A Long Rainy Season

Looking at Women in Japanese Poetry & Short Stories

5.04.2006


Rain
on the eucalyptus tree
like infinite thought.

--Kimiko Itami


Is the rain "like infinite thought," or is the eucalyptus tree, or the rain on the tree? Probably the last one.

Here is the only time (I believe) that eucalyptus is mentioned in the story that bears the same name, "When that horrible sensation of psychic imbalance overwhelms me, when I become Munch's anguished, O-mouthed woman at this end of the bridge, I lift my eyes towards the eucalyptus trees towering over the terraces behind the mansion, silently praying, O God above the eucalyptus trees...help me, heal me, make me whole..."

As I read the haiku above, I think of the fact that in the story it is a "hot July" and I imagine a sort of cooling, healing rain pouring down onto Toki. The "infinite thought" brings to my mind the elated, gorgeous (and lost) feeling chronicled on page 109, "...days gone by when my heart almost burst with the joy of being alive, when even the dog crud along the sidewalk seemed right and proper." When you get that insanely giddy feeling that everything in the world is amazing, perfect, awe-inspiring...your mind and your heart sort of expand and encompass and except everything.

However, I cannot shake the last sentence, "The echo of her howl comes to us without diminution across the tumult of the ages." Infinite thought on the opposite end of the spectrum.

23 Comments:

At 12:00 AM, Anonymous Andy said...

I think its interesting that your reading of the story was influenced by the reading of this poem. I don't think its hard to believe though, we all call upon our different life experiences to gain our unique insights. Is yours heavily weighted in poetry?

 
At 1:30 AM, Blogger adrienne said...

i'm with andy. i love the way you read the story with the poem (or use the poem to read the story). it's a very neat reading!

 
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