Student Letter

By Stephen Sandy b. 1934 Stephen Sandy
After the declaration by emperor
to stop the war
many people in Tokyo killed themselves,
for instance, in front of the imperial palace.
But few people knows those facts.
Hence you must teach me
where you got the news or what sort of book
gave you the fact that quite few people knows.
To know the fact of our nation’s subjection
is not so comfortable
but the fact of many people’s spontaneous death
gives me more complicated feelings.
In the matter of what William Gass said
I must describe my feelings. I went
to Nagasaki
on an educational trip four years ago.
I can recollect those serious moment
which was given by the beamed materials
in the memorial hall.
But most youth after the war
are indifferent to those
because of our no experience. Surely,
I think, those barbarious conducts
shouldn’t be forgiven or forgotten at all
and we must not close our eyes
to the rebombing
at any place
in this world.
In conclusion I may say that most people
except sufferers
or the like
will not have ill feelings toward your country
but they will reproach
the suffocative fact
in history.
Where were you when the World War II was over.
Please share your experience of the war with me.
I’m now interested in the wars concerned with Japan
for the past 100 years. If you tell me your reflections
I can suspect more seriously.
You have abandoned such cursed things as useless?
In that war 3 million people were killed
on the side of our nation, especially
three hundred thousand people by the A-bomb.
Over the war between the imperialism
and militarism America won a victory.
What does this word mean?

Stephen Sandy, “Student Letter” from The Thread. Copyright © 1998 by Stephen Sandy. Reprinted by permission of Louisiana State University Press.

Source: The Thread (Louisiana State University Press, 1998)

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Poet Stephen Sandy b. 1934

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Activities, School & Learning, Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics, Reading & Books, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, War & Conflict

Poetic Terms Epistle, Free Verse

 Stephen  Sandy


Stephen Sandy studied poetry with Robert Lowell and Archibald MacLeish, earned a PhD from Harvard University, and traveled to Japan on a Fulbright Visiting Lectureship. He is the author of more than a half dozen collections of poetry and has been honored with fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Vermont Council on the Arts, and the Ingram Merrill Foundation.

Stephen Sandy’s collections include Riding to . . .

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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