 7 years ago. Three years ago he fell in love with a young Japanese woman who has since become his wife. They now have a daughter and a son. We visited them in October last year and also fell in love with Japan. It was all meant to be - Japan has now become part of our family.
I remember when our son was a toddler and how with his blond curls he was often a popular subject for Japanese tourist's cameras. How they loved to photograph him! Maybe there is something in that of 'coming events casting their shadow' ...
homesick for Japan
As we approach by air
the still islands that make up
Japan, our own small stories
beat an urgent song
from the yearning to see family.
Surrounded by a language
we cannot translate,
we drink airport-lounge coffee
and something that we never expected
we'd have to make room for
already begins to re-configure
the strange into the familiar,
grafting it to our blood
with a careful husbandry, aided
by the burying of the placentas
of our two grandchildren
in ancient, family-land in Okayama,
and olive tree saplings,
so that our DNA becomes a part
of a foreign country's soil.
So much so that after staying there
long enough to befriend and absorb,
we leave behind
what has now also become
partly home, and knowing
that we've only just begun
what it means to marry
to ourselves such mystery.
Kay McKenzie Cooke
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