Relief in verse
Poems about the tsunami that hit Japan last year were among the winners at the country’s annual Imperial Palace poetry contest. One winner, a 72-year-old tailor, wrote of his relief upon learning that his son was safe after three days of uncertainty. Another winning poem sang of the author’s pride in alternative energy, depicting the dazzling landscape of solar panels in the morning light.
The imperial family also offered their poems for the event. One of Emperor Akihito’s verses expressed his sorrow and horror in watching the dark waves of the rolling tsunami on TV news footage. Next year’s theme is “stand up”, which could inspire poems of hope in a recovering Japan. The tsunami had left nearly 20,000 people dead or missing and had set off the world’s worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986.