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The Love of the Red Soil

The Love of the Red Soil Y O N A H A M I K I O The following poems are part of a narrative sequence written by Yonaha Mikio while living on Miyako Island, about two hundred miles southwest of Okinawa's capital. The poems are written from the perspective of a seventyyear-old woman who has spent her entire life on Miyako. The largest island in the Miyako archipelago, it is nearly flat and encircled by wide, white-sand beaches and coral reefs. The island is exposed to typhoons that strike in early summer and late fall, and though they bring rain, the moisture quickly seeps underground because the soil is porous. The dry soil and intense heat make it difficult to grow crops on most of the island. Miyako people have an ancient culture and language distinct from those of the main islands in the Okinawan chain. Despite efforts to preserve sacred sites and spiritual practices, this ancient culture is quickly being overwhelmed by influences from the outside. the ocean of the dead In the indigo sea new corals rise from the dead ancestors of the past, their chalky skeletons of lime, the great heaps of the dead settling under them, bones upon bones, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Manoa University of Hawai'I Press

The Love of the Red Soil

Manoa , Volume 23 (1) – Jun 29, 2011

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
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Copyright © University of Hawai'I Press
ISSN
1527-943x
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Abstract

Y O N A H A M I K I O The following poems are part of a narrative sequence written by Yonaha Mikio while living on Miyako Island, about two hundred miles southwest of Okinawa's capital. The poems are written from the perspective of a seventyyear-old woman who has spent her entire life on Miyako. The largest island in the Miyako archipelago, it is nearly flat and encircled by wide, white-sand beaches and coral reefs. The island is exposed to typhoons that strike in early summer and late fall, and though they bring rain, the moisture quickly seeps underground because the soil is porous. The dry soil and intense heat make it difficult to grow crops on most of the island. Miyako people have an ancient culture and language distinct from those of the main islands in the Okinawan chain. Despite efforts to preserve sacred sites and spiritual practices, this ancient culture is quickly being overwhelmed by influences from the outside. the ocean of the dead In the indigo sea new corals rise from the dead ancestors of the past, their chalky skeletons of lime, the great heaps of the dead settling under them, bones upon bones,

Journal

ManoaUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Jun 29, 2011

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