I want to be like him

My father, Isamu Mitsui, loved the poem by Kenji Miyazawa.  He often said, “I want to be like him.”  The following is the one he cited often.


by Kenji Miyazawa

Rain beats me not, nor wind beats me,

Neither snow, nor the heat of summer,

I have a healthy body.

I’m never greedy, never petulant, always smiling quietly.

Eating two cups of unpolished rice a day,

With a bit of miso and some vegetables,

I do not count myself in any matter,

I listen well, observe and understand,

I forget nothing,

I live in a little thatched roof cottage,

In the shadow of a small pine grove in a valley.

If there is a sick child in the east,

I would go to take care of him;

If there is a tired mother in the west,

I would go to carry her bundle of rice straw.

If there is a dying man in the north,

I would go to tell him “Don’t be scared.”

If there is a quarrel or a court case in the south,

I would go to tell them, “Don’t be a bore, stop it.”

Shedding tears in a drought,

Wandering aimlessly in a cold summer,

Everybody calls me, “Dimwit,”

Nobody praises me,

I bother nobody.

I want to be like that.

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