Mountain Moving Day

Written by on January 3, 2012 in Song, Story and Poetry with 0 Comments

Mountain Moving Day
Yosano Akiko

“Mountain moving day has come”.
is what I say. But no one believes it.
Mountains were just sleeping for a while.
Earlier they had moved with fire.
But you do not have to believe it.
O people! You’d better believe it!
All the sleeping women move
Now that they awaken.

From Hamil and Gibson, River of Stars: the Selected Poems of Yosano Akiko

Born in 1878 and died in 1942, Yosano Akiko was a prolific and visionary writer from Japan. Now, over a hundred years later, she reaches across the oceans and death itself to touch me.

There is not one Mountain Moving Day, but many. And in the lives of mountains, who is to say how long a day is? But to be certain, it is happening.

Mountains were just sleeping for a while.
Earlier they had moved with fire.

Oh, I want to remember it! More than that, I want to feel it. Does molten lava flow through my veins as well? Do the mountains in their terrible and life-sustaining stillness feel the fire beneath them? Do they remember, or like me, have they forgotten?

I want to remember, and with intention, direct that power within me — if with destruction then as preparation for life, a friend to the Sequoia and virgin grasslands. I am no stranger to getting burned. But I am also no stranger to rising again.

Yosano Akiko mentions belief three times in this short but powerful poem.

…But no one believes it…
But you do not have to believe it…
O people! You’d better believe it!

True, we are creatures of disbelief. We only believe what we think we see, but we do not realize how often we see what we think. We have looked at mountains with unseeing eyes of prejudice for so long we are blind to their dancing.

We mine, we dig, we bore tunnels through their very soul and each other. We plunder their resources and strip off the fertile earth of our humanity…but that does not mean the music does not play. We do not have to believe it. The song exists. We have only to accept its invitation to join. It does not ask for our permission to be.

Yosano Akiko still warns — O people! You’d better believe it! — the mountain is awakening. It is happening now, all around the world.

Only those who remain asleep fear being crushed. But why should anyone fear mountains moving? Or even more foolishly, try to stop them?

My mother was 22 and living in Japan, when Yosano Akiko passed away. I wonder if she was aware of her writings, if she had been moved by her words…if these words ever touched her as they do me now, if they made her believe in the impossible, even for a moment.

Somehow I see this poet standing with one hand outstretched to me, and one to my mother. Neither are alive any more, but all around me I feel the power of the rocks, the large boulders I lean up against when I go off the trail in the park near my home.

I know they are with me, and in the moment of clasping hands, I see a mountain range that stretches further than my eyes can see. And they are moving.

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About the Author

About the Author: Demian Yumei, author, singer/songwriter and artist activist, using spoken, written word and original songs in her human rights activism. Demian is a traveler on the healing journey with a lifelong love affair with the creative process. .


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