Black Lawrence Press
February 17, 2012

Larry Matsuda Remembers the Japanese Internment

70 years ago this month, as war threataned, Executive Order 9066 forced thousands of Japanese-American Seattle residents to flee their homes or face internment; poet Larry Matsuda, who was born in Minidoka and whose poignant collection A Cold Wind in Idaho addresses the tragic events, is profiled in a recent Seattle Magazine piece. His poem The Noble Thingis excerpted (copied below). Click here to buy a copy of this important collection.

 

The Noble Thing

Depression took Mom away
like invisible armed guards. She was
a stranger—a stick-like figure with arms
and legs poking out of a white smock,
    pacing the sidewalk next to the Western
State Hospital turn-around.
Dad never talked about it, none of it.
I never heard him say the word Minidoka…
Gaman, ‘endure the unbearable
    with dignity.’