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Wednesday, June 28, 2017


A Tanka Anticipating Summer in Honor of Matsuo Bashō
On the Occasion of Japan’s Three Mega-Banks Receiving All Fs on the 2017 Fossil Fuel Finance Report Card

by John Brooks 

"There's no question that funding climate change is a deadly investment strategy," stated Jenny Marienau,'s U.S. campaigns director. "Yet banks around the world are funneling billions of dollars into the fossil fuel projects leading us closer to catastrophic warming every day." —Common Dreams, June 21, 2017. Image source: Rainforest Action Network/Report Cover Detail

dream cicadas thrum
as banks bake-rape the planet
fossil fueling greed
annihilating Earth wa
Bashō would cry … then protest

Author’s Notes: The poem utilizes the traditional Japanese poetic form of the tanka—with its five-line pattern of 5, 7, 5, 7, 7 syllables—which was one of the forms employed by Japan’s most famous poet Matsuo Bashō many of whose works exude his deep love and respect for nature.
     “wa” is a term for a traditional Japanese cultural concept related to holistic harmony.
     As for “Anticipating Summer” in the poem’s subtitle (though this poem was completed on June 24th), “summer” in Japan isn’t considered to have actually begun until semi (Japanese for cicadas) start their yearly rhythmic buzzing following the end of Japan’s rainy season sometime in July.

John Brooks, a longtime resident of Japan, is a writer, child sexual abuse survivor-activist, climate change activist, and animal rights activist (among other things, of course) deeply concerned with anthropogenic global warming and its massively dystopian consequences if humanity’s thoroughly inadequate—though in some locations and respects noticeably improving—response continues. His self-published novella Preludes depicting the horror of child sexual abuse from a child’s perspective, has received favorable reviews by readers and is available for free download on various ebook sites.