SBP Blog

Stone Bridge Cafe: "Sugihara"

Thomas Joel - Thursday, January 04, 2018

Stone Bridge Cafe is a bi-weekly online series from Stone Bridge Press devoted to bringing readers short stories, poems, non-fiction pieces, photographs, and artwork from and/or about East Asia. For submission guidelines and info, follow the link at the bottom of this post.

On the menu this week is an evocative historical poem written by Brandon Marlon that delves into the magnanimous mind of Chiune Sugihara, the vice consul for the Japanese Empire in Lithuania who risked his and his family's lives to help thousands of Jews flee Europe during WWII by issuing transit visas that allowed them to escape through Japanese territory.
 
This is a poem of one man's humanitarian legacy, of profound courage and human hope in the face of heinous tyranny and corrosive evil. If all hope in humanity is lost, one need only look to Sugihara for reassurance: there is goodness in this world, however cold it may get. Marlon's beautifully wrought poem is an ode to Sugihara as the very embodiment of that deeply comforting reassurance.
 
☀☀☀
 
Sugihara
 
 
The Kaunas desk job was unenviable, war-torn Europe
lacking the amenities of elsewhere just then,
and little did he fathom in advance
how nimble-fingered he would become
in the name of humaneness toward strangers.
 
His life-saving pen could hardly keep up with
Dutch counterparts partnering
with him in clandestine humanitarianism,
the defiant rescue of Jewish refugees
via the unauthorized issuance of transit visas.
 
To the Japanese no-no of disobeying orders,
the man of conscience said yes-yes, best believe.
Diplomatic cables from Foreign Ministry superiors
were disregarded; a higher law overruled
bureaucratic dictates from afar. Insubordination
was the order of the day as altruism trumped apathy.
 
In Japanese fashion, the consul-general suppressed
his deeds despite plucking like brands from an inferno
queue-weary beings by the thousands
who recognized him for his nimbus and wings,
for the unworldly mercy his hand imparted.
 
Witnessing humanity tarnished, he determined to burnish.
Neither for monuments nor museums
did he gamble livelihood and career,
but for the greater legacy of a good name
now crowned with immortality.

 

☀☀☀

Brandon Marlon is a writer from Ottawa, Canada. He received his B.A. in Drama & English from the University of Toronto and his M.A. in English from the University of Victoria. His poetry was awarded the Harry Hoyt Lacey Prize in Poetry (Fall 2015), and his writing has been published in 225+ publications in 27 countries. Visit his website at: www.brandonmarlon.com.

If you would like to submit your own work to Stone Bridge Cafe, follow this link for submission info and guidelines: http://www.stonebridge.com/sbp-blog/stone-bridge-cafe-guidelines-submission-info

Like our blog? Please share it!

Categories

Subscribe to the SBP Mailing List

New Releases

Amy’s Guide to Best Behavior in Japan


Going to Japan? This unfussy modern guide guarantees you keep it polite and get it right!

China Smart


Essential essays on all things Chinese that inform and entertain travelers, students, and anyone working or living in China

Oh, Tama!


A deeply eccentric novel about lives and connections—and a cat of course—in 1980s Tokyo: witty, offbeat, and strangely profound.

The Fourth String


Two women. Two cultures. One music.

Tag Cloud

foreword indies award book reading japan travel guide behavior bookstore ancient symbols mark gibeau religion monks wife pottery japanese instruments Basho japan behavior kinokuniya event hitler no longer human a mejiro novel 1960s Korea Japanese literature fantasy literature the millions travel to japan min kahng japan memoir blurb World War II drinking in japan announcement osamu tezuka ancient symbol buddhist priest Tokyo Olympics black jack reviews classic japanese literature asia japanese translation disney shamisen forewrod reviews indies wife leonard koren memoir japanese books graphic novels giajin performance book tour diy mfa UCLA AAS Anime/Manga/Comics diary Okinawan literature politics and prose summer vacation journal of a zen monk's wife podcast 2020 Olympics tourist memoir writing China Japanese holidays poetry of consciousness non-fiction huffpost Language japanese music japan culture the buddhist swastika hippocampus magazine amys guide to bes tbehavior in japan photography learning shamisen Travel chinese event anime manga new york events Korea photography yukio mishima pacific rim review of books a memoir japanese book purification gaijinpot suehiro maruo hitlers cross Chiune Sugihara the japan society japanese classic Spring Festival Japan world literature today Interview japan ravel green tea tokyo new release haibun sensei and me japan vacation History new books kyodo news matcha evil osaka polite japan books Japanese aesthetics jing liu japan trip china history welton gaddy bowing in japan hate Chinese culture holocaust chinese comics shun medoruma ningen shikkaku zen a shameful life takuma sminkey Shoah tea Chinese New Year a memoir of sensei and me author event japanese culture japan visitor huffington post miswest book review nazi comics manga biography trip international book award living in japan will eisner the fourth string koun tomoko aoyama japanese craft ibpa publishing university kansuke naka zen monks wife' tracy franz buddhist swastika new york Ukiyo-e book award classic seppuku american shamisen japan etiquette award guide holden caufield expat Children's Books buddhist symbols Second World War walt disney review Translation haiku gallery awa t.k. nakagaki larry herzberg illustration book reviews year of zen tea garden awards traditional journal of a zen monk center of east asian studies state of belief manji book mieko kanai the fourth string a memoir of sensei and me otakuusa ex pat literature dark horse japan today Japanese art suicide stone bridge press learning in japan buddhism stone bridge cafe foreword reviews understandind china through comics internment journal' monks wife rebecca otowa manners jun hazuki author lions roar astrology japan manners buddhist author tour IBPA danica davidson interfaith Culture damian flanagan benjamin franklin awards foreigner in japan travel Japan frederik schodt literary prize what do in japan Nikolas Bunton zazen book talk four immigrants musical publishing amy chavez swastika author signing how to monk wife visitor peace shaimsen japanese manners dirt and water VIZ literature washington dc sensei Christianity benjamin franklin award 2019 1960's Japan japanese people book review Basho's Narrow Road the asian review of books diymfa the japan times Alexandra Johnson Olympics travel etiquette kyoto journal nara book blurb donald keene japanese cutlure do it right and be polite brad hawley alan moore japanese instrument kris kosaka The Colorado Review oh tama japanese etiquette memoir, tracy franz, zen monk, buddhist japanese World War Two Christianity in Japan tricycle magazine koto book hoarding Poetry asian review of books Korea china smart japanese travel Spirituality traditional japanese music japan book review etiquette jared cook astro boy comic history dazai rachel manley Art/Design janet pocrobba why we write podcast eating in japan Chinese Astrology hiroaki sato ritual how to travel in japan japan travel etiquette william f sibley monk osamu dazai tk nakagaki the hidden writer japan custom kyoto journal my year of dirt and water Children's Literature book publicity paul mccarthy japan guide travel manners gaijin pot japan restaurant shamisen performance writing janet pocorobba memior zen monk in japan japanese customs Asian Studies frank beyer japanese books in english alan brill amys guide to best behavior in japan henry kiyama student teacher best behavior in japan japan travel finalist michael emmerich verticle books Year of the Dog literary review Coming of Age Day nichi bei weekly, naomi hirarahara Chinese history china What You Don’t Know, What You Need to Know— A Past & Present Guide to History, Culture, Society, Language journal of a zen monks wife in japan university of chicago the silver spoon juddhism zen monk wife traditional japanese instrument eastern and western philosophy fred schodt gaijin japanese drunk book signing lesley university janet pocorbba expat in japan WWII hooked cross catcher in the rye in the woods of memory japanese bath japan book publicity traditional japanese instrumenet how to order in japan PEN AWARD gratitude in japan foreword indies zen monk japan food
RSS