One hour after I arrived home my father came back
I left from the back door of the school
because I had seen him waiting for me at the front gate
with my pink umbrella for a sudden rain

On a summer day coming from my piano lesson
I rushed to my room straight
a glass of ice water offered by him
made a sweating ring on the kitchen table

It was in the memories of an old-time friend
that I came to know my father played the mandolin
he got off the train at the station in Manchuria
to work as an overseas correspondent at the time of war
the confident smile of a young man devoted to music
he played with the wind and rain in Manchuria
his tunes traveled across the Japan Sea
visited his wife with the pattering sound of rain

On his last day on a hospital bed
it was the day of Gion Festival
the celebration of rain after a long time of famine
the ancient cult of the water god
at the air from my small fan under his back
in pain from cancer
I heard him say "kanten-jiu"

"rain of blessings visits and wets the arid ground"
his last word for me
to be a small raindrop
to be a part of the music of the morning rain
to give a tremolo to the air around a marigold
   yellow, red, and brown

The East Village Poetry Web
Toshi Ishihara