I learned to count when I was four.
I counted dead fishermen,
lined up on the sandy shore,
covered with straw mats.
I could count big numbers,
pity there were only four.
I counted them,
like the shadows of fence-posts
I used to pass on the sandy hill.
I was told to stay at home,
but I sneaked out the back door.
I saw them through the high marram
grass on the dunes.
I counted fish washed ashore from the wrecked ship.
Salmon, Sea trout, Mackerel.
Some perfect, some not. Torn.
Villagers collected them in rusty buckets.
How many fish could I get?
I got none.
On the sandy hill,
the grasses swelled and bent madly.
My skirt puffed.
The Sea was angry with me,
his mouth, teeth and tonsils,
spitting foam, seething,
exhausted by his own ill temper.
The ship's black belly rose and fell.
Stranded below the yellow cliffs.
Like a beached Whale.
Now breathing feebly.
Is he dying?
I started counting to his death.
These and those I counted.
After the Typhoon.
Eriko is originally from Hokkaido, Japan. She moved to Ireland in 1989.
She fell in love with Ireland when she first visited Ireland as a tourist. Eriko has taught Japanese to Irish students and worked as an Irish National Tour guide. She is married to an Irish man and they have one son. She was a finalist in the ?Hennessy Awards for New Writing? on two occasions. Eriko is planning to publish her first book of poetry very soon.
Her poetry is deeply rooted in Nature and her own unique perspective on life.