hiromi suzuki | not losing to the rain

hiromi suzuki is someone i've long admired.

her work has an ineffable grace, a charm and
beauty that eases quietly into your soul and
remains. it's happy, too; happy when it is
sometimes hard to be happy. i think there
must be a joy in her soul that works into
each piece of art she creates. if you stop
by here, you can see for yourself. first,
maybe, read Ame ni mo makezu, a poem
written by Kenji Miyazawa. i found it on
her site. (look, also, at books she's shared.)

ami ni mo makezu
not losing to the rain
not losing to the wind
not losing to the snow nor to summer's heat
with a strong body
unfettered by desire
never losing temper
cultivating a quiet joy
every day four bowls of brown rice
miso and some vegetables to eat
in everything
count yourself last and put others before you
watching and listening, and understanding
and never forgetting
in the shade of the woods of the pines of the fields
being in a little thatched hut
if there is a sick child to the east
going and nursing over them
if there is a tired mother to the west
going and shouldering her sheaf of rice
if there is someone near death to the south
going and saying there's no need to be afraid
if there is a quarrel or a suit to the north
telling them to leave off with such waste
when there's drought, shedding tears of sympathy
when the summer's cold, wandering upset
called a blockhead by everyone
without being praised
without being blamed
such a person
I want to become
--kenji miyazawa

photographs: hiromi suzuki

(of note: another translation of the poem ends
a bit differently. i suppose the real meaning
is, perhaps, somewhere in between the two.

"In times of drought, shed tears of sympathy.
In summers cold, walk in concern and empathy.
Stand aloof of the unknowing masses:
Better dismissed as useless than flattered as a Great Man.
This is my goal, the person I strive to become."

i love all of this, especially "cultivating a quiet joy...
count yourself last and put others before you
watching and listening, and understanding")


at the market. at the toy store. (spring will turn to summer.)

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)


a purpose which made him look towards the distant skies with hope

Having slept in a boat at Suma and Akashi, and having watched the sunrise over the island of Awaji, our master carried his staff to join Noin at Kisagata, Kenko in the mountains of Kiso, Saigyo at Futami, Jyakuren at Mount Kova, Sogi and Socho in the province of Echigo and Kensai at his cottage in Shirakawa. These people were long dead, but to our master, they were alive, and their living images invited and urged him to visit them. In short, even in his wanderings, our master had a purpose which made him look towards the distant skies with hope.