Summer in the Ryukyus

This is a poem I composed to express the feeling of summer days in Okinawa.

 Drops of sweat glisten in the sun,
Trickling down flushed-out cheeks.
Like rain-wash in a stony crag,
Moisture flows and humidity peaks.

The stickiness of summer pervades
The body like a painful prick
Cicadae sing their stridulate songs,
Ad nauseam to make one sick.

Continue reading

Typhoon Season

Since June is the start of Typhoon Season in Okinawa. I thought this poem would be appropriate. I composed this one while sitting through a typhoon in my studio apartment in Okinawa 2003.

The wind rips the Rock like a saw through timber.
Rain forms in broad sheets carried on great gales.
 In Okinawa cyclone blown, racked but limber.
Prepare, batten down hatches and trim the sails. 
Continue reading

Cave of the Virgins

This is a poem about a sacred place in southern Okinawa called "Himeyuri No To" (Cave of the Virgins). My poem details what happened there and explains why it is a sacred place. A memorium of mourning after the last battle of WWII.
Continue reading

Spring Has Come to Okinawa

Spring Has Come to Okinawa

Ryukyu spring arrives with a slight
heaviness in the air.
Forewarning of the overwhelming humidity felt in summer time.
Small drops of perspiration escape from the edges of hair.
In prelude to the devastating heat yielded in next season's prime.
Continue reading

At Nakajin

Nakajin Castle (Nakijin-jo) ruins are in the Nago region of Okinawa. Many Uchinanchu go there to pray at shrines on the ruins site. I have visited there several times and have also prayed there. My visits inspired me to compose the following poem.
Continue reading

Mystic lands far–Far East

In mystic lands far-Far East Tropic of Cancer mapped.
Where wind swirls sea like rising yeast upon the coral capped.
 Here a group of islands lay in blue ocean with white foam.
Peaceful lands with simple ways Uchinanchu (Oo-chin-nan-chew) call their home.
 People of land and sea, joyful when days begin.
Toil to evenings when free, dance to play of Sanshin.
Worship of the elements, commit to daily prayer.
 Matriarch embellishments of ritual household fare.
Fire Goddess called Hinukan near by the hearth does dwell.
 Pray to this shrine when evils spawn and break their wicked spell.
 It's a land of festivals, too many to be counted.
Tug of war or fighting bulls, or sugarcane harvest mounted.
It's a land where work is tough in the sweltering tropical heat.
Fishing, cutting cane is rough when you drip sweat from head to feet.
It's a land of ghosts and haunting where spirit and real world merge.
 A place that some find daunting when fears above reason surge.
It's a land of religious wonder, beliefs strengthened by the clan.
Each achievement and blunder determined by cosmic plan.
In mystic lands far-Far East, on an ocean deep and blue.
In the islands of simple peace, I'll be waiting there for you.

Introducing Jeff Tuthill

Hello, I am new to this site. However, I was involved with the original version of that was active some eight years ago. I lived on Okinawa at Nishihara-cho from February 2002 to November 2004 and I go back as often as I can. I love to write poetry and stories and I have many pieces about Okinawa. I will be posting a piece about Okinawa each month. Here is my first contribution, a poem.

(editor's note: Jeff is the author of "Gift of a Blue Ball", a novel set in Okinawa about Yutas (Okinawan fortune telling shamans) and the crown of Okinawa. You can read some of his poetry in the Forum section. We welcome his contributions to --art b)