This etegami was inspired by the last lines of the Robert Frost poem below (published in 1928, in a collection called West-Running Brook). The poem may or may not have been written in response to the great Misssippi River flood of 1927, which killed and displaced thousands of people. Apparently some of the politics that followed the disaster were quite ugly.
Reading about it naturally made me think of the current bickering and power struggles within our Japanese government at a time when we need to be united if we are to recover from 3.11.
The tsunami left stains on the walls of the few buildings it did not destroy or carry away. But I feel that it also left stains on the “summits” of government politics. These stains are not pretty. I don’t claim to understand much about Frost’s poem, but I was deeply affected by his images of blood, flood waters, and stains.
Blood has been harder to dam back than water.
Just when we think we have it impounded safe
Behind new barrier walls (and let it chafe!),
It breaks away in some new kind of slaughter.
We choose to say it is let loose by the devil;
But power of blood itself releases blood.
It goes by might of being such a flood
Held high at so unnatural a level.
It will have outlet, brave and not so brave.
weapons of war and implements of peace
Are but the points at which it finds release.
And now it is once more the tidal wave
That when it has swept by leaves summits stained.
Oh, blood will out. It cannot be contained.
poem by Robert Frost
Etegami is a traditional Japanese folk art that combines thoughtful words with simple images painted on washi paper with sumi ink and water-soluble gansai mineral paints.